Over the past few months, I’ve seen several pieces written about the obscenity of a coffee bar in a church. I’ve heard a few people in our community, who belong to other churches, talk about their dislike of such coffee bars…and those kind of churches! One lady exclaimed, “You ought to eat before you come to church!” (What do we do with the Lord’s Supper?)
People liking coffee is certainly not new! Serving coffee at church is not anything new. I remember “Brotherhood Breakfast” when the men of the church would gather early and fry bacon and make biscuits and have a chance to catch up with one another; they washed down the food and conversation with COFFEE. I suppose some churches still have a brotherhood group who do this from time to time; however, what I think is currently more common are churches who make room for a coffee bar.
Last year, my church created a space for a coffee station just off the Welcome Center. It’s located where people come in and out of the church. It’s a natural congregating spot and a sort of intersecting junction for making your way to the sanctuary or children’s wing and fellowship hall. I can say without a doubt that my church has benefited from a coffee bar! Let me tell you why:
First of all, what we see on a weekly basis are people gathering at the coffee bar. Guess what happens when people gather? They talk. They share. They tell you about things that are happening in their life. As a result, there is a ton of ministry that happens at the coffee bar. People engage one another and many times ask for prayer about a relationship, a sickness, a loss of a job or a financial need.
Also, we have created an opportunity to put people in a service role that doesn’t take but a few minutes of their time. Make the coffee, put out the cups, shake a few hands and wear a smile. It’s a meaningful job at the church where a little investment goes a long way in putting a face on FBC Vernon and making guests feel welcome. It doesn’t take years of training to do the job but it makes a big difference at our church.
In addition, the coffee bar is a good place to get information about the church such as the location of the nursery or the restrooms. Also, you can find out where a small group or Sunday Class meets and shake hands with the pastor (I like coffee too).
I often hear from our congregation about how they love the worship service that they attend; whether the 9am traditional or 11am contemporary. They tell me that they experience Jesus during the service. Myself and the other people who lead in worship want people to meet with Jesus during our services. Our goal and the focus of the time in the sanctuary is Jesus, Jesus, Jesus. We want people’s lives to be changed because of Jesus. But, who are we to tell Jesus that he is only allowed to meet with people in the sanctuary? What we see quite often is someone’s life changed because Jesus was waiting for them at the coffee bar. He was in the smile, the handshake, the encouraging word, the prayer, the “let me get your number and I’ll call you this week”.
Does your church need a coffee bar? Maybe not. Maybe your church is not “that kind of church.” Maybe you minister to people through other avenues. Fantastic! Keep it up! We’re going to keep serving coffee and using those cups of brew as ministry opportunities. If anyone tells you that serving coffee is not in the Bible, just tell them “Hebrews.” God bless!
**Special thanks to our Properties Committee and Tony McDonald who gave vehicle to the vision of our church coffee bar! Let’s make much of Jesus!