Ungroup rules – without rules!

IMG_1352Many people would assert that having a beer-drinking group is an unusual, perhaps impermissible function for a church. I beg to disagree. Permit me to describe the origins and utility of what’s happened in this regard in my church.

Anyone familiar with typical religious institutions, regardless of their name of affiliation, knows that committees and task forces are created to address specific needs or to serve defined purposes. The majority of these entities disband after the situation for which they are formed is dealt with, while others are long-lived.

My church is no exception to this practice. Recently a committee was formed to explore options and budget for repairing the roof; it disbanded once the work was completed. By the same token, a long time ago people banded together to knit blankets that are holiday gifts for those in need. This work is ongoing.

From the aforementioned, the idea of there being a church group that exists neither to tackle a short-term project, nor with a long-term raison d’etre makes it an odd duck. Or, if you will, a Seinfeld-esque activity that is about “nothing.”

A few years ago a bunch of us friends hit upon the idea of getting together to drink beer and talk about any topic that came up. We decided to call ourselves “Ungroup” by way of announcing that we have no agenda, no particular outcome in mind and certainly no idea how long we’ll continue to meet.

The result has been an immensely enjoyable past time, one that offers like-minded people – not only men – to gather and shoot the breeze. We meet on Thursday evenings every couple of weeks, and of course the meetings are printed in the Sunday bulletin. The number of participants varies according to the members’ availability but generally at least a half dozen are able to attend. Sure, Ungroup provides the opportunity to catch up on family news, but it isn’t unusual for timely topics to be discussed, albeit in an unscripted way.

Is this enterprise earthshaking? Nope. But it does illustrate how not everything that goes on in a church is, by its nature, stultifying!


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