Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Musings on the Modern Church. Pt 2

part one here.


Guys.  the United States Barista Championships have officially begun.
Because there is such a thing.

I absolutely love the specialty coffee world.  I recently subscribed to The Barista Hustle and can't get over the paradoxical depth and simplicity of the article on Coffee Extraction.  I enjoy cuppings, brewing with a sock pot, and drinking espresso on Tuesday, because it's at its prime post-roast date.  And at Surfers Coffee Bar, there's a good handful of staff who are equally enthralled at coffee nerdery.

But here's the hole: we're a shop in Wahiawa.  A former pineapple plantation town.  A military town.  A local's town, with Asian quick cuisine and "we like the way things are."  Nobody knows where to park, nobody wants to park where there IS free parking.  Shall I throw out more random facts?  Nearest specialty shop is 20 miles away.  Nearest busiest coffee shop is McDonald's.  Maybe Starbucks.  Or 7-11.  Whatever.

Surfers has come to this understanding that as much as we want to push specialty coffee, we cannot, because it will not fly.  If I start talking about the intricacies of growing and brewing coffee, I will lose my customers.  They don't care, 90% of them take their coffee with cream and sugar.  And that is absolutely okay.

So here is what we do: we provide specialty coffee.  It's on our menu, and we proudly display the numerous brewing methods they can choose from, and offer a selection of international coffees through Stumptown.  But we've accepted where we are, and we also offer syrups, and whipped cream, and seasonal drinks like Bacon Mocha or Black Widow.  We'll create our drinks to the best of our ability, and the customer can enjoy it with cream and sugar if they want.  And when we've made friends of our regulars, we have an easier time talking to them about the honesty of Stumptown's company, about tasting notes in our espresso, about a traditional coffee that they should try sometime.

I've thought about how the Modern Church parallels to my specialty coffee conundrum numerous times.  It's absolutely vital that those behind the modern church are solid in their theology, and are able to defend their faith as effortlessly as a barista swings out a beehouse and brews pourover-style.  I know people shy away from coffee when I throw out chemistry words.  I know people shy away from the church when we spill out our theology.

"My espresso parameters are 19.5 - 28 - 32" may not have the same weight to you, just as, the phrases of "soul-winning" or "accept Jesus as your personal savior" may not have relevance to the modern youth.

I would tell people that at Surfers Coffee Bar, "The well-crafted drinks might bring them here, but the kindness keeps them here."  Similarly, the church as a whole could use frou-frou smoke machines, or even their mile-long booklist of dead philosophers to reel people in.  But the kindness, the connections, the relationship between humankind and with the Godhead - these are the things that keep people coming back.

And sometimes our customers keep coming back, and we get them to try a latte sans-syrup.  Then a cappuccino.  Then a short americano.  Then espresso.
And sometimes they don't get to the espresso, but they leave knowing they have invested in a place where they were also invested into.

And sometimes people keep coming back to the church, and we get them to join a prayer session or small group.  Then they reveal their talents.  And we plug them in.  And we mentor them, and grow with them, and watch them turn from student to teacher.
And sometimes they take a lot longer to get there, maybe they leave, but they leave knowing they have made friends.

(And then friends go out and have bible studies in coffee shops like Surfers.  And the cycle continues.)


Weirdly enough, this post got reverted to a draft and I can't remember my closing statements.
I suppose we'll have to go for part three....


currently watching: "History Channel's Guide to the Presidents"
currently listening: Kwabs, Perfect Ruin

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