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Students worship in a coffee shop

The Gospel Served in Every Cup 

By Mitchell Powers 

According to the National Coffee Association, “7 in 10 Americans drink coffee every week; 62% drink coffee every day. The average American coffee drinker drinks just over 3 cups per day.” [1] In 2020, 47% of Americans said they belonged to a church, synagogue or mosque, down from 50% in 2018 and 70% in 1999. [2] While there has been a drop in church attendance, it seems that there is also a spike in coffee consumption. Some say this is a sign of the ends, but I would argue it is an opportunity to do something different in ministry. 

Ellen G. White said, “Christ’s method alone will give true success in reaching the people. The Saviour mingled with men as one who desired their good. He showed His sympathy for them, ministered to their needs, and won their confidence.” [3] When we look at churches right now, specifically Adventist churches, we see a steep decline in attendance and a drop in membership. 

I think Ellen G. White is right. The Adventist church needs to take a hard look at what it means to ‘mingle with men,’ show sympathy, and minister to their needs. I would argue that a condensed version of Whites writing could be put into a model I have coined. The Socio-Gospel Gathering model. 

This model suggests that to be effective in ministry, we ought to gather where others are naturally gathering, just like how Jesus would gather others during meals, healings, or when telling stories. 

Espresso machine
Coffee to some Adventists is a drug or an addictive substance, and although it can be bad in heavy amounts, in lowered quantiles is not only good for the body but can benefit social and spiritual community when coffee itself is enjoyed in a shop with friends during a Bible study.

This model also suggests in ministry we ought to be preaching the gospel and providing opportunities for people to experience the gospel. This can only be done when leaders truly soak in the gospel and practice it – that is practice a welcoming, loving, and submissive spirit.  

Lastly, the model suggests that we tend to the needs of the community in which we are gathered in. It suggests we be centralized in our communities, able to hear the cries of people, and thus enabled to act swiftly to love those around us.  

The question is, how do we as a church operate this model this effectively? There are several ways, however, one way could be a coffee shop church. To most Adventists this is wildly unacceptable and outrageous suggestion. But people from 18-35 are gathering 7 days a week at coffee shops, not just for coffee, but for community, for a safe atmosphere, and for a place to call home. Churches are perceived as political and unwelcoming, whereas coffee shops are where the homeless and the poor feel they can get relief from the harsh surrounding environments, not churches. 

See Also

What if we had a coffee shop church where six days a week we served coffee, hired workers who were under the poverty line, presented a Jesus-like atmosphere, and hosted groups after closing such as AA, or single-mother scrapbooking groups. What if the coffee shop took all proceeds after operation costs and poured them back into the community? What if we had a coffee shop that made people ask the question, “why are they so loving?” What if the coffee shop closed on Sabbath and held evening worships in the community in their downtown space? 

What if we rethought what it meant to do ministry, followed Jesus’ model, and had a coffee shop where people experienced a love so grand that they spent the rest of their life chasing after it? 

References 

  1. NCA releases Atlas of American Coffee. (2020). National Coffee Association. https://www.ncausa.org/Newsroom/NCA-releases-Atlas-of-American-Coffee  
  1. Jones, J. M. (2021, November 20). U.S. church membership falls below majority for first time. Gallup. https://news.gallup.com/poll/341963/church-membership-falls-below-majority-first-time.aspx  
  1. Ministry of Healing, Ellen G. White PG. 143 

Photos 

  1. Worship in the Atlas. Students gather to worship at The Atlas several times a quarter and find it a place to frequent simply just to chat with friends.  
  1. Photo of the espresso machine. Coffee to some Adventists is a drug or an addictive substance, and although it can be bad in heavy amounts, in lowered quantiles is not only good for the body but can benefit social and spiritual community when coffee itself is enjoyed in a shop with friends during a Bible study. 
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