On November 1st, we at Pub Theology celebrated Halloween the only way we know…with a Party. Two hundred of our closest friends crowded onto the Regions Tower Rooftop partnered with the Aaron Pelsue Band, the Gold Savages, Coors Light and Oasis Events to raise money for St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital. The night was jam-packed with a costume contest, silent auction, dancing, food, and fun, yet about half-way through the event all I felt was disappointment and frustration.
My anticipation for the event in the weeks leading up to Halloween was at an all-time high. I love Halloween and I love seeing Pub Theology reach people through conversation, charitable donations, and Christ…so putting them together in one of the greatest locations in Indianapolis had me filled with excitement. There was talk that we'd see numbers upwards of 400 or even 600 people coming to the event. The silent auction was full of great items that I was sure were going to put us close to the $10,000 mark to send to St. Jude's. Yet as the doors opened at 9:00 pm and the place sat fairly empty until well after 10:00. My excitement began to fade. The staff at the Regions Rooftop assured me that the crowds won't start coming out until 10:30 or 11:00, so I continued to hope and wait. People began to trickle in…and slowly a few more…until a crowd of about 150 people were huddled around the dance floor and mingling about. But the big rush of people never came. The numbers continued to hover around 150 and never probably broke 200…and my hope and excitement faded once more.
Around 12:30 am, after the excitement of the costume contest had faded and the silent auction had closed, I stood near the back of the room and reflected on my frustration with how the night had gone. Scheduling conflicts had kept the charity spotlight interview from happening, audio/visual issues had kept the St. Jude's promo from being shown, and the late start to the party had the schedule ripped up and thrown in the trash. Yet it was roughly at that moment that I engaged in conversation with someone who was truly curious about Pub Theology and the work we've been doing around the city. She noticed something in everyone that was volunteering for the event to the point that she commented on it several times during our conversation. We talked about the work we've done for Mia and Make-A-Wish…about upcoming events and the Invitation and Celebration. We found out where she worked and that she was actively involved in a non-profit herself. I later found out that similar conversations had taken place throughout the night as well, with the Pub Theology team making connections with people and inviting them to follow-up events. And at that point, I was humbled.
I almost missed the point of what we do at Pub Theology because I was so wrapped up in the party that wasn't as big as I wanted it to be. We didn't raise $10k for St. Jude's that night, but we did raise nearly $2000 to help pay the medical expenses for a family going through a tough time…and every little bit counts. At Pub Theology we strive to be Indy's Best Party with a Purpose and I was too wrapped up in the Party and not enough in the Purpose. Our purpose is bigger than ourselves and goes beyond having a good time on a Friday or Saturday night. It goes beyond raising money for charity. Our purpose is to spread Faith, Hope, and Love to those that otherwise may not encounter it. To be intentional with conversation and bring people into Christian community…ultimately shepherding them in a relationship with Jesus. It's easy to lose sight of that sometimes and I'm glad that I was reminded of it that night.