This California church clearly doesn’t care what the evangelical community thinks of them. The Greater Purpose Community Church in Santa Cruz recently sold their church building, moved into a temporary lounge space and plans to build a brewery where they will hold their services.
Pastor Chris VanHall says that it’s “not brick and mortar.”
“We decided to sell the building, because for us a church is a community and a movement,” he told NBC. “There’s nothing in the Bible that says you can’t drink alcohol in a responsible manner.”
The church is currently holding its services in a lounge that also serves beer, which is what sparked the pastor’s idea to convert a downtown bookstore into a brewery that will serve as a church. With this new church, he hopes to donate 30 to 60 percent of the profits to charity.
“I thought to myself, wouldn’t it be great if a church could figure out a way to make a product where they split the profits with local community service organizations?” the pastor said. “We were like, ‘Hey, we love beer. We love making beer. Why not do a brewery?’”
VanHall said he moved to Santa Cruz to plant a church and anticipated it to be “a place of safety for those who have justifiably left the church due to bigotry and hate-filled theology.”
He explained that everyone at the church drinks responsibly in a conversational atmosphere, and even joked that his sermons are better after a couple of beers.
The “about” section on Greater Purpose Church’s website explains that they “will embrace you regardless of your faith, personal life choices, race, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, political preference, social status or economic standing.”
The description goes on to say: “We love and value all equally and at Greater Purpose Community Church: ALL LITERALLY MEANS ALL! Radical love and unity are sacred in our community.”