Foxworthy post boosts Murrysville church, beer distributor

| Wednesday, July 9, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

God, so the adage goes, works in mysterious ways.

Anyone who drives along Route 22 in Murrysville or follows Jeff Foxworthy's Facebook page might tell you God also works in humorous ways.

On June 30, Foxworthy — he of the “you might be a redneck” punchline — shared a photo of the combined sign for Word & Worship Church and Beer Arena in Murrysville and asked people to share their funniest captions. More than 9,500 people had responded as of Tuesday, and Foxworthy singled out responses such as “higher power above drinking too,” “drink while you pray,” “after a hard day of knockin old Satan upside the head, you might wanna knock back a few cold ones” and “between Heaven and hell” as being among his favorites.

Rick Paladin, lead pastor for Word & Worship, said it didn't take long for him to find out about the free publicity.

The photo was posted to Foxworthy's Facebook page around 2 p.m., and by 2:30, someone from California had called Paladin to tell him about the photo.

Paladin said church members were “pretty amped” about the social-media share. During their staff meeting that evening, they read comments and provided some humorous captions of their own.

“There's enough serious stuff that happens in the world,” Paladin said. “We thought it was hilarious.”

As as result of the post, the church saw a spike of hundreds of hits to its website. Paladin said it's the best thing that's ever happened to Word & Worship, which moved to its current location in March 2013.

Beer Arena owner Mike Kustra agreed. He said Beer Arena has been at that location since 1990. An employee told him about the photo the day it had been posted. By 5 p.m., the photo already had thousands of likes and comments. Kustra said he was up until about 1:30 in the morning reading comments.

“It was interesting seeing people as far away as Alaska commenting on the photo” he said.

Kustra is grateful for the publicity and said his first customers the next day mentioned the photo to him. He also said that sales were up since Foxworthy's post.

Foxworthy wasn't available for comment, but his brother, Jay, said people submit several photos every day and that Foxworthy shares his favorites.

As of Tuesday, the Murrysville photo had more than 16,500 “likes” and more than 3,900 reshares.

Foxworthy introduced the photo with, “If you stop here before Sunday service …” Although Paladin also is grateful for the publicity and invites everyone to stop, he said he would finish that sentence with “they still don't serve alcohol.”

Dave Rullo is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.

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