Wednesday, April 15, 2009


A place to connect,
reflect and discuss

Do you like espresso? How about a casual, relaxed atmosphere where you can read a book, listen to live music or meet friends? Do you like the challenge of engaging conversation about relevant issues and sharing stories of faith? Have I gotten your attention? Are you sitting on the edge of your seat? Then read carefully. Big things – new things are “brewing “at Calvary (sorry, that was too easy a pun).

SOUL CAFÉ – doesn’t that sound cool? Last night (Tuesday, April 14th) your Session approved a plan to try a new outreach ministry this summer. And, we need some folks who feel called by God to get involved in order to make it work. More about that in a minute!

I don’t know if you realize it or not but Western Washington has one of the highest (some say the highest) per capita rates of non-churched people in the country. Though many if not most of these people – particularly younger people – would say they believe in God, pray and even think Jesus was a person worth following most studies suggest that 75 – 77% don’t attend church.

Is there a way of reaching people like that? Is it possible to engage those people without telling them they have to come to our services at our church? We think there is and that is what SOUL CAFÉ is all about. It’s not intended to just be another place for church people to hang out (although no one is turned away at the door) but a place that would attract people who are non-churched.

Beginning in June, our church is entering into a unique partnership with Lindon’s Bookstore. They are going to keep their doors open on Friday evenings for just such an opportunity. Each week there will be live music, a thought provoking movie, or some kind of discussion venue back in the lounge/stage area. There will be comfortable seating, warm lighting, and a very relaxed atmosphere. It is simply a gathering place that would be inviting for folks to come, drink coffee and, perhaps, play a game of chess or backgammon, pick a book off the shelf to read, or share a conversation about something deeper; maybe something spiritual.

Up in front of the store, there would be a coffee house atmosphere with café tables, comfortable chairs, and – this is really key – free Wi-Fi and, of course a coffee bar. Out in front would be a sign telling folks that SOUL CAFÉ is a joint venture of Calvary Presbyterian and Lindon’s Books. It would also be advertised on the church web site, and with posters around town too.

During the Lindon’s regular business hours, that same atmosphere would be present – minus live music or any programming. But on the tables, there would be a small card saying free Wi-Fi compliments of your friends at Calvary and maybe some thought or verse for the day.

When Paul visited Athens he headed up to a place called the Aereopagus (Acts 17). It was the hill where all the philosophers, all the curious, most of the non-Christians hung out to share thoughts and ideas. He didn’t wait for them to come to the synagogue or to one of the house churches – he engaged them on their turf and talked to them freely in language they understood. He said, “I see that you are very religious and that you have markers all over that read, ‘To an unknown God.’ I want to tell you about that God.” That is the idea behind SOUL CAFÉ – reaching people where they are at.

I am praying that there would be 8 – 10 people who would see this Friday night outreach as God’s calling to ministry in their life. We would train folks in ways of naturally sharing faith, running the espresso machine, and planning for ongoing Friday “programs.” These people would work closely with Lindon’s owners in a unique partnership that will help a downtown business as well as allow Christ’s body and opportunity to be salt – not in a saltshaker but poured out. For those who commit, it will not mean an every week commitment on your part. You would be part of a greater team. It would also not be a substitute for your attending worship and being part of the regular fellowship of our church. We hope to begin a trial period for this ministry June 5. How about it? Are you in? Let me know as soon as you have had a chance to pray about it and feel God’s call.