Bibles, Bikes, Beer, and Bruises: How a new Fresh Expression meets in a bar

It’s not every day that you encounter a tavern that hosts Bible teachings. Read on to learn how a few small church pastors banded together to form a Fresh Expression that meets and is ministering to others in a local bar.

“If they won’t come to our churches, let’s take church to them!”

That’s the sentiment that prompted pastors Adam Speicher and Mark Harmon to start a Fresh Expression called Bibles, Bikes, Beer, and Bruises.

The ministry is for persons who like motorcycles and beer–and have experienced some bruises in life. It’s for people who don’t frequent churches for whatever reason but are interested in learning about the healing power of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ in a place where they don’t fear being judged. Bibles, Bikes, Beer, and Bruises, which launched on February 3, meets on Wednesdays from 6:00-7:00 p.m. at Polsinelli’s, a bar in Logansport.

Adam and Mark initially shared the idea with the bar owner, who had attended worship online but never in person. She saw value in the idea and offered her pub as a place the group could meet. (Jesus, in Luke 10, refers to someone like her as a “person of peace, someone who isn’t necessarily a believer but who is receptive and can open doors to make things happen.)

As they prepared to start this new group, Adam and Mark prayed that God would send people to attend, and they hoped for a handful. To their surprise, 18 joined. It reminded Adam of how true Ephesians 3:20 (MSG) is, “God can do anything, you know–far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams!”

Every Wednesday night, the pastors introduce a new topic that is printed on bookmarks handed out to each attendee.

(Mark and Adam initially ordered 20 not knowing that it would be the exact number of persons at the first gathering.)

The bookmark is titled “911 Emergency Numbers” and lists 30 topics on each side. For example, “Feeling down and out? – Romans 8:31.” Another says, “Relational advice? – Romans 12.

The group discusses one topic each night, then Mark and Adam base their Sunday sermons on the same passage. In essence, Wednesday nights help them prepare for their Sunday morning messages.

Most participants who show up on Wednesdays have attended church at some point in their lives but no longer (or rarely) attend now. They attend Bibles, Bikes, Beer, and Bruises because they were invited by church members or saw a flier that Adam and Mark distributed in town.

Near the end of their first night together, Mark and Adam asked if anyone had prayer concerns. Three or four responded. As they prayed out loud together, the noisy bar became silent. Even those not part of their group drew quiet in reverence.

Adam is the pastor of Lake Cicott UMC (20 in average worship) and Twelve Mile Bethlehem UMC (40 in average worship), while Mark is the pastor at Wolcott UMC (20 in average worship).

Adam and Mark demonstrate that it doesn’t take a large church to launch a Fresh Expression. It takes hearts that care for a particular group of people. In this case, folks that love bikes and beer and have experienced a few bruises in life.

So, what people group might God be calling you to serve?

– by Ed Fenstermacher Associate Director of Church Development