It’s The Best Bar None For ‘Raw Evangelism’

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Meet Chris and Caroline Barrow, the Yorkshire pub landlords who serve up more than a decent pint.

We’ll drink to that… Regulars at a popular watering hole in the North of England get prayer with their pints, as Becky Barlow discovered

The couple run the Flying Ferret in the West Yorkshire village of Shelly and as well as hosting Alpha and Christianity Explored courses, they offer regulars prayer and counsel too. Walls are adorned with Bible verses and there have been reports of healing miracles.

The Flying Ferret Pub In Shelly, West Yorkshire, run by local couple Chris and Caroline Barrow

“We’re just an ordinary couple who believe in the power of prayer,” says Caroline. “We don’t force our beliefs on others, but more and more people are coming in asking for prayer and seeing prayers answered. It’s astounding.”

The Barrows are backed up by their church – Holme Valley Elim - and worship nights have recently been held in the pub, much to the delight of locals who have warmed to the unusual idea.

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Caroline says being a landlady provides the perfect opportunity to engage with locals.

“You get to hear of people’s misfortunes. As Christians, we offer to pray for them,” she says.

Chris and Caroline Barrow serving in their pub, the Flying Ferret

Chris and Caroline Barrow serving in their pub, the Flying Ferret

“When we asked, most would smile politely, but then people asked if we were serious. The first one was a customer whose daughter’s friend had a double brain aneurism and had been told that there was very little chance of surviving the operations.

“I prayed with him and to the doctors’ amazement she came through the two operations and was soon back to full health.”

As the news spread, more people started coming to the pub with prayer requests. And the Flying Ferret now has a prayer board detailing accounts of answered prayers and testimony reports.

“One night, a member of staff asked us to pray for her friend’s little boy who had fallen from a speeding coach and was critically ill in hospital,” Caroline says.

“Chris and I prayed for him on the spot and also encouraged all our friends at church to do the same.

Despite having part of his leg removed, the boy recovered.

“His parents were told they would have to have their house modified and that the physical and emotional therapy would take a long time, but less than a year later the lad was back at school.

“We have nothing to offer of ourselves, and it goes to show that God can use anyone who is willing to be used by him.”

With the pub’s lease up for renewal in 2020, the Barrows are now looking to the future and trusting God for the £400,000 they need to buy the building and continue the ministry. With plans to turn the upstairs accommodation into rooms for outreach work, they have started to look at ways to raise funds.

“We will be holding a 24-hour live praise party in the bar on October 13,” Caroline explains.

“And we want churches all over the nation and around the world to get involved by singing five chosen worship songs at 11am.

“We’ll be inviting local press and TV along to show them that Jesus is alive and working in a most astounding way.”

Holme Valley Pastor Ian Sharp is full of support for Chris and Caroline, describing their approach as ‘raw marketplace evangelism’. “The bar is a place where people tend to share their deepest needs and, given the opportunity, Chris and Caroline always offer prayer,” he adds.

“In church we often expect people to come to us, but we have to follow the example of Jesus and meet people where they are. Hardly a week goes by without Chris and Caroline sharing with me an amazing answer to prayer.”

Caroline Barrow shares how she has prayed with customers and seen people healedReaching out in obscure ways is in the DNA of Holme Valley Elim. In fact, it started as a church plant in a community cafe 15 years ago. The night before the pub opened, Ian, along with a number of his congregation, prayed with the Barrows. The church supports their ministry by praying for customers’ needs at its Sunday services.

“Their pub is quickly becoming known as the place to go in the village if you need prayer,” says Ian.

“Their no-frills, down-to-earth approach has won the hearts and minds of the most stubborn atheists, but most of all the answers to their prayers have brought glory to God.

“Chris and Caroline have found that non-churchgoers find it easier to receive as they don’t come with all the religious baggage and excuses as to why God does not want to meet their need.

“More recently they have hosted evenings where a worship leader has played a mix of contemporary worship songs and secular tunes led from a keyboard whilst church members and visiting Bible college students have mixed and chatted with the locals.

“By the end of each evening pockets of prayer have been evident in all corners and around all the tables in the pub, spiritual gifts have been released and lives changed forever.” [/swpm_protected]

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This article was taken from the October 2019 issue of Direction Magazine.

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This article is from the October 2019 issue of Direction Magazine. Click below to find out more about this issue.