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Go Therefore and Coffee!

May 3, 2023

By Derek Handley

Midweek Musings is a weekly Covenant blog with a variety of authors and a variety of topics.

I like coffee.

Like a lot.

Coffee is _________ :

a delicious beverage.

a (especially since becoming a parent) lifeline.

a perfect balance of bold, smooth, and fruity flavors all at once.

a pick-me-up at midday.

a (ironically) calm, warm presence.

an excuse to catch up with a friend.

a late-night study partner.

I could maybe fill an entire blog with fill-in-the-blanks for coffee.

Coffee and church go pretty hand in hand. Some churches stray from the norm and call that hour between services "Fellowship Hour," but we all know what it's really called.

And for the sake of Interfaith dialogue, Muslims were the ones who brought coffee to Europe.

Seriously though, coffee binds us.

At Coffee Hour, it's a natural ice breaker to start a conversation with someone you don't know.

At coffee shops, it brings old and new friends into conversation and community.

As I said, I like coffee.

But I love coffeeshops.

We are pretty spoiled in Madison. I would be so bold as to guess that there are more coffee shops than churches in Madison. Someone should probably fact check me.

It starts with the smell as you walk in.

Then, it's the music. In my perfect world, along the lines of Fleet Foxes, Lord Huron, Bon Iver, ... even back to the days of Radiohead. Surprisingly, I'm not that picky about the music at coffeeshops. And if I don't like it, I just pop in the ear buds.

The people. The barista, the patrons, even the person that doesn't know what a latte is. These are my people. Even if they get tea or orange juice instead.

There is a unique and unmatchable energy to a coffeeshop. It is literally buzzing when you add all of the components mentioned above. In the hum of many voices conglomerating, occasional laughter breaks out from coffeeshop frequenters on one end. On another end, a couple is in the midst of a serious conversation. And on another end, a business meeting.

The coffeeshop is a special community - a third space.

Now, what is the point of this blog? Am I saying that coffee is God's gift to humans? Yes, but that's not my point.

I am passionate about church outside of church. Meeting people where they're at. And finding the places where the most organic connection is happening. Now, I don't want to tell you to go to a coffeeshop and look for an opportunity to evangelize (see "Coffeeshop Evangelism"). That is not my style, and in my opinion too in-your-face.

The next time you step into a coffeeshop, see if you notice what I notice. And if the spirit moves you, spark a conversation with a barista, or someone you don't know.

Community is happening out there friends. Let's tap into it.

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