Coffee Shop Ministry: What and Why

They very phrase “Coffee Shop Ministry” sounds weird.  It’s almost like I took a business and thought I could add fulfillment or meaning by ending with the word ministry.  That is not the case, trust me.  If it were, I would have chosen an occupation like “Wall Street Executive Ministry.”

So what does this phrase mean?  Ministry that takes place in, around, and through a Coffee Shop.  After you finish your long and over the top eye roll, allow me to explain how it is so much more and why it matters.


Think back to the last time you were in a coffee shop.  What brought you there?  Were you meeting family or friends? were you studying for a test, completing a project, reading a book, or out on a date?  Regardless of whether or not you even care for the taste of coffee, there is something different about the environment of a coffee shop that brings us together.

Community is fostered.

This is important.

We go to coffee shops to share life, live life, to give life.  Sometimes it is about the coffee.  Enjoying a single-origin Ethiopian Yirgacheffee that your barista has just coaxed a fruit filled flavor that seems to kick your taste buds with goodness, you begin to question whether syrup was added!  Other times coffee is nowhere close to your heart, so far that you cannot fathom why anyone would punish their taste buds with such an unpleasant stout beverage…if you can call it that!  In the end, it becomes more about people than what you are drinking.  It’s about your friend, your barista, your life. You find yourself at a coffee shop.

This is why.

Community forms naturally around most coffee shops.  During my time with Starbucks I picked up on this.  Not just a community of coffee drinkers, but almost a perfect cross section of Humanity.  Every creed, religion, race, sexual-orientation and Political affiliation.  Life happens here.  Why wouldn’t we want to be involved in this community?!

If we, the church want to engage others, share life, and be present in our local communities, we must find where the people are.  In most cases, you can find a coffee shop nearby.  A non-threatening environment full of acceptance.  Not every coffee shop is ideal, but there are people in each shop.


At at the very least, when you are ready to a purchase your drink, remember there is a person staring back at you.  Put the phone down, make eye contact, and share a moment.  Because ministry is about to happen.