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The Latest Word from John Ed Mathison

There are a lot of different ways to make a witness for our faith. Some people preach on the street corner, or pass out literature at large gatherings, or confront people, or simply invite them to church, or “live a good life in front of them.” The list goes on and on. Let me share a unique concept.

In Kansas City, Missouri there are about 50 independently owned coffee shops. People have commented that the best coffee you can drink comes from those coffee shops. The interesting thing is that many of them are run by Christians. It is an intentional effort to offer the best coffee as a means of witness. Nick Robertson, who owns Messenger Coffee Roasters, was asked how many of those coffee shops are run by Christians. His reply was, “Almost every coffee shop is Christian-owned.”

Some have indicated that Kansas City is unique, but not totally unique. Christian-owned coffee shops are a nationwide trend. There seems to be undercover Christian baristas throughout the nation. Now these coffee shops are not run in the stereotypical “Christian” way. Confrontation witnessing is not a predominant emphasis. The Christian witness is through serving excellent coffee. They say offering an excellent product is a reflection of the excellence that God exhibits when He creates us, loves us, and gave Himself for us.

Kate Matsch has a Christian coffee shop in Kansas City. She said, “When you do something with excellence that is a characteristic of God. You lay a platform for Him to do more work.” Pastor John Reimenschnitter sees quality and Christianity as going hand in hand. He said, “To be a platform for the Kingdom, we have to be good at what we do.” Another barista pointed out that Jesus’ first miracle was to make a better drink at a wedding. (Read John 2:1-11.) After Jesus’ first miracle, the host praised the groom that he was doing things differently than anybody else. It wasn’t about being good, but about being great!

I believe that everything we do should be done with excellence. And excellence is never an accident!!! Doing our work with excellence presents a great platform for making a positive witness. The baristas in those Christian coffee shops in Kansas City are not known for their faith – they are known for making an excellent product – and by the way – they love Jesus too.

How well do you use your work schedule as a platform for doing ministry? It is a great opportunity. I’ve had exciting conversations with some doctors, lawyers, coaches, architects, school teachers, auto mechanics, administrative assistants – the list goes on and on. They want to use their work to make a Kingdom difference. If coffee shops in Kansas City can do it, you can do it wherever you are! One barista who has a tremendous influence in Kansas City, said, “We believe that the first miracle of Jesus could be understood today as Jesus turned the water into coffee!”

It is easy for many of us to be critical of somebody who is doing things differently from the way we’re doing them. What is happening in those coffee shops should not be criticized, but should challenge us to be creative in the way we make a witness. Billy Graham taught that there are many ways to do evangelism – the important thing is to do it.

I heard about a man who would ask everybody he met about their faith. Another gentleman was quick to criticize that form of witness. He said, “I don’t like the way you’re doing it.” The person who was making the witness replied, “Well, I like better the way I am doing it than the way you’re not doing it!” Amelia Earhart said, “The most effective way to do it – is to do it.”

The need is great. On most religious affiliation surveys in today’s culture, the fastest growing category is “none.” That category has grown some 300% in the last 30 years! Harry Emerson Fosdick once said, “The biggest hell any of us could know in this life would be to have everything to live with…and nothing to live for.”

What’s your “cup of coffee?”


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