Confessions of a Coffee House Evangelist

If I ever stopped drinking coffee I would have to completely rebrand myself. From my blog title to my Twitter updates, coffee is an ever present theme in my life. Ironically, in the providence of God, I have the opportunity to preach the gospel in a coffee shop every week.

Three things I love about preaching in a coffee house:

1.) Preaching in a public setting provides random contacts with people who wouldn’t go to a typical church.

We get to meet a lot of people who wander into the coffee house, since it stays open for business during our worship service. While there are some disadvantages, like the noise generated from the blender while they make iced drinks, I love the interaction with the customers.

2.) Preaching in a public setting keeps you from being preachy.

When you have customers either walking through during our Bible study, sitting and listening in, or even just leaning at the counter trying to figure out what we are doing…it is impossible to “preach to the choir” in a context like this. I once had a young man who was in the back of the coffee shop working at a computer stand up and begin walking towards me as I discussed the fundamental flaws of a naturalistic worldview. At first he seemed potentially aggressive, but later appeared interested. At one point I looked down to read a Bible passage and when I looked back up he had walked out the back. I’ve never been accused of being overly stuffy or academic in my presentation style, but if it were a problem it would certainly be knocked out of me in this context.

3.) Last, and probably least, I get to drink coffee while I preach.

Sometimes I ask questions to initiate dialogue with the audience. Sometimes I ask questions to provide a brief interlude to take a sip of my cappuccino. All kidding aside, there is something fundamental to the idea of food and fellowship. Something magical happens as we sit in a relaxed setting with beverages in hand. The New Testament calls it fellowship. Every Thursday evening we get a foretaste of an eschatological fellowship and a future meal. This public context prevents some of the formalities that often inhibit authentic fellowship.