Just as Jesus shared life truths with the marginalized of his day, so the folks at King Street Church serve and learn alongside others in bars, cafes, business meetings and jails. Although they don’t meet in a church with a steeple, they find fresh ways of expressing the traditional elements of church. Through this ministry they’ve seen many come to a new knowledge of Christ, as He enters their world, answers life questions and revives their souls.
King Street Church started as a church plant of Boone United Methodist Church (UMC) in 2013. At the time, Boone UMC offered several outreach ministries to meet those on the margin, but realized it wasn’t enough.
“We felt like the church was called to do more than serve,” Luke Edwards, Pastor of King Street Church, said. “We’re called to welcome, include and worship with everyone. We still excluded the marginalized from the body because we served them, but didn’t welcome them.”
As a result, King Street Church was born. They chose to follow the Fresh Expressions model. Fresh Expressions focuses on one aspect of the church, such as prayer or worship, and adds additional pieces until the group forms a mature expression of the body of Christ. They’ve found that these new ways of presenting the traditional gospel make it easier for those unfamiliar with church to become a faith community.
“King Street looks a lot like the early church,” Luke said. “We find that we’re going back to a lot of the basics of what the church looked like in Acts, incorporating the sacraments and focusing on the key elements of the Church.”
In the beginning, Luke approached a few people exploring the Christian faith, but who were not necessarily Christians. This group of five to six spent three months eating together during the course of one summer. Gradually, this group became a community that worshipped together and dialogued about faith and life. King Street Church was born.
Now, that group meets weekly in what they call Sundays at the Saloon. On Sunday evenings, Christians and non-Christians alike gather to read a passage of Scripture, apply it to their lives, ingest it, and wash it down with a cold beer.
Daniel, a former inmate in the Watauga County Jail, is one of many who reconnected with Jesus through this fresh expression of church. Although Daniel grew up in the church, he became disconnected during his incarceration. After his release, he felt intimidated to return because of his past.