Pearl Street Grill & Brewery offers more than just food & drinks.
By Kyle Patterson
After the dust has settled from the weekend gatherings at one of Buffalo’s premier city destinations, Pearl Street Grill and Brewery, there is another type of meeting that happens each Sunday morning within the four story brick structure at the corner of Pearl Street and Seneca. This group however isn’t there primarily to eat and drink, though they do serve a continental breakfast each Sunday gathering, they are there to meet as a community of faith, sharing the word of God from the Bible and singing together about the goodness of God through Jesus.
Church on Tap is a growing community of Jesus followers who are, in their own words, intentional about breaking down barriers that have existed between “church world” and the rest of the world. This group of believers is composed of mostly young adults ages 20-30 something, and has become for many a needed escape from the drudgery and politics that have plagued many local congregations. The church started nearly four years ago as a group of friends looking for a new expression of an age old faith and exploring just what modern day Christianity looks like. For this group of Jesus followers it came down to not separating faith from the rest of their lives.
Jim Sproull, one of the founders and many times the one teaching on Sunday mornings, is a former staff member of a large mega-church. Sproull, after his job was eliminated at the mega-church, began asking some hard questions and defining what he understood from Scripture church to be. It was during this season that Sproull with a couple of friends decided to try a new type of church experience. At first the question was whether to even have a Sunday service, but after consideration they determined it was a must. A paid pastor though they decided to forsake and as for a building? A friend happened to be the manager of Pearl Street Grill and Brewery, “As long as we didn't interfere with business as usual, we were welcome to use it,” explained Erik Eustice, one of the other founders of the church and a leader in the community of faith.
“The church is composed of people, not a building and not a staff. If the church is truly composed of people that are doing ministry the only way to do that is eliminate the hierarchy of those who get paid to do it and those who watch it, we wanted to change that whole mindset,” explained Sproull. And change they have. The model is unique and is challenging the status quo of modern Christianity. It remains to be seen what is on the horizon for this young group of believers. One thing however is certain and that is their commitment to community, service to others and giving, actions that speak at least to this generation louder than words.