The service is held Sunday evenings at 5 pm and is replayed at 9 pm with Elnes and guests joining in the chat. The service is then repackaged for use as a small group curriculum piece that is made available for download on their website, on youtube, and on vimeo.
It’s called “Darkwood Brew” because of the mystic christian understanding of walking through the dark woods on the path to spiritual enlightenment. It is filmed in a coffee house environment that was constructed at Elnes’ church, Countryside Community Church in Omaha Nebraska.
Here’s how some participants describe Darkwood Brew:
I recently had the opportunity to visit “DWB” in person with some of my United Methodist colleagues. There are six main features to the service:
1. World Class Jazz. They have well known jazz musicians who play and sing in their band. They often have original Jazz music and they have their own theme song.
2. Impressive Skype Guests. Think of a well known progressive Christian author and chances are they’ve been on Darkwood Brew.
3. Conversational Format. The theme for any given Darkwood Brew is used for all of Elnes’ Sunday worship services, but instead of a sermon, DWB invites an expert and they have a conversation with Elnes and the Audience.
4. Chat. People from all over the world log into the Darkwood Brew Chat room to discuss the service. People are greeted and questions and discussion are generated. Once a service, a question from chat is posited to the guest. Some people at the physical location also participate in chat.
5. Pneuma Divina. This is DWB’s version of Lectio Divina where people are able to vote on the verse from the reading that speaks to them the most though an online poll, or by holding up cards in the audience.
6. Entertaining Videos. Youtube videos, highlights from previous services, and original productions are inserted during the service.
DWB is sustained through some incredible donations. They have an advisory committee and have innovative plans in the works to take DWB to the next level.
DWB has is active on Facebook and Twitter, and has an impressive blogging community that is constantly posting new material. They haven’t had a well defined social media strategy but plan on changing that in the near future.