Shake Your Groove Thing!

The Perfect Beer Hall Outreach
In Cincinnati we are experiencing a type of social renaissance in one of our oldest neighborhoods, Over The Rhine. It has become a hub of creativity for arts and entertainment.  This now bustling district is the home of several excellent “third places” in the way of unique public houses, exciting eateries and of course, given our rich Bavarian heritage, the rebirth of the beer hall. The Germans have a word for these type of beerhall4_kindlephoto-29973950gatherings that generate comfort and kindness:  Gemütlichkeit.  Visit any German City and you will find public gardens lined with long tables to encourage strangers to sit with one another, break bread, enjoy cold beverages, and sing songs together.  If only church were more like this. . . Well it can be! 1c5f028ffe814bb8ef7180ad5e635cec-rimg-w640-h640-gmirI don’t know about the Bible you read, but in my version the idea of church is depicted as a verb far more often than as a noun.  Jesus set the example of hanging out with people, regardless of the location.  He went where the crowds were and he was always “the life of the party.” Are we not called to do the same?  What was the first thing he did in every gathering:  An act of kindness that met a felt need. The most popular thing they do at these beerhall1_kindlephoto-29045429biergartens is the mass group sing-along.  If you’ve never been to one, the best description I can give you is when the crowd at Fenway breaks into “Sweet Caroline.”  Even if you are a Yankee fan that hates Neil Diamond, you find yourself smiling and singing along with the crowd like a happy idiot.  It is infectious. IMG_20190202_211248027_kindlephoto-29093547Now here is THE MOST FUN I have ever had doing an impromptu kindness outreach:  giving out free shaker eggs.  Unless you have sworn off children’s percussion instruments due to Baby Shark Fatigue Syndrome, these little guys are awesome.  Now I confess, I came up withIMG_20190202_215029227_kindlephoto-29349227 this notion by accident.  The band at my favorite third place, The Moerlien Malt House, not only encourages the crowd to sing along, but to bring their own jugband style instruments to join in.  I purchased a fairly expensive set of wooden percussion shaker eggs to bring on the next Saturday night.  Of course, I gave away them away to complete strangers in about five minutes. mano-mp-eggs-j36-egg-shakers-assorted-colours-mano-music-world-academy_300x300They were having so much fun grooving with the band and the singing crowd, only Scrooge would have asked for them back.  So the next week I got smarter.  For about twenty-five cents each, you can buy these in bulk on Amazon.  You can even get a small logo printed on them. That next week I gave away twenty of them in less than ten minutes.  In between sets folks sat down with me, and we got to casually talk about the kingdom, mostly because they were curious about the kooky fat guy giving away things at a beer hall. This is evangelism made easy!

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