Poker: no good story ever started with Scrabble


I had been at the same church for most of 8.5 years. During that time I went to college, got married, had two kids, and was waiting for another kid to arrive. My wife and I had also reached the conclusion that it was time for us to find a new church.

We walked into Hope one Sunday and knew we’d found our place. We hadn’t really known what we were looking for in a church, but when we found it, we immediately knew it.

Getting to know new people is a little daunting when you’re brand new to a church and surrounded by 800-1,000 people that you don’t know. If that didn’t make connecting with people hard enough, chasing after my twin 11-month-olds made it even worse. Then someone said something about poker.

I only play poker casually a couple times a year, but I was looking to get to know some guys and decided to check out Men of Hope’s Poker Night. I showed up alone at the bachelor pad just outside of downtown Minneapolis. Walking in, I immediately recognized one of the first guys I saw. It turns out he grew up in my hometown in rural northern Wisconsin, graduated with my brother, and his little brother had played Little League with me. This was a good start.

Everyone brought snacks and drinks, and I took a chance on a bottle without a label. Pastor Steve noticed the bottle in my hand, took a look at it, and told me to let him know how it tasted since he wasn’t sure if he liked how it had turned out. Hmm, the pastor home brews? This was definitely going well!

Over the course of the evening, I met seven guys at my poker table who I’d never met before, got bounced from the tournament in the first hour, met a bunch of other guys who got bounced from the tournament as quickly as I did, and stuck around to watch the kid from my hometown win it all.

The poker was fun and the food and drinks were good, but it really wasn’t about any of that. I walked away with a few new names and recognized a lot more faces when I walked into church the next Sunday.

 – Joey White


If you’re newer to Hope and looking to get to know a few guys, come hang out with us on Friday, February 22nd for Poker Night 2013! You can sign up at the City. We’ll have the Hope bus running from the U of M for any students who need a lift. The tournament is $10 for students, $20 for everyone else, and all proceeds benefiting Breaking Free. They’re a great Minnesota non-profit working to help women and girls escape sex trafficking and prostitution.

And if you’ve been around Hope for a while and already know a lot of people, come introduce yourself to a few more. Whether you’re part of a weekly poker group or don’t have a clue what a blind or a river are, we’d love to see you come and get plugged in. We’ll have plenty of tables for poker and a whole basement with a TV, pool table, and more for the guys who get bounced early.

Because no guy should be trying to hack church on his own.

2 thoughts on “Poker: no good story ever started with Scrabble

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