If you follow me on twitter or foursquare, you will regularly see me checking-in at my local Starbucks or a similar coffee house. Recently a lot of youth ministry friends have suggested that I have a coffee addiction and need serious help. Often my reply is, “we are in youth ministry… we all need help”.
Before I go on, it’s important to point out that I do spend a good amount of time in my office at church, and I love working with a great team of people. It’s also imperative that I spend a good amount of time in the office to stay connected and communicate what is happening in my ministry while also hearing about others ministry areas. But, for now, let me share 8 good reasons for why I think it’s also important for me to spend time working at Starbucks too…
1) It’s a Great Place to Meet Leaders and Students: Being able to hang out in a coffee house can feel more relational and a lot more relaxing for the people I meet. It beats the church office any day, especially when I buy the coffee!
2) I Get to Meet People in My Community: All the staff at Starbucks and many of the locals know me by face and name. They know I am a pastor and they know I am the “British guy”. Often these two distinguishing factors open the door to some great conversations once people get to know me…
3) I Get to See People from Church: Spending time in the local coffee house gives me so many opportunities to connect with people from our church. The local Starbucks is a couple of miles from our church and many of our members stop by during the day. It’s just another opportunity to meet and connect with them outside of Sundays.
4) I Get to Hear How People Live: As a pastor, it can be easy to live in a Christian bubble and forget how people outside the church think and feel. When I am at coffee houses, I am no longer surprised by the stories and information I hear. People seem to relax and share their deepest joys and struggles at Starbucks as they sit with their best friends. It’s not like I am listening in to everyone’s conversations, I just pick up pieces here and there. Bottom line is this: I get to sit at the steps of peoples lives and understand their their real issues. Ultimately, it gives me great insight in how to reach the non-churched and understand their deepest needs.
5) People Get to Hear About My Church: Over the years I have been surprized by the amount of times people ask me about my ministry and church. Here’s what happens: I will meet with one of my leaders and people close by will get to overhear my conversations. Often, after my leader has left, someone might lean over and say, “Are you a pastor… what church are you at”? The following few minutes are always an incredible opportunity to share about God, my church, and what I do. In my last church, on one occassion, two families began attending the church from one conversation. One of them was a young single mom who eventually accepted Christ. You just never know who might be listening in…
6) I Can Focus Better: Believe it or not, I get more done at Starbucks than anywhere else. I admit it, I am a social butterfly and I love the people I work with! At my office, I find it hard to get writing and planning done because I always want to interact with my friends there. Any time I have writing or planning to do, I find it easier to get away to Starbucks, plug in my headphones and tune into an incredible world of focus with worship music.
7) I Love Coffee! Yes, it’s true, even though I am British and love a good cuppa tea, I love to drink a good cuppa Joe too.
8) I Need Coffee: I have two young kids who wake up in the night a lot of the time. I often feel like I need the coffee. Ever feel this way?
Working at my local Starbucks allows me to connect with so many people while also getting so much accomplished. As mentioned in the beginning, do not neglect your time in your first office, and make sure you always communicate with other staff where you will be working.