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Advancing the Kingdom Through Coffee

Non-Profit Coffee Profits the Kingdom

By: Christina Gray


In January 2018, House of Bread Ministries had its first vision meeting. My husband, Jeff, and I met with three other couples, praying together, and listening for God’s leading. The goal is to always focus on hearing God’s voice and pursuing His plan. The message is clearer now than it was then; success is found in transformed lives. Almost 6 years later we can look back and see how His power worked through us to serve those who need His presence.


January 2020 dawned with the excitement of a fresh vision for community ministry. During 2019 our core group did the work of visiting several ministries with community outreach. Our mission of “Transforming Lives through Relationships and Service” led to the establishment of two non-profit entities, the first is our church, House of Bread, and our outreach arm, Temple Court Community (TCC). TCC is a non-profit coffee roaster using all profits to fund community programs.


The end goal is a community center with a coffee shop here in the rural apple country of Adams County, PA. House of Bread and Temple Court Community ministries envision a marketplace where relationships move to discipleship, and the love of Christ does transformative work with anyone who walks through the door. They will enter for coffee, or a community program, and they will leave knowing they have been in the presence of goodness, and truth. That is how Jesus works; He is everywhere. Post covid statistics for weekly church attendance hover close to 25% in the USA. Our ministries set a goal to reach the other 75%. Our core team started brainstorming the talents and gifts we all possessed, and what we could do in the space God would provide for us, then our community center vision emerged.


The vision remains the same, and on our way to that end goal, God has confirmed relationships are the key to our success and people are at the center of His heart. As we obediently walk out His plan, we are seeing transformation!



During our last season of free community dance lessons that we held at the local library, we reached over twenty children. Boys and girls learned to move to music, forgetting their differences and building self confidence. At our final performance for parents, we enjoyed time with the families after the show while we snacked and sipped coffee or punch. Listening to so many stories of how kids were encouraged during their time with us, we realized the transformation that God had done as we served. One mother breathlessly ran up to us as we were cleaning up. She said she had all the kids in the van, all six of them! She did not want to leave without sharing how much this meant to her boy and two girls that faithfully attended. I had never seen her before, then she confided that they live part-time in downtown York with her, but Dad is here, an hour away, in Biglerville. She said this year has been hard for the kids, but they told her that dance helped them to find a way to “get their feeling out.”  Every week at the very end of dance we did a cool down, usually to a worship song, and then, we prayed over the dancers, “out loud” in the library. At the very end of our recital, we prayed with the kids in a circle and many of them offered prayers as well. They may never walk into a church, but Jesus is everywhere.


We also had the opportunity to bring our mobile coffee cart to a local campground the first Friday of each month. People lined up for a sweet drink, and we prayed for a miracle. We had the opportunity to pray several times with the campground owners. When we needed help, young adults were lined up several times to help set up the coffee cart. At the end of one evening, someone leaned in toward me saying, “this has been a good night for him,” pointing to a rather unique young man who had helped us all night. We had given him a free drink, which made him incredibly happy. He had struggled mentally and physically for a lot of his life, always struggling to “fit in” as well. Our vision includes training volunteers in any area they can help. He was eager to help and willing to learn. He was asked to leave the organized bible study he had tried to attend, sitting quietly, listening in a church setting was not working for him, but Jesus is everywhere, and he felt the love of the Body of Christ at a campground, just helping the coffee cart people.


Because we don’t have a building, we’ve had to be creative about how and where we serve people. We’ve used coffee as a bridge to relationships, from serving coffee at drug and alcohol recovery centers to handing out hot cups of cocoa and coffee during our Christmas tree give away, a cup of coffee can be transformational! Our outreach has also included community hiking days for families in the summer. We have had the opportunity to pray with others on the beach at state parks. We have met at campgrounds and in state parks inviting those around us to join in. We’ve even reached people in a small rock climbing “bouldering” loft above a woodshop that belongs to one of our core members. Our goal is a community center, but His goal is people’s hearts. So, we go with Jesus everywhere.


What does House of Bread look like as a church gathering? Dinner and Coffee is at 6pm on Saturday nights in Aspers. We gather outside around a fire as often as possible. We meet down a private lane at our home, where no other house can be seen. We sing, spend time in the word, then, in small groups, we discuss how we can apply the scripture to our lives. If you continue another quarter mile back that stone lane, there is an empty house. The man who lived there died in the Fall. We only knew him in passing, he kept to himself, and when we did stop to talk, he smelled like a beer! One evening while we were at the campground serving coffee, a pastor who was camping there spoke to us about our ministry. We knew him and had chatted with him before. He shared how he had done a funeral for a man down a private lane in Aspers. It was at the home of our neighbor, who had struggled his whole life to overcome past shadows of abuse. The Pastor wanted us to know something. As he waited for us to make him His Latte, he told us during his time at the funeral a friend of the departed shared this story: When the weather was nice, he would sit out on his porch Saturday nights. He would cry and listen to the singing and the words floating through the trees. He knew where his help came from, he just couldn’t get himself to church ... But Jesus is everywhere, even when you are alone on your back porch.


It's His Vision and His Church. He made the coffee beans grow and He will use anything on this earth, including coffee, to bring people to Himself. We are humbled to be part of what the Holy Spirit is doing in Adams County. Visit us online at www.houseofbread.xyz for more information, and when you’re in Apple Country, come join us. Jesus is here!


Article reprinted from The Global Advocate April Issue with permission.

 

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