This past September Free Grace United Church had a grand opening at The Nordic Brewery Co. in Monticello. The opening itself may be viewed by some as controversial being that the service takes place Sunday evenings in the event room of the brewery.
“The idea of this weekly service is to break down the walls of what a traditional church is. Let’s go to where people feel comfortable,” said Silas Austin, FGU’s pastor. “The vision is to have a place where people can process faith.”
The event opened with food for the guests including pulled pork sandwiches, potato chips and drinks. T-shirts of various sizes with the church’s logos were also handed out. Following this was a communion and songs. There were an estimated 100 guests who attended this grand opening.
Throughout the event there was an optimal opportunity for guests to mingle and interact with one another thanks to worksheets featuring bible study questions that were handed out. At the end of the service, there was time for fellowship in which attendees could speak to each other and the church staff one last time.
Although COVID was still a factor, the church and brewery took necessary precautions to maintain the health and safety for all who were present. All attendees were asked to wear face masks until they were seated. The tables were also several feet apart to maintain social distancing.
A glance around the room quickly showed tables filled with 2-4 people that consisted of families with children, couples and friends. Many attendees could be seen with a mug of beer in their hand, while others had no drink at all. More importantly, it was evident that all who attended drank in an appropriate and respectful manner.
“I love how chill and relaxed the atmosphere is,” mentioned Rita, a solo-attender. Rita, who usually attends Sunday services at the Free Grace United in Albertville, was excited for the opportunity to attend Wednesday night service in a unique new atmosphere.
Free Grace United’s goal is to plant 100 churches by 2040. Currently there are 14 that exist in Minnesota. Although having a church service in a brewery can be viewed as controversial, FGU’s staff remain confident in their mission.
“We’re willing to maybe have some people think negatively about us, but our mission is to exist to help as many people as we can cross the line of faith and follow Jesus. We will go to bars, meet people on the streets, it doesn’t matter as long we are getting the message of hope and salvation out to them,” Austin said.
For those who are interested, service is held every Sunday at 5:30 p.m. at the Nordic Brewery Co. in Monticello. Come with an empty stomach since food is provided to attendees, and an open heart for worship and sharing the gospel with others.