Recently, I have been spending quite a bit of my "office hours" in my spacious, heavily-trafficked, and (at times) noisy office... Starbucks. It is true, my actual office is a mere stone's throw away from this so-called office that I so graciously share with all who open the door. It is also true that I do not have to wait for a table or the restroom, that it is quiet, and that the draft from a constantly opening door does't bother me when I am at my office, yet I am drawn to this location more often than not. There are advantages to working from Starbucks, such as the constant aroma of espresso with hints of hazelnut and cinnamon swirling around, or the option of large leather seats to recline in for those contemplative moments of the ministry, and of course the free wifi, but none of these advantages are why I have come to love my coffee office. As a matter of fact, the biggest advantage of working at this coffee shop is one that most people would never notice.
It all started a few years ago when I began reading my Bible at a local coffee shop in Hermosa Beach. I would go in before church and spend some time in the Word and I would notice that people would seemingly stare at my bible or me; I didn't do much about it. I would just continue reading and hustle on to church. After a few months of reading my Bible there, life got busy. I was working a full-time job, attending school full-time, and serving in youth ministry so I stopped spending so much time there and eventually stopped reading my Bible at that location. When we planted Redeemed South Bay I immediately praised God for the closeness of Starbucks, as I am an avid fan of coffee, but then I remembered my time at the coffee shop in Hermosa. And I thought to myself, being a few years more mature and hopefully a little wiser, what if I began engaging people that gave me those "stares" as I bring the "Good Book" out? I really didn't know what would happen, but I was committed to finding out! So I decided I would begin writing my sermons and studying for my sermons at Starbucks. I must admit that the sermon writing process may take a little longer due to the boisterous atmosphere, but I was hoping to engage people that might be interested in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Initially, I found that it was much easier to continue working even when I knew I had an opportunity to chat with someone, but I was reminded as I was studying that Jesus tells us in Luke 19 that he came to seek and save the lost and in Matthew 28 we see him telling His disciples to make disciples and that He is with them to the very end of the age! So as a disciple of Christ, I want to obey Him in making disciples and I am assured that He is with me; therefore I pressed on! It has only been a few short weeks yet I can see that God is on the move. Thus far I have encountered fellow church-planters and Christians, a gentlemen named Joe who although he is not a Christian he is open to exploring, atheists, former students of mine, etc. all for the sake of sharing the gospel and offering salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ. What I am probably most excited about is the relationship that I am forming with a couple of the Starbucks employees. I desperately desire to see them saved as I interface with them on a regular basis.
Jesus is in the business of saving souls and He uses His church to share the truthful message of salvation in Him alone. Each and every member of the universal church is a minister of the gospel and although we do not have the power to save people we do have the power to share the news that enables them to be saved. I do not know what my endeavor here at Starbucks will bring, but I do hope and pray that as the message of Jesus is shared salvation will happen. I encourage you, the next time you are thirsting for a cup, head to your local shop, bring a Bible, see who the Lord might have look at you, and share with them the truth of salvation in Jesus and invite them to your church... It is that easy! And hey, if you are ever in Redondo Beach and in need of a coffee, stop by the Starbucks on Diamond and PCH... you just might see me there!