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Keeping Church Relevant in Groesbeck with Happy Hour Faith Talks

March 26, 2019



First United Methodist Church of Groesbeck has implemented several programs and ministries designed to “keep church relevant” to younger families, while helping the leadership of the church better identify their needs and wishes according to the church’s pastor Rev. Steve Nance.
 
One such ministry is a gathering known as the Happy Hour Faith Talks. The idea was to start “an evangelistic outreach” in the bar at a local restaurant. “Unfortunately, for various reasons, the ministry never moved forward,” Steve said. “But the seed had been planted in the hearts of some of our younger folks and a new direction was discerned.”
 
Those “younger folks” currently include four couples, all in their 20’s or 30’s, who meet and fellowship each week with Steve and his wife, Tana. around the dinner table at the Groesbeck parsonage. While their children are at church for various Wednesday night activities, these parents sit down to a home-cooked meal and the night’s themed discussion. The Nances text in advance what’s on the menu, and, in keeping with the original “Happy Hour Faith Talk” theme, everyone is invited to bring a beverage of their choice to complement the meal.
 
Rev. Steve Nash knows his way around a grill. He and his wife, Tana, do the cooking for weekly Happy Hour Faith Talks - a ministry in which Steve sees "God discernably at work."
iscussion topics vary. Steve says some nights simply begin with, “How is it with your soul?” or perhaps, “Where have you seen God at work this week?” or “Where did you hope to see God at work but feel you did not?” Other nights Steve leads a Bible study. Topics have included the Parables of Jesus and such questions as, “What is the difference between a trial and a temptation?”
 
Participants are asked to make a commitment to attend each week, yet there’s a “No Guilt, No Questions Policy” in place to acknowledge and respect that parents of young children lead busy lives. So far, two people have made professions of faith and been baptized, and one couple plans to renew their wedding vows.
 
Steve says the biggest dilemma the group faces is the need for elbow room so that more – including unchurched friends – can join the conversations while preserving the intimacy of gathering around a single table in someone’s dining room.
 
While pondering the possibilities, he says launching a second group comes next – as early as this summer. The new group will likely serve an older generation, including the parents of these four couples.   
 
All have agreed that Wednesday nights are a highlight of their week. “God is discernably at work,” Steve says, “in the midst of a ministry simply called, Happy Hour Faith Talks.”