Yesterday, sitting at Starbucks and working on sermons for this Saturday and beyond, a thought came to me. I know this may not be realistic, especially since I’m ignorant when it comes to the logistics of the big turn wheel we call the UMC, but I thought it was fun.
It seems like all the extension ministries deal with campsites (again, this may reveal my ignorance of the UMC). But I feel those extension ministries really only benefit churches and the already church-goers.
I was thinking, how cool would it be if an annual conference or district decided to experiment and build/buy a coffee shop as an extension ministry, extending ministry to the non-churched or nominally religious.
I don’t think it would be necessary to have the coffee shop overtly Christian. So it couldn’t be named like UMC Coffee House or UMC (C for Coffee). But something like Common Grounds or One Cup or something else cheezy like that.
It would provide a place for people to just hang out. And each night of the week (minus Sunday) would offer ministry opportunities and/or fellowship opportunities.
Like Mondays could be a meeting place for an Anon. group.
Tuesdays could be bible studies and/or small group fellowship for singles, (maybe males on Tuesday and females on Wednesday) and how sometimes it’s just hard to be single and how lonesome it can get when everyone else around you is pairing up.
Thursdays, I don’t know… could be a night where people gather and talk about religion and politics and how one influences the other, and how one SHOULD influence the other.
And Fridays could be live music (and it doesn’t have to be Chrisitan music) and Saturdays would be the worship service.
Of course, the place would have to be big enough (or two stories) where people who don’t want to be a part of any of these things can still come and enjoy coffee. (And doubly of course, the coffee would have to be real good).
I’d go and spend a lot of time there. I’d probably also meet up with parishioners and youth members at this place.
This thought came to me as I was reading Alan Hirsch’s Forgotten Ways. In it he writes, quoting Edward de Bono, “patients generally prefer the doctor to use the known cure rather than seek to design a better on. Yet there may be much better cures to be found. He rightly asks how we are ever to find a better cure if at each critical moment we always opt for the traditional treatment.” (emphasis mine). His church actually experimented with purchasing a coffee shop, which is where the idea originated.
Or maybe, instead of pursuing ordination, I should muster, borrow, steal (joking.. kinda) money to open up a coffee shop of my own and pursue ministry in this way. The good thing about that is no more complaints from parishioners. But what’s worse? A customer’s complaint or a parishioner’s complaint?