Hugh Halter
It's 5 O'clock Somewhere...The Ministry of Reconciliation Rebooted
by Hugh Halter on August 2nd, 2016

​Somewhere, everywhere, people are connecting socially. But most of this connection is with people we love, feel comfortable with, and thus social, spiritual, and relational reform remains unchanged.  From the beginning of time, and throughout the scriptures, God’s people pattern their lives around celebration, feasts, social gatherings, levity, story-telling, eating, drinking, laughter, and listening. It was a means of holding the fabric of society together but after Acts 10, eating with strangers and those whom you would never share a meal with, became the most powerful witness of the gospel. Party was now the means by which we let the world know that God loved them. 

For God’s ancient fans, levity, sobriety, and a good ol’ fashion party helped create a
social connection that makes spiritual connection possible. It used to be Five O’Clock
somewhere, but sadly, over the last century, the church is the last one to the party.
I remember growing up as a Nazerene boy hearing that ‘good Christians’ don’t
smoke, chew or have friends that do. As such, I didn’t venture out to the movies, look
at art, play cards, and I had to listen to all my secular music undercover. My friends
were Christians…all of them. As I entered training for ministry my reading of Jesus’
life didn’t square with a seminary prof who suggested that all wine in the New
Testament was simply grape juice or the denominational leaders who wanted us to
plant churches for them, but only if we abstain from having a beer with neighbor. It
just seemed that at every turn, my old perception of being committed to Jesus didn’t
allow me to follow Him or live like He lived.

Now that I’m a big boy, not much has changed. Except for one small adjustment. I
now pattern my holiness after the human life of Jesus instead of the traditions of any
certain church, outdated ministerial code of ethics or leadership definitions born of
prohibition, or the subjective and selective literalism so many of us grew up under. I
simply want to be holy as Jesus was holy. And for Him, leadership, influence,
witness, the gospel as good news, the new covenant, life according the heart & spirit
instead of the law and his main message of the kingdom of God was no longer a
matter of eating and drinking, which now meant you can do exactly that. Enjoy life, faith, friends, great food and drink and yes all while being holy.

​A Call Back to Mission

I am the US Director for a missions training network called FORGE. Forge exists to
train men and woman to live as missions where they already do life. That is, we
believe every neighborhood is now a pure missionary context like Spain, Italy,
Iceland or Nova Scotia. And in a pure missionary context the church can no longer
ask the secular culture to act the part of the missionary and come to us and our
church services anymore. We must be the ‘sent’ ones again. We must be the

So where does a good missionary start in any and all contexts? They must start
where the culture is and find ways to create neutral, enjoyable, space where humans
can connect, identify, and learn the context of one anothers story. That’s how we
contextualize the gospel. And this is exactly why, as Alan Hirsch has said, “PARTY IS
​In my personal story of starting two churches in very secular contexts, many friends
found faith in our home and not one story started without the party.
From Small Group to Missional Community
Now, I spend my life traveling around the globe encouraging and training the
missionary spirit. Some are with church planters but most are with existing
congregations with huge hearts for the lost but who still live according to a non-
party ethic and the rhythms of abstract holiness.

Many people have asked, “Hugh, what is the one key to turning a typical small group
into a true missionary community?” Another asks, “Hugh, how did all those people
find faith..really how did it actually happen?” Another asks, “how do you disciple
people to live more human lives like Jesus?” My answer is always the same. “You have to teach and disciple people in how to throw a good party. It's where everything starts.” Its where we learn to listen instead of judge. Where we become advocates instead of adversaries and where people cease to be targets or projects because they are our friends. Remember, when teaching about the gospel of the kingdom, our living metaphors are that of a wedding feast, a banquet, and a supper. It's time to include this in our own spiritual formation.

So what can you do?

Check out Happy Hour. I wrote it not to make light of excesses or tea-toltlers, but to
bring to light the power of levity, food, and all things related to holy merriment. I
wrote it as a basic training for would-be missionaries and it is full of doable baby
steps a more human way to follow Jesus and make Him known to others
Listen to this audio sermon....

​Table of Contents:

Intro. Hors d’ oeuvre: An Intro into a Life of Celebration

Chapter One: Party as Sacrament…The Theology and Missiology of Party

Chapter Two: Public House…How to Party at Home

Chapter Three: Party Favors. Its 5:00 Somewhere. Unique ways to party

Chapter Four: Party Killers…How NOT to Cross the Line…a balanced discussion of booze

Chapter Five: The Last Call…The Best Party I’ve Ever Thrown

We only fulfill orders of five books or more because there’s nothing more lame than
trying to learn about partying by yourself. So we suggest that you read together with
your existing small group or a handful of friends who really want kingdom life to
show up.

If you want to try a full congregation experience just contact me at and I can help coach you through it.

Signing off from


Posted in Books, Incarnational Community, Missional Church, The Church    Tagged with Hugh Halter, party, missional, missional community, christians, alcohol, Jesus, God, jesus christ, Christian leadership


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