Known for its loud music and alcoholic drinks, Shenanigan’s does not seem like the typical place to hold a new student ministry.
However, members of Sam Houston State University’s Connected Christian Fellowship Organization are reserving the weekend hot-spot for their weekly Sunday night parties.
Organized by Jerry Phillips, the Associate Pastor for the Ministries for the First Baptist Church of Huntsville, the new college ministry called “The Gathering,” is a place where anyone ages 18 and older can enjoy dancing, music, friends, pool, and non-alcoholic beverages from 9 p.m.. to 12 a.m.
“It gives everyone an opportunity to get out of the church and reach out to Sam,” Phillips said.
At the first meeting, students took advantage of the pool tables, dance floor and big screen T.V. until they gathered to watch a ten minute DVD with the overall message of “live in the now, here and today.”
“I think The Gathering is a very good idea for good, clean fun,” SHSU junior, Jerry Barker said.
Later, the students gathered as volunteers stood to read Scripture from the Bible then immediately headed back to the dance floor.
Since Shenanigan’s busiest nights are Thursdays through Saturdays, organizers of The Gathering chose Sunday night as the best night to hold the weekly parties.
“Most students are back from a busy weekend out of town and it gives them something to do. Plus, since there is no alcohol, there is a smaller chance of there being trouble all together,” SHSU senior and The Gathering volunteer Chris Reynolds said.
Even though alcoholic drinks are not being sold at The Gathering, student can still enjoy the familiarity of Shenanigan’s.
“It’s the same Shenanigan’s. There’s dancing, pool, smoking and the same music we’re all familiar with. Alcohol can’t be served on Sundays anyway, so it shouldn’t be a big deal,” Reynolds said.
The success of the ministry’s first night has led to big ideas and plans for up coming Sundays, including guest speakers and live music.
“We’re very pleased with the turnout,” Reynolds said. “There’s mixed crowd of familiar faces from the church, as well as some new faces. We’re expecting next week’s crowd to be even bigger.”