Frequent readers of JeremyNortonBlog.com know of my love for a small town coffee shop in Alaska.
There’s a road on the Kenai Peninsula that connects the communities of Soldotna and Kenai, named Kalifornsky Beach Road. Locally, this road is simply known as simply K-Beach. On K-Beach is a coffee shop named Small Town Coffee Roasters. Locally, known simply as Coffee Roasters.
In small communities, coffee shops like this one become the hub for relationships. Though, the shops may look very different. Depending on the geographical location of the community, it might be in a diner or bakery, a donut shop or espresso bar. Nevertheless, most small communities revolve in and around these typically, locally owned establishments.
So much of my ministry in Alaska happened in this coffee shop. From the first cup of coffee on my first day of candidation, through 4 years of devotional times, writing, meetings, discipleship and mentorship opportunities. Right up until my visit this past October; where the owner, Micah was waiting outside my car door with a hot mug of drip.
Throughout my time in Alaska, I came to an understanding about people, that has changed how I think, interact in a community and do ministry. The crux of my realisation is that coffee shops in Western culture are like the wells of ancient days gone by.
In Biblical times, the temple was where people went to meet God, but the community well was the hub of relational interaction. Though we as Christians, want our church buildings to be the hubs of life and relationship, they’re not; not for the community anyway.
Sure, we do lots of church stuff in these buildings, but if we want to connect with the world around us, we have to admit that there is nothing in the church building that people physically need.
Coffee however, rightly or wrongly, has become a physical necessity in Western society. Due to this physical need, coffee shops have become the community hubs that churches will never attain. My observation is that in small communities, this is especially true.
Small town coffee shops and diners seem to be the heart, pumping life throughout the community.
How has a particular coffee shop impacted your life and/or ministry?
Photo Credit: Facebook.com/CRoasters/Photos_Stream