Recently Read: United Methodist Worship at Buffalo Wild Wings

Buffalo Wild Wings SignThe people at Riverchase United Methodist Church in Hoover, Alabama are about to venture out of their church building to reach the unchurched in a fairly unusual setting, a Buffalo Wild Wings.

Buffalo Wild Wings is a sports themed restaurant and bar that has locations 41 states.

According the “Beer, hot wings, and Jesus? Hoover church plans Sunday service at Buffalo Wild Wings

In an effort to reach the unchurched, Riverchase United Methodist Church plans to launch a new worship service at the Buffalo Wild Wings on John Hawkins Parkway in Hoover on Sunday, Dec. 14.

“We believe there’s a population that would attend a service there that wouldn’t go to a church,” said the Rev. Wesley Savage, minister of young adults for Riverchase United Methodist Church. “We hope it’s going to be a more inviting atmosphere.”

The service will be called The Stream.

Since waiters and bartenders will be preparing to open for business, the atmosphere may not be conducive to church praise music, Savage said. “We’re not going to have a band initially,” he said.

That will help keep the service short. “It will be about 45 minutes,” he said. “We want it to be a dialogue, questions and discussion about a topic: Why God? Why the church? Why the Bible? Why should I care about these things?”


Holding church meetings centering on topic discussions is not something new. The Catholic church started outreach programs for young adults in the early 80’s that would feature lectures, talks, discussions that are generally held outside a church building called “Theology on Tap“. Mainline denominations have adopted the “Theology on Tap” model since the early 2000’s when the name and program was licensed out to spread it nationally. Fresh Expressions US is a non-denominational collective that encourages thinking of new ways to be a church to reach ‘de-churched’ or un-churched people in a variety of settings.

What do you think of a United Methodist congregation meeting in a sports restaurant/bar for Sunday mornings as a method to reach the unchurched?

UPDATED: Apparently the idea of a church at Buffalo Wild Wings was amusing enough for David Letterman to ponder it with his Top 10 List.

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The United Methodist Reporter wants to encourage lively conversation about The United Methodist Church and our articles in the belief that Christian conversation (what Wesley would call conferencing) is a means of grace. While we support passionate debate, we cannot allow language that demeans or demonizes others, and we reserve the right to delete any comment we believe to be harmful or inappropriate. We encourage all to remember that we are all broken and in need of Christ's grace, and that we all see through the glass darkly until that time we when reach full perfection in love. May your speech here be tempered with love, and reflection of the fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. After all, "There is no law against things like this." (Galatians 5:22-23)
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George Nixon ShulerMarilyn AdamsJohn AltlandTodd Noren-Hentz Recent comment authors
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Marilyn Adams

In the old days. Saloons were closed maybe a sheet over the bar to cover a lady in fancy clothes. Then Church was held . Some with a piano some without. The service was held by traveling Pastors. A tradition in The Methodist Church. This is not new just coming back.

George Nixon Shuler

I had not heard that, but as a cultural history buff (my bachelor’s is in history and my concentration was the U.S.) I can certainly see how it was true. Anyhow, as Jeremiah or somebody said, “The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls and tenement halls…” and I have no problem with the practice. After all, we Methodists were just like our Baptist brethren mixed up in the neo-fascist advocacy for prohibition and we need to do such things as restitution at the very least.

John Altland

Didn’t Jesus go to a Wedding @ the Buffalo Wild Wings in Cana ??

George Nixon Shuler

Hmm, imagining that, I was wondering if Buffalo style hot wings are kosher. I was thinking, nah, it’d be a Jason’s Deli, but I think somewhere on their menu are some pork products and other trayf; certainly some of the sandwiches mix meat and dairy, a no-no to Phariseical sorts. But then, why not? Much of Jesus’ actions were counter to Phariseeism.

Todd Noren-Hentz

If the service is going really well and people want to stay, will there be some way that the bartender can force the preacher to keep on going?

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