Skip to Main Content

Pub Theology: Pierre First UMC Fresh Expression

By: Dave Stucke, communications associate, Dakotas UMC

Rev. Jeff Lathrop describes the Fresh Expression of ministry out of Pierre First UMC in Pierre, SD. In "Pub Theology," lay leaders meet in unusual places for lively conversations, with surprising results. It is a Fresh Expression of church that is constantly evolving. 


Our fresh expression is called "Pub Theology." We meet weekly on Thursday night, at 5:30 p.m., until whenever people head on out to head back home. It has kind of had a evolution unto its own.

It began in conversations about some new ministry ideas with some young adults at Pierre First United Methodist Church. We asked, what would you like to see? They said, we want to see something outside of the church. We want to meet some place, where it's familiar.

We decided that we would meet at some of the pubs. We have a monthly rotation throughout town at different spots. We have conversations that are very authentic, and actually connect with what they're kind of dealing with.

I say it has evolved because I once started with a series called, "When Christians Get It Wrong," by Adam Hamilton, which sparked great conversations. Now, we kind of do a primer with a, with a little note card, with a question for the night.

They all get a note card where they get to answer the question.  For example, last week’s question was, "What is a title of the sermon you would like to hear that you've never heard in the church? What kind of things haven't you heard?" That was a great conversation starter.

We meet weekly and it's evolved, depending on which areas that we happen to hit. Like right now, we're back where we started for the year for our rotation when we got started again this past fall. We are at the Long Branch and the owners are there. We have lots of people coming in and out.

I like to advertise. We've got the community sharing it, the paper shared it, and the radio station. We've got some good exposure here.

In the last year, I've learned that it's okay to adapt, to have some changes. Like in the beginning I thought, I have to start it. Maybe I have to really prime it. Now it's so organic that they're all leading, which is exactly what I was hoping.

I mean, organically, we want to empower the church toto do their thing. They own it and it's all theirs, and it's a beautiful thing. That also gives me some time to step away. I don't have to be there all the time. I can empower a lay person to kind of take, take it over at some point. I'm very hopeful for that.

Attend Fresh Expressions Activate Day on April 20 with a team. Did you miss the Fresh Expressions Activate Day on Dec. 2 and are you seeking to take a deeper dive into creating a Fresh Expression? Join us to continue the momentum at Activate Day on April 20, 9 a.m. to noon. Read more Fresh Expression stories


Dakotas Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church 605.996.6552 1331 University Ave. Mitchell SD 57301-0460 US 43.69689310 -98.03291320 122 W. Franklin Avenue Ste 400 Minneapolis MN 55404 US 0.00000000 0.00000000 1331 W University Ave Mitchell SD 57301 US 0.00000000 0.00000000 1331 University Ave Mitchell SD 57301 US 0.00000000 0.00000000