What's ‘On Tap’ for St. Barnabas?

May 31, 2019

St. Barnabas launches a New Faith Community designed to meet people where they are and get to know them while sharing the Bible and a beer.
"If we want to truly be like Jesus, we need to meet people where they are."
St. Barnabas United Methodist Church in Arlington is stepping out into its community and is bringing the Bible and some good old-fashioned fellowship together with craft beer and live music to form a new faith community called “On Tap.” During the launch of this NFC, the On Tap gatherings are scheduled every few Sundays from 5 to 8 p.m. at New Main Brewing Co. in Pantego, a scant 3.5 miles from the main St. Barnabas campus.
More than 100 folks, from all around the Arlington and Pantego communities, have come as they are to share the Bible, a beer and some fellowship at St. Barnabas' New Faith Community "On Tap."
A recent Facebook post recently summed up On Tap the following way…“If Sunday morning is just not your thing, St. Barnabas United Methodist Church has an alternative! Join us for our new gathering, On Tap. It’s a come as you are, meet you where you are gathering with a combination of community time, food, music, discussion and brew at the kid-friendly and dog-friendly space at New Main Brewing in Pantego.”
 “This is an opportunity to come together with others in an environment that is judgment-free and share two of my favorite things…craft beer and the Bible,” saidTag Green, associate pastor at St. Barnabas.
Tag’s prior career as a salesman and business manager necessitated a good bit of travel, and over the years he developed his own “bar stool ministry.” Instead of dining at a table alone when he was on the road, he chose to eat dinner at the bar, striking up conversations, doing a lot of listening and finding plenty of opportunities to share his faith in his own soft-spoken, non-threatening manner.
“We’re all in a different place in our faith journey,” Tag says. “If we want to truly be like Jesus, we need to meet people where they are. It’s all about relationships.”
Connections are made at the tables, near the front door, on the patio and even in line at the bar or for a bite to eat. At the May gathering, Tag spoke with several people who confessed to “feeling injured by organized religion.” They began to open up about a friend who is battling a life-threatening illness. As they were leaving, he asked their friend if he could offer a prayer, and her answer was “Yes, please.”
Tag Green, associate pastor of St. Barnabas United Methodist Church in Arlington,  has taken the lead in developing a new faith community by pairing two of his favorite things – craft beer and the Bible. Here, Tag brings a brief message to the gathering in April.
Tag said On Tap is an idea he’s had for a while. Shortly after arriving at St. Barnabas, with the blessing and encouragement of Dr. Ginger Bassford, sr. pastor at St. Barnabas, he began scouting locations. That’s when he met New Main’s owners, David and Amanda Clark, and started “throwing what-ifs at them.” What would it look like for St. Barnabas to offer an informal ministry there on a night when business is typically on the lighter side? 
The Clarks have been incredibly supportive and welcoming. They don’t charge St. Barnabas for use of the space, they’ve partnered with the church on branding and publicity and, Tag said, they’ve even hinted at one day “naming a beer after us!”
Each On Tap features live music led by David Pfleger, worship leader for Encounter, the Sunday morning contemporary service at St. Barnabas, some relationship building activities and a brief message that is creatively interwoven into the casual, family-friendly vibe of the gathering. More than 100 people have come to each of the first two On Tap meetings. David was on his own for the first “On Tap,” singing, playing keyboards and even a trombone. For the May event, he led a full band with a repertoire of familiar, mainly secular, music that led one couple to get up and dance. Tag delivered the message at the April event; and Ginger shared in May.
Though “On Tap” is just getting started, it’s been met with enthusiasm by the St. Barnabas congregation. Tag, Ginger and Rustin Brunson, lay minister of preaching and young families, are optimistic about its future. It’s a “purely organic” mix of music, message, meal and family, Tag said. “The advantage is that we can be authentic.”
“On Tap” is on the twice this month - June 2 and 23.  The schedule is posted on Facebook.  For more information about St. Barnabas, click on sbumc.org.  For more details about “On Tap,” click here.
Videos courtesy of St. Barnabas UMC / Photos courtesy of LukyKat Productions, LLC.