When’s a Coffeehouse Not a Coffeehouse?

When it’s the newest idea in churches. Just in time for your Sunday morning, the Grand Rapids Press reported on a new church which calls its Sunday meetings Café Re-Fresh, based on its meeting style and a verse from the Bible about early believers being “refreshed”. It also refers to the laid-back style around tables with coffee cups in hand as church attendees listen to the sermon. Intended to attract those who are put off by traditional churches with formalities such as pews and choirs in robes, Café Re-Fresh instead opts for the casual look of pub tables and a coffee bar. Besides the safe, friendly, warm atmosphere, the church, called Morning Star, is Bible-based with members who are serious about their faith. They just want visitors to feel comfortable and welcomed with a sense of belonging. The coffee seems to be an important element in the welcoming atmosphere, as the coffeehouse is seen as a non-threatening environment like a bar or restaurant. Besides the coffee, church-goers are likely to have a pastry with their coffee. It’s not unusual for churches to serve coffee and pastries, donuts and other treats, but these usually are available AFTER the service, not during. At Morning Star, the smell of coffee brewing greets the parishioners as they enter the building, not as they exit a sanctuary on the way to the fellowship hall. It seems like a good solution to the problem of having to catch a quick breakfast on the way to services, or passing through a drive-through to pick up coffees and donuts on the way to church. This is a common scenario for many an early Sunday morning churchgoer in less casual church environments. The question arises: will this catch on and spread to other churches? Will the love of coffee draw more members? It’s an interesting development – after all, there’s nothing so welcoming and uplifting as the smell of coffee brewing. Not only will attendees start the morning feeling refreshed, but they should have no trouble staying awake during the sermon. And that’s something many a pastor and board member can get excited about.

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