Zach Light-Wells, the associate music director at Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church, said he still remembers the first time he heard about the exciting concept of “bar church” while living in Atlanta.
When he went online to learn more about this weekly get together at a local music venue, he quickly found out that churches across the U.S. were tapping into this concept of blending worshiping God through music and having a beer.
“I loved the idea so much that I couldn’t help but imagine Beer & Hymns in just about every bar and brewery I visited,” he said. “When I moved to Dallas to join the staff at PHPC, I couldn’t find an event that resembled the Beer & Hymns I was envisioning back in Atlanta, so we put one together and tried it out in Uptown last summer.”
“Now, we’re excited to hold our second Beer & Hymns at Lakewood Brewing — a bigger space with some of the best beer in Dallas.”
The event will take place from 7 to 9 p.m. Aug. 22 at 2302 Executive Dr. in Garland.
From the church’s beginnings, folk melodies, and hymn tunes have mingled in sanctuaries and pubs alike, Light-Wells said.
“Based on centuries of church tradition and pub culture, Beer & Hymns is an opportunity to sing some of your favorite hymns in a pub atmosphere; Simply put, Beer and Hymns is a band-led night of singing and fellowship.”
“Our band has a folk-Americana sound, features banjo, guitar, drums, and bass. We’ve returned and reworked some of the hymns, but we’ve kept the original melodies. Packets of lyrics are available to all who would like to participate.”
We reached out to Light-Wells to ask him a few questions about the event:
Preston Hollow People: How does worship differ in a pub setting opposed to a church, if at all?
Light-Wells: I wouldn’t say that we are having a worship service at the brewery. As Presbyterians, our worship services typically follow a four-fold pattern: Gathering (call to worship, confession), Word (read and proclaimed), Response to the Word (often sacraments), and Sending (benediction). We won’t have any of these liturgical elements at our Beer & Hymns event so that we wouldn’t call this event a worship service. I would, however, call the event worshipful. At PHPC, we believe in a God that delights in our music-making, and we intend to make a lot of music at Beer & Hymns.
PHP: How would you describe the vibe?
Light-Wells: It’ll be just like any good sing-along: participatory, lively, and fun. This type of event only works with a good amount of participation, so be prepared to raise your voice!
PHP: Does Beers & Hymns open the door for the church to reach new people, if yes, how so, and why is that important?
Light-Wells: When we decided to have Beer & Hymns, we didn’t intend for it to be an evangelism event. Instead, we envisioned an opportunity for churchgoers to sing the music they love in a different atmosphere than a typical church space. It’s less about reaching new people, and more about being the church in the world. We believe in a God that is alive and at work in this world, and events outside the walls of our church building allow us to encounter God in new places and in new people.