Valley Church Holds Service Inside Bar

September 14, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
A valley church that first turned heads by giving away shot glasses is at it again. This time, Madera's Flipside Christian Church is taking its services to an unlikely venue: a bar. Like you may expect at any bar, the music is loud. But amid the darkness inside of Fresno's "Lucky 13," there is a different kind of message. "Wherever someone wants a church, an avenue to connect with god, we'll do it. And so someone from the bar here said, 'Hey, we know you guys are planning churches, why don't you put a site in the bar?' And we were like, 'all right, we'll do that!'" said Flipside pastor Karl Roth.

This isn't Flipside's first unconventional attempt at luring new members. The church turned heads earlier this year when it began giving away shot glasses and cards redeemable for a 'morning after' mug. Those shot glasses lined the bar Sunday as people showed up wearing t-shirts and shorts. Church members say the casual attire is part of the appeal. "I've been to other churches where I've gone in and sat down and felt kind of ostracized maybe because of my background or the way I look, the way I dress, things like that. Here, it's nothing like that. It's all about a relationship with Christ," said Flipside member Todd Blancett.

But not all in attendance were flipside members. Shannon Milliken came out of curiosity after seeing a poster about Sunday's service. "I thought it was great. It's really different than anything I've been to before as far as church goes? It has a lot of opportunities, a lot of potential for different growth, furthering god's kingdom throughout the community of Fresno," said Milliken.

In all, about two dozen people attended Sunday's first 'Flipside 13" service. It may not have filled the bar, but it was enough to excite the church's pastor. "I think who god is, is exploding the box that most people have him in. And that's what I'm really pleased about," said Roth.

Even though Sunday's church services were inside a bar, children weren't excluded entirely. They gathered at a nearby Foster's Freeze for "sundae" school.

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