A single mom named Michelle put the following quote on the church coffee shop debate post from a couple of weeks ago. It is a powerful comment. When I wrote the post I asserted that I am not entirely sure the church coffee shop is a bad idea. This comment still does not entirely convince me but it is chock full of sometimes unintentional but profound reflection on the modern, felt-needs-meeting, semi-narcissistic church.
I have to say that this issue “hit” me yesterday, Sunday morning, before I started looking online here for other comments. I just started attending a church and they do have a coffee cafe. For the past couple of months, I have only been going on Wednesday nights, but have decided to go on Sunday morning also, recently. I got up early and went, and as soon as I opened the lobby doors, I smelled a great coffee aroma.
Here’s my argument: I’m a recently,single mother and I’m financially “broke”. I smelled the coffee and it felt warm and inviting. I went up to the cafe counter and asked if they have any free coffee ( I was hoping for an urn filled with some generic coffee that I could drop a couple of coins in for a donation). The lady said, “no”. So I walked away saddened, and that warm and inviting feeling ‘went away’.
So, you have all these people around you with a cup of coffee, but you can’t have one because you can’t afford it. I’m telling you I didn’t make it into the sanctuary that morning because I couldn’t get past the whole coffee concept. I sat outside the sanctuary in a chair for about 1/2 hr., then decided to leave and go back home.
I’m telling you. They could buy a large container of generic coffee to put in an urn still and just take donations, if necessary. And they would probably come ahead financially.
So why put something “out there” that is going to distract people, before they get to the sanctuary – something like this? Oh, so I’m not solid in my faith, you may ask, for something like this to bother me??? Well actually, “no, I’m not”, but I am striving. But why shall there be “brick walls” that are tempting and have to do with money when I enter the church? How come I simply can’t throw a coin in the basket next to the coffee urn to have a simple cup of coffee. Why is it there and I have to walk past it, feeling broke because I am broke.
This all just sounds about money.
Michelle – thanks for sharing your story. May it teach us all, whether we have a narthex coffee shop or not to be sensitive to where people are at. May it also teach us that the church is not about brewing coffee but about delivering the forgiveness of sins. Thank you for making the effort to tell your story and to share your experience in the narthex coffee shop. It has helped us all to continue to think through these important matters.
Let’s hear from our other readers what you think of this matter and of this lady’s experience.