Tuesday, July 10, 2007

the woman at the well

Our vision for a coffee shop has just been burning in me again...I SOOOOO want to see it get up and running. We are not sure at all about the building we originally looked at - we currently don't have anywhere near enough to sign a lease (although, since the end of April we've raised about $9,000!! That in itself is amazing.), and as of 2 weeks ago when we spoke to the owner there were 2 other people looking at the space. While I was somewhat bummed initially, we really DON'T want to be where God doesn't want us. Maybe that's not the space because we might actually be able to start the coffee business sooner than we thought. Who knows. But one of our leadership team, who is currently a manager at Starbucks, is working on putting together a business plan, and it seems more do-able all the time. That gets me really pumped!! I've also been Googling some coffee stuff and find other churches doing similar things.

One in particular that we went to visit back in January is Ebenezer's - they are the exact, prime example of what we are shooting for. They are owned and operated by National Community Church in Washington, DC and are located right on Capitol Hill. The church is multi-site - they meet not only in the coffeehouse but also hold services at a movie theater in Union Station. The pastor, Mark Batterson, talks about coffeehouses being like modern day 'wells'. In Old and New Testament times, wells were a place where people could meet others and talk. It was a place where people went to get refreshed with water for themselves and their animals. While their animals were drinking they just got off of their feet for a few minutes they would talk with others doing the same. This is how Abraham's servant found a wife for Isaac and how Jacob met his wife.

I notice this to be true every Monday morning when I meet a friend for breakfast at Einstein Bagels (we don't have a Starbucks or ANY coffee shops locally - another thing in our favor, actually!!). Every week we see the same people there - the same employees getting our bagels, the same nice older gentleman who offers to take our empty trays, the same guy that sits by himself with his laptop. We meet there every week to talk and pray. Yep, we pray together right there at Einstein. It's a 'third place' for us. (I plan on doing a separate post explaining what I mean by 'third place'). How awesome would it be to own that place, pray in that place, worship in that place and have the Spirit of God filling it! I really believe in relational evangelism, and I believe that coffeehouses - modern day wells - are a very relevant vehicle to relating to our community.

For those of you who might not know much about Koinonia House, a very large part of our vision is to own a 'secular' coffeehouse (think Starbucks, minus the franchise) that would have a lower level that would serve as our church facility, as well as able to host bands, art showings and be rented out for other events, and also house our offices. (When we (our team) first got the vision for this we had never heard of anything like it. When we heard about Ebenezer's in DC, we HAD to check it out and they are DOING exactly what we envision. And it's working!! So exciting. They've also been very open about sharing information with us and helping with any questions we've had.) I have NO IDEA how this is going to become a reality, other than to say I know that with God, anything is possible!!


Blinddog said...

Have you ever given thought to doing the coffee shop at the local Farmer's Market? The owner still hasn't found one to go in there. They put in a nicer produce stand. I don't know if the baker's stand was there when you visited or not. There is also a catering place there which serves great meals.

Anyway, not to beat a dead horse, but I liked the idea of learning the coffee business at a very small venue like this. Plus it costs less, and is only open a few days a week.

Also, I have always been a big fan of learning from my mistakes at the smallest venue I can find. Once I have know what I am doing, then it is time to move to the "real" venue.

I know, I sound like a broken record...

jessi said...

Actually, Todd, I really hadn't thought about it anymore...figured it was a long gone possibility (assuming the space was filled). I don't know if it would be an option or not...we've started talking with someone who is a potential investor, and Becky has sort of 'spearheaded' the whole deal, now that's she's got experience, so I'll mention it to her also. She's been looking at a lot of the info Ebenezer's gave us and want to try to get down to meet w/their manager also. I'm also trying to find the info you had given me way back - I think it was on a disc, right? So, I guess we'll see where things go from here... Thanks for the heads up that it's still available.