“Wow! This is the first time I’ve seen you in here!” A friend was bugging me about seeing me in the local bar.
The husband of a lady in our congregation was celebrating his 80th birthday. They had planned on renting a room and by the time they added up their costs realized they could get a better deal just by having everyone join them on Saturday night at Red’s Pub. So there we were, celebrating a birthday in a bar with other church and community members. And this guy was bugging me about being in a bar. Even the waitress made some comment about us measuring up to religious stereotypes because we only ordered pop.
My wife, Lynnette, and I ended up having a couple of really good conversations with a few different people. It was just a casual relaxed evening out with friends.
The guy who bugged me about being at the bar is the editor of our little community newsletter. Sunday morning he was still joking about it and said he should have taken my picture and included it in the newsletter with a caption: “Local Pastor Visits Bar”. I said the picture would have been fine – but the caption should have read: “Local Pastor – a Real Guy”.
People need to see us as real people, not just as the “pastor” but as a real person.