But why a coffee shop?
“Why a coffee shop?” It’s the number one question we are asked about Bare Bulb Coffee, a new community of faith that operates in and as a coffee shop in Warner Robins, GA. Here are a few of the reasons we chose to reimagine church in this way:
- People like coffee shops. In many communities, the local coffee shop functions as a neighborhood living room. Casual, relaxed, furnished to make lingering conversations comfortable, coffee shops are natural gathering places.
- On Sunday mornings, when there is plenty of room in neighboring church sanctuaries, our coffee shop welcomes a steady stream of customers – but with this slow, gentle vibe that is wholly different from the Monday – Friday get-me-going frenzy.
- Coffee shops naturally develop a community of regulars. The barista becomes a familiar and trusted person in the customer’s daily routine. A good one starts making your drink when she sees you in the parking lot. Being known is something we all crave, and knowing how someone takes his coffee is both intimate and non-threatening.
- Most of the transforming conversations we witness in the gospels happened over meals, along the road, in a field, or at a well. Jesus went to the Temple and he taught there, but those moments were largely about converting the faithful to lives of real, rather than imagined, holiness. And he was largely ignored. The moments of genuine connection happened in the midst of regular life when a crushingly vulnerable person confronted Jesus with a right-now, life or death, real question with immediate implications. We are tired of church debates. We are tired of pretending to have it all together. We just want to be where people are – where they aren’t working with the assumption that they need to have it all together. We want to be light and grace and a soft place to land in the middle of someone’s broken and busy day.
We are not “that church that meets in a coffee shop.” Our coffee shop is not an accessory, or a way to be hip in the world, or just the place we meet. Rather, it is our primary way of serving the community together. It is not where we are but how we are following Jesus Christ in our world.
We are not a “Christian Coffee Shop.” We are a community of Christ followers who shed light over lattes and who welcome busy and broken people with a hospitality that says, “We want to know you and we want you to know us.” You don’t have to be a Christian to enjoy our community. You are welcome here exactly as you are. Bring your beliefs and your doubts with you. There is room at our table for all.