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Exploring God at the Bulldog Alehouse (Part 1)

Editor’s Note: Q Place is a key partner in a large-scale effort to get hundreds (maybe thousands) of Explore God groups started in the Chicago area in January-February 2019. Stories of these groups are now rolling in, and we are sharing some of them in the Q Place blog to inspire and encourage you in your own journey of starting a group for spiritual seekers.


bulldog-alehouse1Would Anyone Show?

My wife, Cathy, and I were a bit uneasy, even anxious, on our way to our first meeting. A few times we asked each other, Do you think anyone will show tonight? The long table tucked in the corner at the Bulldog Alehouse seemed like the most neutral place to discuss important spiritual topics. We got there 30 minutes early, ordered some drinks, and sat down with that question continuing to hover in our thoughts.

I pulled out the small speakers to plug into my laptop, pulled up the first Explore God video, and realized quickly that it was very loud in this “quiet corner” of the restaurant. We asked the manager if he could turn down the house speaker blaring over our table and were relieved when he was glad to accommodate us. Then our first two guests showed up, and our anxiety really began to ease. Cathy looked up with surprise to see a friend she hadn’t expected. Another came, then another and another. Then we were thinking, God’s fingerprints seem to be all over this!

How It All Started

From the very beginning of hearing about the Explore God Chicago opportunity, we were excited. I had immediately emailed the link to the ministry leaders of our church. Rarely is there such a quick response by our entire team. They were img_0976 “all in” and the team worked to mobilize Fox Valley Church with all the resources Explore God provides. We began to pray—in small groups, in the worship services, and as staff.

With a phone call, two local farmers gave us permission to put up “We All Have Questions” and “We All Wonder” billboards in major traffic areas on their property. We were preparing for open community groups and home groups, and we did all “wonder”—but our biggest question was, Would anyone show???

And Now Here We Were

The day had arrived, friends had actually come, and we were getting ready to discuss the first big question: “Does life have a purpose?”

The server worked hard to adjust the growing number around a table built for eight, maybe ten. Seeing my laptop and speakers and knowing the house music had been turned down, she said she had another idea but needed to clear it with the manager. A few minutes later she led the way to a private room that I hadn’t known about. It was perfect—a quieter room with a larger round table and twelve chairs. Because now we were twelve! Again, God’s fingerprints.

Cathy and I were surprised, perhaps even stunned as we looked around the table. Trying now to gather my thoughts, I had everyone briefly introduce themselves and then I gave a brief introduction—explaining that we would watch two videos and provide an opportunity to ask questions and share thoughts and opinions. Then we started in.

All through the span of time, I was amazed that we were discussing this significant spiritual topic with a group that included millennials all the way to late middle agers—men, women, even an ethnically diverse group. And here we were exploring questions about God with folks who had not yet found him! Was this really happening?

Following through with the promise to keep it at an hour, I wrapped it up, summarizing key points shared and expressing appreciation for everyone’s participation. Afterwards, Cathy and I packed up and started to talk about the discussion but decided to wait until we were in the privacy of our car. We were almost giddy with excitement. What an amazing start, we were thinking, but will it continue? Will anyone return?

Tom
Dundee, IL


Editor's Note: Get equipped to facilitate a group like this with Q Place's free online coaching. The next session starts the week of March 25, 2019. Learn more and sign up today!