Local Pastor Takes His Ministry to the Pub and the Radio
Writer / Suzanne Huntzinger
Photographer / Amy Payne
Local Pastor, Daron Earlewine, has a passion for spreading the word of God, and these days he’s finding more creative ways to share it. God is at church, the office, the mall, the car and now Earlewine is helping people find God in the most unlikely of places — the pub.
Pub Theology is a ministry that Earlewine leads on the first Thursday of every month at a local pub. He started Pub Theology part time in 2009, then he left his Pastorship at East 91st Street Christian Church to do the ministry full-time in 2012. Since graduating college from Indiana Wesleyan University, he’d been a Pastor at Trinity Wesleyan, then started his own church, The Crux where he stayed until moving on to East 91st Street Christian Church.
The providential path to starting Pub Theology, deemed as “Indy’s best party with a purpose,” was loaded with twists and turns. It all started with music. A man of many talents, Earlewine plays in a band. One might expect his band to play hits from such Christian Rock chart-toppers as Chris Tomlin, Mercy Me or Danny Gokey. But if you show up to the pub where Earlewine’s band is playing, you better come prepared to hear songs from a different religion and discipline.
“We play mainstream classic rock like Petty, Prince and the Foo Fighters,” he says.
Occasionally, Earlewine’s band was booked as the entertainment for the night at the pub. Thirsty for a way to reach people who are looking to connect with their faith, Earlewine suggested to the manager to have a charity night once a month. The idea was to take a moment between songs or between sets and present a “sermon” which would be designed to reach those who are open to discovering or re-discovering their faith. The idea caught on, and Pub Theology was a big hit.
“I speak about helping people find peace, purpose and passion in this life and the next,” Earlewine says. He decided to add a twist to the event to encourage more people to become involved. “We offered a Q-and-A session where people could text us their questions, and we’d answer them and talk through it on stage. It really got people to open up.”
These days, around 50 to 100 guests show up for Pub Theology. The program kicks off around 8 p.m. and incorporates an interview with a featured guest and story of the night.
“Just like Jesus hung out and listened to people in the everyday places and spaces of life, we’re hoping to stir your soul by sharing this experience of faith in a casual setting. It gives people a chance to talk, hang out and build relationships,” Earlewine says.
The band kicks off the party around 9:30. Sometimes a silent auction is held, and guests are asked to make charitable donations to the cause of the evening.
“So far, we’ve raised over $200,000 for local causes and charities. One night, we raised money for an accident victim,” Earlewine says.
Dave Smiley of the 99.5 WZPL morning show became friends with the Pub Pastor, and soon, Earlewine began doing Therapy Thursdays on the show. With co-hosts Ryan Ahlwardt and Lisa Graft, he hosted the session for four years.
“People commented on Twitter and Facebook about how the show impacted them,” he says.
Therapy Thursdays paved the way for Radio Theology starting in October 2016. Like Pub Theology, Earlewine uses his format to help listeners who struggle to find their passion and purpose in life.
“If God is for you, who can be against?” Earlewine says. It’s working, because his ratings for the show are a phenomenal 50 to 100,000 listeners every show getting their weekly dose of faith, hope, love and music.
“Some are in a place where they’re searching and curious about their faith,” he says. “Others are just looking for a way to make their conversation with God informative and fun, not stuffy. Tune in. It could become your favorite radio show that inspires you.”
Pub and Radio Theology have both evolved, opening the door to even more formats for Earlewine to share his message. Earlewine started Born to Be, a Podcast show where he interviews a guest about an experience that tested their faith. During the show, Earlewine and the guest discuss how the experience led to finding God’s grace.
“One listener in Cincinnati shared how listening to the podcast helped her get through the difficult time she experienced following cochlear implant surgery. Whether it’s fear, bitterness, or resentment, we want to help you get through that and choose hope and forgiveness,” he says.
Earlewine also hosts a workshop called Spiritual DNA. The workshop centers around finding the true purpose and spirit God gave each person for this life.
“I often believe God created you on purpose for a purpose Earlewine says. “Your unique personality gives you a passion, and God created you to find the path to it.”
The first things that come to mind for most people when they hear passion and purpose are marriage, family, career and friends, but there’s so much more in store.
“You find your purpose when you understand that God is love,” he adds. “When you connect with that, you’ll know the love of the creator that made you in the first place. You’ll learn how to love him and others.”
Earlewine’s podcasts can be found on iTunes and subscribers to the channel can log on to see the thought of the day and access a portion of the latest show every day.
Whether you prefer to be inspired in person or while listening to the radio, Pastor Daron invites you to join in. Pub Theology will be held the first Thursday of every month through May at Broad Ripple Tavern, 745 Broad Ripple Avenue, Indianapolis. Starting in June and going through August, Pub Theology moves to Wolfies on Geist, 11699 Fall Creek Rd., Indianapolis. Radio Theology airs Sunday mornings on 99.5 WZPL 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. Go to pubtheology.com or daronearlewine.com to download the podcasts. Get the latest updates on events on Pub Theology Indy Facebook page.