Coffee Shop Churches?

From Peregrin Pages:

“It’s not up to us to increase our membership.  It’s our job to preach the truth, love God, love others, and do good in our world.  God will take care of everything else.”

A very interesting debate has been going on over at 4everhis about Jesus cleansing the temple as recorded for us in John 2.  This discussion, as most do, has come down to a single point–should coffee shops be in churches? (see previous post)  Now I know that sounds ridiculous–who cares right?–but the coffee shop is really only a metaphor.  It is a metaphor for the same attitude and actions that Jesus railed against in the temple–namely–turning the church into a place of business rather than a house of prayer for the nations.

One of the things we can thank (should I say blame?) the seeker-sensitive movement for this the idea that we need to market our churches, create brand awareness and compete with the world.  It has always been my contention that the church has no business competing with anyone.  We don’t have to.  We are the church of the living God.  We just need to be the church.  It’s not up to us to increase our membership.  It’s our job to preach the truth, love God, love others, and do good in our world.  God will take care of everything else.

In fact, the modern obsession with numbers has resulted in a watered-down gospel of easy believism that forgoes a life of discipleship and submission.  It has resulted in the creation of the “megachurch.”  You know, that mall-type building down the street with the Starbucks that sings Stairway to Heaven for its altar call and offers sermons on how to prosper financially.  It has resulted in a clergy that looks more like a cult of personality, with legions of pastors who are willing to compromise the truth in order to further or save their “careers.”  After all, they have a multi-million dollar building to pay for.

There are exceptions to be sure.  John MacArthur for one.  John Piper for another.  These are men of God with enormous churches, but no one would ever accuse them of watering down the truth.  But were those churches built through clever marketing campaigns?  I don’t know for certain, but I tend to doubt it. 

So, should a church have a coffee shop?  Perhaps the better question is–Why does our church have a coffee shop?  If it’s because we are creating a place for people to gather, connect and drink some java, then so be it and save me a mocha.  If it is because we are trying to create brand awareness, and build market share then shame on us.

What do you think?


2 Responses to Coffee Shop Churches?

  1. darla says:

    I found you in my stats, and since you linked to me i thought I would stop and say hello!

    I think some churches I have visited, like Table Rock Fellowship..they have a coffe shop, and it proves to be a worthwhile thing to get people who spend their whole week in a hurry to linger and have some Christian fellowship. I don’t have a problem with that…But like some others I have visited..the coffee shop and acoustic music are a ploy to bring people to church. I really believe that Jesus is enough to bring people to church. I also think that if we as the body are doing what we need to do in reaching out, we will be able to introduce Christ and bring them to church.

    Not much help here huh? For some yes, and for others no…depends on the heart and how they are marketing it. Thanks for the link luv!

  2. PeregrinJoe says:

    Hi. I just wanted to say, thanks for the link and for posting my post here.

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