First Church of Joe's Tavern


Well, we still live in this small remote town in the middle of Nowhere, Nevada, and the only friends I have are in the few local bars. The churches here to do not want me around and I think I’m finally getting used to it. I’ve come to learn that there is more love, more acceptance, and more grace and mercy in bars than there ever was in any of the ICs I’ve ever been in.

Last week my wife was in a serious rollover accident. I thank God that He miraculously spared her life. She’s very sore but getting better. However, the only people who seemed to care are the bar people. Church folks, well, they’re too busy busy running their synagogues I guess. Now if anyone should ever ask me where I go to church, I would tell them “Joe’s Tavern.”


I know how you feel brother. In my life when disaster struck my unsaved friends by far were more kind,caring,and helping than all the “Christian” people I know. This reminds me of Keith Greens song The sheep and the goats, give it a listen, tell me if it strikes a cord


Yes, it did strike a cord with me.


First, I am sorry to hear about your wife’s accident and relieved to hear she is recovering from her injuries. I hope and have prayed that she continues to improve to full health.

Second, you may feel isolated, but you are not alone in your experience with and observations of finding more genuine relationships outside of, rather than within, the IC. I know of many (myself included) unchurched Christians in the US and all over the world right now who are geographically isolated from others of like faith, seeking a community they have not yet found, and resorting to building relationships right where they find themselves (much like your current Church of Joe’s Tavern). It is becoming so common I am beginning to suspect God is actually up to something with it! For my own part, I am using Skype continuously to meaningfully connect with many of them on a regular basis.

I could, if I chose, begin searching the IC again to find local relationships and opportunity for face to face encounter that I so deeply hunger for. And yet I know on some level deep inside that I cannot go back, not fully, for I no longer share some of the core convictions that bind local IC’s together. I would be viewed as a heretic by them and/or they would require things of me like membership and a sign-off on a statement of beliefs that I no longer subscribe to. That dead horse has been thoroughly and properly beat, in my opinion. It is not that I would relationally write them off (I remain close friends with several IC’ers who have accepted my decision to leave the IC without abandoning Christ), but it does not make sense to me to try and build my core community within an IC which I no longer fundamentally believe in.

All that being said, you do not elaborate what it means that the “churches…do not want (you) around;” what that history is or what it looks like. That might need some more unpacking, but for now, no matter, the fact that you are posting at all tells me the hunger for real connection is real. It is painful. And perhaps bewildering to think that a bar is the only place where you are finding it. I just wanted you to know that a) I hear you, and b) you’re not alone and c) you might, you just very well might, be exactly where God wants you—and many of us along with you—to be right now.

I hope this is a small encouragement to you brother. If so, raise a toast for me at Joe’s :slight_smile:


Very encouraging. Thank you.


I attended Al-Anon meetings decades ago. It was so organic and like a ‘body’ since so many shared their hearts…I would love to attend Joe’s Tavern church.


That’s cool. I was going to something called Celebrate Recovery at an IC but it was anything but organic. It was more ritualistic and shallow in conversation. Big waste of time.


Hello mpugh,

I have been to CR (Celebrate Recovery) but it was about three years ago. I found it disappointing due to the small groups being all about present trials and pain, i.e., people not realizing they are new creations and can just reckon themselves dead to all that. It was horrendous how much they wallowed in their circumstances. I was heart broken for them.