We are fully aware that this concept is something new in the church. We are not the first people to consider this model, but we are certainly at the front of the pack trying something new to reach people for Christ. We are intentionally trying something different embracing Paul’s philosophy of saying:
“I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.” (1 Corinthians 9:22-23)
We expect people in churches to be cautious about supporting a ministry that is run out of a business that serves food, beer and wine. At the same time, I would encourage everyone to consider what marketplace ministry looks like in our current culture.
For fans of the show “Cheers”, it isn’t hard to imagine a community of people that gather regularly to share life together over a pint of beer or a glass of wine. Now imagine how different that show would be if Sam was a caring pastor, instead of a womanizing ex-ballplayer. The man behind the bar becomes a new kind of counselor. He is an ambassador of hope and encouragement to those who are discouraged. He is someone who can celebrate with people in the good times, and be a listening ear when someone is lonely. The bar becomes the new confessional, and the man behind the bar and the people on the stools a beautiful representation of the priesthood of all believers.
There are a lot of pastors that would be uncomfortable in this setting. Pastor Mark will thrive in this setting. Many pastors want consistency and familiarity in worship, history and tradition. We are willing to create something new. Many Christians are uncomfortable talking about Jesus with non-Christians; we will teach people how to do this.
To paraphrase the words of Jerry Maguire, “Suddenly I was my Father's son. I was remembering the simple pleasures of this job, how I ended up here…Caring for people, caring for ourselves... Starting our lives, really. Hey, I'll be the first to admit it. What I was writing was somewhat "touchy feely." I didn't care. It was the me I'd always wanted to be.”
Instead of ‘touchy feely’, we know that this idea sounds “crazy” to some people that grew up in the mainline Christian church experience. But the things that make it sound crazy might just be the things that will make it work! That is why we believe that this model will reach those who aren’t comfortable in the current and historic models of American churches. A vision such as this will make certain types of ‘church people’ nervous, and ‘Jesus people’ smile.
We will be a business that is run by a Kingdom-minded, Spirit driven and community building pastor. Our goal is to have the business and icehouse be successful enough to fund Mark’s community mission work and sharing of the Gospel.
Each week, the Lord will be worshipped and Gospel will be preached clearly to all gathered in the store. As we build relationships in the community, we hope that years from now we will be known as the place that brought the churches, businesses and non-profits of Brenham together for the sake of the Gospel!
As people start hearing about the unique style of ministry we will offer, it is our prayer that new believers will place their trust in the Lord, and join us in the work for His Kingdom.
We are looking for people who will say:
“I would risk something to be a part of this vision.”
We are looking for people who will ask themselves and their churches:
“What do you believe church should look like and what should it care most deeply about?”
If your answer is reaching the lost and making new disciples in unlikely places, then we want you to share our vision. We want to ask you to partner with us in building Pioneer Mission Community and Pioneer Smokehouse and Mercantile to help support the church and the pastor’s family.
There is more than one way to lead someone to Christ. We think this might impact an unreached community with a new way of sharing the Gospel message.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.