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      Repost: Creating Community – The Power of Poker

      This week, I’m going on vacation with my family. I thought I’d take this opportunity to republish some old posts from the archives. Feel free to leave comments here or on the original post. Enjoy, I’ll be back next week!

      Today’s post was originally posted in January 2011.  It created a bit of buzz and some great dialog in the comments.

      A guy at our church has been “leading” a monthly Texas Hold ‘Em Poker Group connected with our church’s grouplife ministry. For some of you, this sounds sacrilegious and not quite right – after all, doesn’t the Bible discourage gambling? I guess I understand this viewpoint; however, I would argue that this is the type of group that Jesus would promote. From what we read in the gospels, Jesus hung out with prostitutes, cheaters, and punks. I’ve attended this poker group a few times, and it draws all kinds of people – people who are part of the church and people who are not part of any church. The group’s goal (besides playing cards) is to create an entry point for people to get connected with people from our church. From here, the hope is that they would come to our church and check out other opportunities to get connected and to grow.

      Today, I was blown away when I saw one of the group’s attenders file into church a few rows in front of me with the group’s leader. He quickly received a hand shake and hello from one of the group’s regular attenders who was sitting right in front of him. I’ll be honest, I never expected to see this guy in our church. I guess I shouldn’t have been so surprised. This is the group’s goal, and it’s working.

      So what do you think? Would you consider this a valid part of your grouplife/connection ministry? What other types of groups might serve in this same manner?

      I’d love to hear your feedback!