Very serious reformed denomination and fun-loving sports bar unveil historic collaboration
(April 13, 2017) Today the historically conservative Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC) and Dallas- based sports andentertainment brand, Dave and Busters, announced a strategic partnership aimed at a mutually beneficial complement of physical and spiritual services. Over 18 months in the making, the partnership was drafted in final form in the spring of 2016 and formally ratified at the OPC General Assembly where executive leadership from Dave and Busters were flown in to take part in the signing of the formal agreement.
Penned with quill dipped in india ink on lambskin parchment, the 19-page Declaration of Understanding outlined both the denomination’s theological position on gospel fellowship outside the church and a historically-relevant treatise on the nature of food as it relates to the ecumenical dialectic of recreation.
The document also contains an appendix of the best hot wing flavors which are recommended, but non-binding, to OPC members.
“We had spoken to a number of Presbyterian and reformed denominations,” said Dave and Busters Chief Operations Officer, Roger Mast. “We felt that the OPC had the right blend of event frequency, congregational size, and precisely-crafted rules that were the perfect fit for our brand.” Mast and his team spent a significant amount of time narrowing down denominations until ultimately aligning with the OPC. “We’ve really felt the need to embrace our spiritual side and once our leadership team finished reading the Book of Church Order, Chapter XXIII, section 8 on the ordination of ministers as dispensers of spiritual food, we were sold.”
The formal agreement upsets what many see as one of the most longstanding, but unofficial, partnerships between a reformed congregation and casual dining establishment; Presbyterians and Chick-Fil-A.
Citing “difference of opinions” with Chick-fil-A over condiment naming and table proximity, the 81-year old denomination’s new stance on both fellowship in a sports-themed atmosphere and foods appropriate unto the encouragement of the saints as they find themselves in, but not of, the world, is truly a disruptive one.
“We talked with a lot of other brands including Buffalo Wild Wings and Chuck E. Cheeses,” explained OPC Pastor Rich Van Der Vries, who also served as chair for the Decentralization of Formalized Fellowship Strategic Planning and Snack Committee which headed up the nearly 2-year project. “In the end we felt that Dave and Busters was that perfect combination of side-by-side gospel encouragement and skee-ball that so many of us felt has been lacking in more ‘fast food’ dining environments.”
Yes the news has not come without criticism.
76-year-old Teaching Elder, Bob VanVan Der Vanz, expressed his outrage over the decision which he called, “A flagrant headlong sprint into the gaping void of hell itself.” While many in the small conservative congregation originally sympathized with the sentiment, it appears that the Declaration has won many skeptics over already, especially after Dave and Busters catered the third day of General Assembly with their Bang Bang Chicken and crispy fried shrimp buffet.
The OPC’s 15-year plan is to migrate counseling overflow and men’s ministry meetings to specific locations first, followed by session retreats and eventually new members classes. The full roll out of the plan as described in the Declaration of Understanding is expected to be complete by August of 2032 or when the restaurant chain completes its Heros of the Reformation menu featuring favorite food and drink of reformers such as Luther, Zwingli, and Calvin.