It’s Not About the Coffee
close up of coffee cup on table
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It’s Not About the Coffee

Free black coffee image

I go to a big church. Some would even call it a mega church. It has a café with a big cappuccino machine where volunteer baristas can make all kinds of delicious, caffeinated delights. My favorite is a Hazelnut Latte. I will stand in line to order, and then wait for my latte, even if it means I’m late for the worship service. I don’t slip in the back, either. I saunter down the main aisle, in front of hundreds of worshipers, right up to the front where my husband and friends are already sitting, lovingly cradling my cup in one hand while I lift my other hand in praise. It’s not Sunday until I have my latte.

Why do churches even have coffee bars? Are we that addicted to caffeine? Is it a status thing? My church is cooler than your church because we make fancy lattes? Is it a sneaky way for the church to wring a couple more dollars out of our pockets, above and beyond passing the offering basket? Maybe there is another way to look at it.

Maybe it’s not about the coffee. Maybe it’s about connection.

My church works hard at creating spaces that offer connection, and the café is only one of many spaces in our building that serve as a connection point for people. My husband and I are in the habit of grabbing a big table after the service so we can enjoy some coffee with our friends and get caught up on their lives. I can’t count the number of times I’ve made plans to meet up with someone at the fireplace in the café. Because of course there is a huge fireplace in the café – why wouldn’t there be?  

barista preparing coffee restaurant espresso machine
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My friend’s kid is a volunteer barista at the church café. I’ve been to their house. He has benefitted from an occasional meal or batch of cookies I dropped off to his family when my friend was ill, so maybe I’m more memorable to him than the others in the coffee line. I’ve been ordering the same hazelnut latte for years, but he is the first one who ever remembered my order.

Here’s why that matters:

  • When he remembers my name and my coffee order, I feel like I matter.
  • If I matter to the volunteer barista, I remember that I matter to God.
  • My heart is now ready to hear from God when I finally enter the service halfway through the second song.

If my friend’s kid isn’t there, I’ll still get my latte, I’ll still go into the service, and I might even still hear from God. But when he shows up to volunteer and sees me in line and starts writing my order on the side of the cup before I even speak, it reminds me God always shows up, and remembers me, and what I need that day matters to him. It also reminds me that it matters when I show up for my ministry volunteer commitments. When someone feels seen and valued by me, they remember that God sees and values them.

We are all looking for connection – it’s part of our DNA.

I believe God wants to have a meaningful connection with each one of us, and sometimes that starts with a meaningful connection with another person. Connection can happen anywhere – the trick is to recognize opportunities when they present themselves.  

Who are you connecting with lately?

Someone is showing up for you. Telling them they make your day better would probably be a big encouragement to them. Who are you showing up for? You probably make a big difference in their life, even if they don’t know how to express that. So, let’s keep doing that. Let’s keep showing up for one another. Let’s create and protect safe spaces for authentic connections.

You are thinking about that space right now, aren’t you?

Awesome. Go connect!

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