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Ministry: In Detail

When working at Starbucks, as I’ve stated before, I witnessed a diverse community that gathered under one roof.  It seems to be the most diverse place I’ve ever been.  I believe this is why ministry in coffee shops is so vital to the future of the church.  I don’t believe I adequately answered what Coffee Shop ministry looks like, so let me show you some examples.

Let us start with the understanding that their are two points of ministry at coffee shops; behind the counter and in the cafe.  As a Barista, I never dreamed that I would find myself involved with ministry while making coffee.  I don’t know how many times we would find ourselves mid-rush and mid-discussion.  Sometimes our topics would simple, like a new concoction of syrups to add to our coffee, the latest video game that you had to try, the best new release in theaters, or ‘what in the world did that person just order, is it even legal?!’  But more often than not, we would find ourselves waste deep in life.

Some will argue that you can find good conversation at any workplace.  I have found a deeper level at coffee shops.  Maybe its the close space in which we work, the smaller staff to familiarize yourself with, or maybe it is the environment that we work in.  Coffee shops are places of intimate space.  We find the quick responses to why one missed a shift, how school is going, and ‘what’s up?’ are expanded to shift long conversations.  Sometimes we parry ideas, bridge question to meaning, and other times we are just present.

Listening.

Maybe even a shoulder to cry on or another to hug.

I’ve played part of counselor, friend, and pastor.  I’ve discussed what I believe develops successful marriages and relationships, all matters of theology, homosexuality, politics, and life struggles and victories.  All these conversations were discussed in an open dialogue that allowed me to share my beliefs without their being judgment.

Then there is the cafe side of ministry.  This can be to, with or as customers in the coffee shop.

Most of my early ministry at coffee shops, I was apart of a few bible studies that met regularly.  We found the environment to be right for open discussion as well as a pick me up in the early morning.  I thought this was the extent of ministry in the shop (on the customer side), until I arrived at Sweet Surrender.

As a cafe owner/operator:  You need to be invested and involved in your local community/city.  Outreach programs, cleanups, game nights, movie nights, book clubs, presentations from non-profits, workshops on resume building, homeless and lower income initiatives.  Whatever you can to get your customers involved.  Whatever you can do to be present in another persons life.  Whatever you can do to open the door to conversation.

As a customer: You need to take what you love to the coffee shop.  You like to knit, read, edit pictures, play games, hang out, plan stuff, organize events, pray, or breathe.  Take it to the shop.  It is amazing what happens when you live life in the public.  Sure it is not always quiet, not always the best alone time, but you open yourself up to community.  You would be amazed at how many other people are interested in the same thing you are…and how much you have in common with others!

Think about it.  Any and Everything can be ministry.  Get out there and share life with others.  That is what it is all about.  Why not search in the most diverse gathering point you can find?

 

 

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