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Taking worship into pubs/clubs
28 replies

I'm a guitarist in a church band in Dorset. Recently, I've been thinking that I would love to take worship into pubs and clubs so that people who wouldn't otherwise set foot in a church can experience a band worshiping God in song. We have a wonderful heritage of music and song in the modern church that even on face value is wonderful to listen to even for someone who doesn't want to enter into the worship aspect of it. I'd be grateful for any comments from anyone who has experience of playing in or taking a Christian band into secular venues, the format (how it was done) and what the people's response was to it. Also, whether or not they think it's a valid form of evangelism and any theological thoughts they may have on the subject. God bless!

Hi David

if its on your heart then go for it, this is something i have always wanted to do but i would have to pay christian musicians to do it.

and i dont have the finances to do it, half of the songs i wrote come out of talking to people on the streets and handing out tracts.

praise and worship music should be coming out of the church, into the schools, prisions, colleges, universities.

plus the clubs and pubs, to be honest i get sick and tired of all the building the church and local church talks.

when there are people ouside side of the church who dont know who jesus is. its time to get our music outside the four walls on the church.

joel houston of hillsong united said

if what we are doing inside the church is having no effect on whats happing outside the church were missing the point.

4 times it says in the bible to go out into the world and preach the gospel. mark 13:10 mark 16:15 matthew 24:14 matthew 28:19.

fishers of men mathew 4:19 mark 1:17 the harvest is great the labourers are few matthew 9:37 luke 10:2 many are called few are chosen matthew 20:16 matthew 22:14.

youre saying to the lord here i am send me isaiah 6:8, go for it.

i say go for it aswell david, its something massively on my heart aswell

great quote by joel houston mr hatch!

im not sure why you cant just go out and play int he street aswell mr hatch? i cant believe every single musician needs paying? i know several who would do it for free in my church


Thanks guys for your responses! I don't know many people who would do evangelism and get paid for it. Not sure it should be a paid activity anyway unless it's a professional church/ministry should be a heart thing first and foremost - and come from a passion to present Jesus to people. I think a lot of guitarists like myself and other musicians would jump at the chance of playing more.

Hi David and Gavin

in london where i live most of the musicians i know, are reluctant to play any music outside of their worship teams on sunday because they live very busy lives.

most of the musicians i know, are in secular bands outside of the church. most of them are professional musicians who if i want to work with them i would have to pay for thier time.

its just the nature of london, lots of the musicians i have bumped into have also played with matt reman and tim hughes.

so again it all depends on who you are and who you are connected with in london.

again evangelism on the streets is very exciting so go for it.

Pretty tough to do with a Christian band... if you think about it, a lot of bands who play clubs practice quite a bit to get their stuff up to speed, so you'd want to ensure your guys doing worship music were able to perform well (not always a given on a Sunday). Like mrhatch says, a lot of guys serving on Sundays are busy. I wouldn't have the time to do it... married, full time job, child etc. Church-related activities take up most of my free time, be it outreach or internal stuff.

I do know some Christian DJs who've remixed worship tracks and done sets at clubs with them. That's one option! The band option would only work if you get a band who put the time in to practice, are good performers and pick the tunes that work. Congregational tunes might not work so well in pubs if that's not what they want. And if they don't want it, I expect you wouldn't be invited back! If they're pro, like mrhatch said, they - unless it's on their heart too - may want paying. Those who are the good performers will often form their own bands, or play covers music... which does pay!

That being said, if you've got the personnel with the time and ability, it's definitely worth it, even just to kick open a few doors or create opportunities to talk to people. To do it long term, you've really got to buy into the band scene, and that's a high time commitment with no guarantee of financial stability from it.


"One, two, three, here we go..."
... follow me on Twitter @JJBHargreaves

one thing i have noticed is when it comes to worship ministry, its so easy for church leaders to find musicians who will join their worship team, by using their gifts and talents to build the church because its only on sundays.

as most musicians have other jobs in the week, unless they are paid full time by the church.

its so hard to find musicians who have a heart for evangelism and a heart for worship by taking their gifts and talents to the streets to reach the lost, because they are not willing to take the risk, unless they are asked to.

one thing i know is that most of the musicians i know dont listen to worship outside of church. unless they are having their midweek rehearsals to prepare for sunday where they are given cds and chords to learn songs for sunday services.

its easy for musicians to play at conferences and other churches because there is such a guaranteed turnout,

the marketplace is another place. for worship to reach the marketplace worship musicians would have to be very skilled and experienced in their vocals and the instruments they play.

this kind of vision will have a massive financial cost, and you would have to have very good contacts plus lots of spiritual covering.

thats why most worship musicians are not willing to do full time music ministry because as Joe says there is no guarantee of financial stability from it.

as i have said in the forum so many times before, if you have people who believe in you, who will invest in you and who will get behind you.

and musicians who are willing to comit you have a very high chance of making this kind of vision work long term and seeing the fruit from it.

The other thing is that Christian bands just don't really get big in the UK in the same way as they do in the USA. Different market.

So I guess it depends what you want to achieve. If you can find pubs or clubs who just have different acts on and don't mind you doing whatever, then go for it. If you're looking to do it to build a fan base, you probably won't get that much purchase in the UK...


"One, two, three, here we go..."
... follow me on Twitter @JJBHargreaves

i realise this is a very late comment considering the dates that people have been posting.

i started a band that would play originals of music that occasionally dealt with faith and matters of God and played in pubs and streets. My personal thinking was along these lines: worship music is not always going to be appreciated by people in those settings, it's our task not to take a thing that works in one setting into another, that's just lazy. So we spent a long time working on songs and playing them so that people would actually be impressed and not just be reminded of a lesser version of coldplay.

be thoughtful in it.

i suppose you've tried it though since i'm 4 months too late. how'd it go?

Hi All,

I don't know if this is any help at all. About 2 and a half years ago I was convicted that we always expected non-Christians to 'come to church', but we weren't willing to go out to meet them. I challenged our music team to be brave enough to take music out into the community and we decided to go for it. Now we do regular gigs in local venues including pubs, a curry house, a Sikh festival (!), a local annual Arts festival (on a stage that Glastobury would be pleased with!) and at Christmas we took part in a 'battle of the bands' competition at a local very famous rock venue - the other bands were all heavy metal bands whilst we did a total folk/rock Christian set (and we came second!)

Our regular gigs are a mixture of well known secular songs (which we think have a spiritual 'edge' to them) and very open Christian songs which we explain. We are very open about being a Christian band, and often do these gigs for free, just so that we can get the Christian message out in dark places.

We all have full time jobs and families but we see this as a Mission team but we find that fellow Christians in our town prefer to get together for big worship events aimed just at Christians and think that we are a bit mad. Some of our gigs have lead to spiritual conversations with the pub goers and the landlords and we are always welcome back. I'm not saying that we are great, but that there are opportunities out there if you are brave enough and have a vision - go for it!


Hello - In my town, the musicians in a local church have put on a regular acoustic night at a local cafe as a low-key way to invite people to the Alpha course. The music isn't always slick and professional, but there is always a great vibe and it gives a social opportunity for the church to be out-there. The venues they have used have always been packed whenever I've been along to listen - mainly with people from the church and their guests. The church have leaflets printed up and left on all the tables in the chosen venue so it is easy for guests to pick up the info about Alpha/Church without any pressure. I'm sorry I don't know the details of how this has impacted Alpha Course numbers or anything like that.

@DAP - your experience sounds fantastic! I'd love to be in a band like that (and wouldn't want paying - ref earlier comments in this thread!)