God has set up shop where you live. The doors are open and the coffee is brewing Leonard Sweet, The Gospel According to Starbucks
With the proliferation of cafs in society as safe gathering places, Caf churches are gaining in popularity. Whether youre looking to create a new informal service as either an addition to or bridge to church as you know it, create a fresh expression of church to engage with those who dont come to your church or set up a caf in the high street for mission, outreach or a place for church there are some common principles to help start and sustain your cafe church.
Passion Have a passion for cafs and church: Offer church in caf culture. Caf + Church = Caf Church - for cafe church to succeed put as much effort into creating cafe as creating church. Even if you meet in a church building have a mindset that youre setting up church in a caf rather than caf in a church. Gather a team that shares your passion.
People People go to cafs and coffee shops for three key reasons:
- The product; people want to drink good coffee
- The place; they can come and go as they like (its a fluid place to be)
- The pursuit; they go to enjoy good conversations with friends and family.
Product Drink more coffee - spend time in coffee shops, see how they do things, what can you learn from their context? Drink good coffee - serve the best you can, make it fair-trade but dont compromise on quality. No instant coffee!
Place Make it a caf destination - ambience, dress tables, banners, signs, papers, space to relax etc Open half an hour before your event. Make your event a pastime not a programme. Promote a come as you are approach - welcome, relaxed, wallpaper music, play space, meet and pray space.
Pursuit Coffee talk makes good God talk. Promote conversations over presentations - speaking to friends is more important than what a speaker from the front or centre has to say. Use tables as much as possible; to talk around, to promote conversation and activity. Make it fluid not static - bitesize offerings, allow movement, adapt and evolve. Be creative - prayer waiters, discussion starters on tables, menus, quizzes, language. Use local talent - musicians, poets, storytellers etc. Have fun!
Pray Pray as a team - make space to do so before the event. Create opportunity for prayer and response during your event. Always be prepared to give an answer for the hope that is in you.
- Books - Leonard Sweets The Gospel According to Starbucks is an essential read. More about why than how this nevertheless helps you think through what youre doing and why caf culture and church fit together so well. He has a series of helpful discussion questions in each section for your cafe church team to work through too. See more on it here.
- www.cafechurch.net This is the most off the shelf solution; Caf church can be run in Costa; heres a network that you can become part of and tap into their resources.
- www.cafechurch.org Cafechurch is an open, welcoming Christian community in Melbourne; an emerging church, a friendly inn, a place where fellow travellers meet, compare stories about the road ahead, and get the good food and drink they need to continue along The Way.
- Liverpool Cathedrals approach to caf church here
- www.table-talk.org Table Talk works really well in a caf church setting. There are questions for a wide variety of settings and people.
- Coffee and Tea. Fairtrade coffees and teas and hot chocolate. There are even fair-trade filter coffee bags for those starting out who cant afford a filter coffee machine or want the occasional filter decaf to be available. Some options here
- https://qi-teas.com The best fair-trade teas around; especially good for greens and speciality teas. Note Sainsburys Taste the Difference Fair-trade Teas offer especially good black teas especially good for: Assam, Darjeeling, Ceylon, Earl Grey and even English Breakfast.
- www.clipper-teas.com Fair-trade teas. Clippers Everyday Tea is a good alternative to Sainsburys English Breakfast. Theres a range of infusions; Redbush and Peppermint are particularly good.
David Cundill, Fresh Expressions Enabler