Church transforms into coffee chain
DENVER — Connection Metro Church, which used its foyer coffee bars to attract visitors to its eight satellite churches in the Denver area, has decided to abandon ministry altogether to focus on coffee. "People liked the coffee a lot better than the ministry, according to congregational surveys, so we’re practicing what we preached and focusing on our strengths," says former teaching pastor and now chief marketing officer, Peter Brown.
Many in the congregation seem downright relieved.
"The sermons were okay, but the vanilla frappes were dynamite," says one woman who regularly attended the church for two years so she could enjoy the special brews. "I even brought my Jewish neighbors and they loved them."
The staff of Connection Metro Church began noticing last year that more money was coming in through the coffee bar than in the offering. "People complimented us about the pastries and mochas but didn’t really mention the teaching," says Brown. "After feeling disappointed, we got pragmatic about it and realized God was telling us where to put our efforts."
The church renovated each of its locations into Connection Coffee Houses and removed most traces of its spiritual past. Now crowds are up and many former members are flourishing. "Who knew I was so gifted at making foam?" says the former head usher, now the head barista, as he makes a heart-shaped design on a cappuccino.
The church’s small groups have been turned into neighborhood reading clubs, with some reading Christian titles and others following Oprah’s recommendations. The only visible remnants of the coffee house’s past are the offering bucket which serves as a tip jar, and the greeters stationed at the door to give a more welcoming feel than the nearby Starbucks. (more...)