I’ve had many a conversation with
- church planters who want to start a coffee house
- church members who want to start a coffee house ministry
- church members who want to run a coffee shop
- churches who want to deal Fair Trade Coffee (such as Beyond Beans) for their gatherings.
- building committees that dream a coffee house in their church.
The Coffee Shop for the Bible Study
What drives many of these visions is the idea of a social gathering spot for informal evangelism, or a setting for evangelistic bible studies.
It’s considered a vision for evangelism that often sounds like this:
“Let’s build a coffee house and THEN we’ll do evangelism bible studies.”
I think that’s backwards.
The Bible Study for the Coffee Shop
Don’t build or design a coffee house.
Use the one in your neighborhood!
Ten Reasons to use a local cafe for your evangelistic bible study:
- No Capital Outlay — No need to design special space in your building, or purchase/renovate an existing building
- Supports local economy — Local business owners are supported when you meet in their store.
- Get out of the church — Cafe’s are a neutral space.
- No clean up — No coffee pots to clean or grinds to dispose of.
- Good coffee — I can’t tell you how many cups of burnt coffee or colored water I’ve drunk at church.
- Public space — Regular meetings may produce curiosity and people self-introducing themselves and connecting.
- Start tomorrow — no need to design, dream, spend lots of money. You can focus on gathering people and building relationships now instead of when its ready.
- Low Cost — the infrastructure exists at the coffee shop, freeing you to meet people instead of paying for building plans, inspections, materials, and supplies.
- No volunteer recruitment — you don’t have to recruit more overworked volunteers from your church to support the work.
- Put your efforts into building relationships, not business — a coffee house is a business.
One pastor wrote an article about moving his bible study to Borders: No Borders at Borders (Article removed from internet)
Other coffee house ideas:
- In They like Jesus, but not the Church, Pastor Dan Kimball wrote about getting himself out of the church office and setting up a secondary office in the Cafe. He speaks of many evangelistic conversations.
- Another church simply opens their doors on Monday morning giving away free coffee.
- I used to go to the same Starbucks every Sunday morning prior to church. I got to know every staff person and every regular Sunday morning visitor. I had the opportunity to pray with and for nearly everyone.
Now this doesn’t mean you can’t start your own coffee house, but don’t avoid doing evangelism while waiting for a building to finish. Get out there and build a group in the local cafe while you are waiting.
Let me ask you this?
- Where are your evangelism bible studies held?
- Homes, Church, neighborhood coffee shops?
- Does your church dream about a coffee house ministry?
- Do you have the people meeting already, or are you waiting for the space first to build a group?