Bubble Parties For Jesus In Milwaukee

The party grew. It got too big for our house so we blocked off our alley and moved the party outside. This is when things got really interesting.


Dave Anderson

Co-Lead Pastor, the Milwaukee Vineyard

When we moved to Milwaukee almost three years ago (without a church planting team), my wife and I were trying to find ways to engage people. So we looked at what “normal people” like to do in our city. Milwaukee people love to party. Taking a page from the book The Art of Neighboring, we started to get to our know neighbors.

The Party Grew

We invited them to a weekly pizza party at our little house in the city. I made 25 handmade pizzas for our first party, and one person showed up. He was the first person we baptized.

The party grew. Soon we were asking neighbors to bring toppings and beverages to share. I was making about 40 individual pizza crusts each week and grilling them outside. It got too big for our house so we blocked off our alley and moved the party outside. This is when things got really interesting.’

‘I started to think about things we could do at the party that would engage people in conversation and fun. We started a ‘conversation couch’ and games like ‘hammerschlagen’ and ‘bags’. We added a bounce house to be kid friendly. We started a community art station and found ping-pong and pool tables. Eventually, we put together a stage for karaoke and group games. Basically, we did just about anything that engages conversation and fun.

A Party Our Neighbors Love

Neighbors started pitching in to help set up and tear down. The party grew to over 70 people and we had to move it to monthly. The other issue we faced was the weather — it gets cold in Wisconsin — so I built a giant heated bubble out of greenhouse fabric and enclosed our alley. Imagine a semi-translucent giant hot air balloon on its side with a party inside. That’s our party. We set everything up the morning of, and tear it all down around 1:00 am. Our neighbors love it.

We have engaged hundreds, and our relationships with our neighbors have gotten deeper and deeper. We had our first baptism at our party and had people share what they like about Jesus at our Easter party.

Invited To The Bubble

My wife and I regularly have conversations with random people who say things like, “I have heard about a party in your neighborhood that happens in a bubble.” or “Have you heard about the bubble parties?”

Our typical response is, “You have just been invited to the bubble.”

[To learn more, visit the website of the Milwaukee Vineyard]

 

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