Some Church Folk Ask: ‘What Would Jesus Brew?’

Charlie Hanchett works in a beer group at Christ Church in Massachusetts.
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Written by ERICA E. PHILLIPS and BEN KESLING for wsj.com

ALLENDALE, Mich.—As several of the faithful from the Valley Church here prepared to bow their heads in prayer to open a recent Saturday-evening meeting, they introduced themselves.

“My name is Darin,” the Methodist congregation’s 37-year-old music director said, grinning. “And I like me a 30-pack of Busch Light!”

The circle broke into laughter as several people put down bottles of microbrew beer to applaud. It was a fitting introduction for the event—a semi-regular meeting of beer enthusiasts and home brewers who go by the moniker “What Would Jesus Brew?”

Pastor Matt Bistayi, who started Valley Church three years ago, says the goal of WWJB isn’t to be “churchy,” but rather to “reach out to people in a loving, grace-filled way that meets people where they are and as they are.”

Valley Church is one of several congregations around the country tapping the growing craft-beer trend as a way to attract new members.

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