4.22.2009

Bartender = Evangelist?

I've now been working @ East Side Marios for five years....crazy how time flies! (though some days it feels like it's been a lot longer). In January of last year, I was asked to move into the bar to be a bartender. I really had to think about the decision, and it's turned out to be an unexpected journey.

People that have known me for years are always shocked when I tell them I'm a bartender. I would have NEVER predicted it, but I was excited to learn something new at work and of course, make more money. Even more surprising, I never thought I'd enjoy it as much as I do, and I've been thinking about it a lot this week...

I remember Josh Graves telling a story @ church about a ministry student who at graduation decided the best thing to do with his education was to become a bartender. People come in aching to be heard, to find comfort, and what better place to bring the Word to the lost? Now, I have to admit that this was not my motivation for working in a bar, I'm certainly not an evangelist, but the thought has crossed my mind many times. It always makes me laugh at how many customers make comments to me about my great attitude and smile....It's not like I'm overly bubbly, I think that people aren't used to that in their everyday lives. Most of them are surrounded by heartache, burdens, stress, overwork, addictions, and sorrow and they don't know what do with a person who is content with their life and enjoys what they do. 

Even though I didn't get into bartending to bring people to God, it's surprised me how many biblical conversations I've had with people that I wouldn't have expected. But much more often, I feel like I've been very subtly presented with people who just needed an ear to listen, a smile, a laugh, someone to talk to. In the process, it has allowed me to learn to be a better listener, which wasn't always my strong suit. I find that many times, the bar crowd is more open and willing to talk about God issues than many church members, and are much less judgmental. That in itself can be a breath of fresh air sometimes. (Not to mention, most days work is the only time during the day I have adult interaction, so I look forward to it).

I still have my bad days where I let the atmosphere sometimes get the best of me, which makes me doubt my decision about being around a lot of that negativity. But overall, I think it's really opened my eyes to the world and it's heartache and given me a better understanding of my place and purpose in this world, and for that I'm thankful. It's also helped me appreciate my own life and realize how NORMAL I actually am! If nothing else, I hope that I've made a positive impact on someone's life. That would make it worth it to me. Plus, the awesome friends that I work with that I wouldn't trade for the world!

One of my favorite regulars (and Steve's BFF), Dave Nash

1 comment:

bluecottonmemory said...

If people will go into project areas, why won't they go into bars? I agree - it's a mission field people ignore. I think it's a great seed-planting opportunity. I can also understand the challenge in being in a potentially negative environment! Way to be an unsung missionary!

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