Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Discipleship and the English Pub

This evening Wolfi Eckleben pastor of the Every Nation church in London asked me if I could share some thoughts about discipleship to the key leaders of their church. The venue he chose was the Edward’s Pub in Hammersmith. An authentic Pub built sometime in the late 1800’s.

Today Pubs are more like watering holes or bars dedicated to alcoholic beverages and food. But that’s not how it originally was. English Pubs date back to the arrival of the Romans. With the establishment of the Roman road network, Pubs began to appear.

The term Pub is short for the words Public Houses. It was meant to be a place where people could congregate, rest from travel or get food and refreshment. A few thoughts about discipleship crossed my mind while I was at Edward’s Pub:

1. Christians need to engage the public. This means we should be willing to go wherever, whenever. It is when Christians fail to engage the public that public places turn into watering holes.

2. Engaging the public requires that we act normal. This means talking normally and not having every sentence end with alleluia, amen or glory to God. This will not engage the public but turn them off. Even worse is having a “holier than thou” attitude that disdains those who smoke or drink. Discipleship does not concern itself with external behaviors. Rather it is concerned with a heart that desires to have a relationship with God. If the relationship is genuine in time people will grow and as they do their behavior will change.

3. Part of acting normal is boldly praying for somebody in public. I have spent time with people in hotel lobbies and coffee shops just to befriend them. When it is time to leave I simply ask them, “is it alright if we pray before we go?” My batting average: I get a positive response 99% of the time.

4. When praying in public I don’t lay my hands or do things that may embarrass the person I am with or make them think Christianity is weird. Normally with eyes opened I pray simple prayers that introduce people to the simplicity of having a relationship with God. I most definitely do not pray in tongues in that setting.

Discipleship is about engaging the public. It gives people the reality that God is not limited to the confines of church walls but is actively concerned and desiring to the engage them wherever they may be in their lives.

While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and “sinners” came and ate with him and his disciples. Matthew 9:10

Check out the audio download my message on Edward's Pub here.

See also my other post:

Prayer and Buckingham Palace


Daniel said...

It was awesome to have you in the great city. We appreciated your input and your time.

Quick one: you have a typo on your link list - for 'Encouraging Thoughts' you have so the link doesn't work. Change the '@' for a '.' and you're good.

Mike Watkins said...

Joey, this was a great post. I especially like the part about praying for people in public places in a way that is helpful to them yet not weird and religious. I have been branching out in this are a lot more recently, and not only is the person blessed but I sense new personal boldness to share even more. Thanks.