I’m sitting in my favorite coffee shop for an interview with a local reporter about our church and our church’s love for our community.
When the reporter asked where I wanted to meet, without hesitation I said, “The Blue Mug.”
It’s my favorite coffee shop. I’m here about six times a week for meetings and to write sermons. They get a lot of my money (i.e. I pay to go there.) and devotion because they are really good at what they do.
As I’m sitting here at a place I love, I’ve started reflecting on what makes The Blue Mug my favorite coffee shop because I also think these qualities are the same qualities that could make any church someone’s favorite church.
Here you go.
Why The Blue Mug is a My Favorite Coffee Shop and How Your Church Can Become Someone’s Favorite Church:
1) They know my name.
It’s nice to be called by name. It makes me feel special. Are you, as a church leader, working diligently to make sure that everyone who visits or regularly attends your church has someone who knows his/her name?
2) They serve a really good product.
I wouldn’t come to The Blue Mug if their coffee wasn’t good. Is you church producing a really good “product”? We never compromise on presenting the truth of God’s word. That being said, I believe it’s important to present that truth in an excellent way.
3) The environment is conducive to fellowship.
The Blue Mug was designed to encourage small group interaction. There are a variety of tables, chairs, and couches–all arranged for a small group of people to be together. I believe small groups are the heart and soul of any healthy and growing church. Does your church have a physical and/or philosophical structure that facilitates people interacting in small groups?
4) The environment also allows for privacy.
I’m by myself right now. No one is within 20 feet of me. I picked a chair in a corner because I needed some space to talk to the reporter privately when he arrives. I think it’s important for churches to also provide ample space and time for people to be alone with God.
5) The managers and staff talk to me–and everybody who comes in.
This is one of the first things that brought me back to The Blue Mug. It was brand new when I first started coming and the owners went out of their way to meet me and invite me back. I felt really special, but they do that to everybody. Even though I know they make money by selling coffee, it’s obvious to me that Art and Karla (the owners) are not really in the coffee business; they are in the people business. Last week, when I was in the hospital, they sent me free coffee every day (by way of my staff). On Monday, when I saw them, they asked if they could pray with me. What is your church doing to make people know they are special? Is your church in the sermon, Sunday School, and worship production business, or is your church in the people business?
6) They are very friendly.
Ask anyone who comes to The Blue Mug regularly and they will tell you the same thing: It’s a friendly place. Is your church a friendly place? In my experience, I’ve come to the opinion that being a friendly church is more than just having friendly people; it’s about having intentionally friendly people. In one of my ministries, I was hurt when I asked a guest his first impression of our church and he replied, “You are very friendly…but only to each other. No one, except you, has spoken to me.” Ever since that conversation, I’ve done all I can to make sure that any church I serve makes it a point to be friendly to guests and not just each other.
7) They always thank me for coming.
When I walk out the door in a few moments, Victoria will speak out, “Thanks for coming, Arron.” Does your church make guests feel, not only welcomed, but wanted? Does your church go out of its way to thank guests for visiting? Our church, like many other churches, gives guests a nice gift when they visit because we are so thankful that they chose to come to visit Journey.
8) They serve people really well.
They work diligently to make sure your order is taken and prepared properly. If it’s not right, they’ll make it right. If it’s something that needs to be prepared or if they are really busy and backed up, they bring your coffee, pastry, or whatever you order to your table. They even will often clean up my stuff for me while I’m in a meeting. They go out of their way to serve their guests. Does your church serve people well? People who visit? People in your community?
9) They play really good music.
Atmosphere is really important. It’s so important that entire companies exist just to produce the music that is played in department stores, restaurants, and elevators. Does your church give any thought to its atmosphere? At Journey we are very intentional with the type of music we use to facilitate worship singing because we know how important it is. We are also very intentional with the music we play before and between the services. I won’t say anymore about church worship music here because I’m not in the mood to stir up and deal with any drama. I’m listening to Nora Jones and she has me in a really good emotional place and I’m not going to let your griping and complaining about how much you hate the music your worship minister plays ruin my mood. You guys need to find your own favorite coffee place, drink some coffee, and work that our yourselves.
10) They accept everyone as they are.
The Blue Mug has no dress code. There’s no social code either. All are welcomed. Right now, it’s occupied with many different types of people: a pierced college student, an attractive 60ish-yr-old woman in a fancy dress, a woman who looks like a mom, a guy in skinny jeans who is probably a worship minister somewhere, a middle-aged man who looks like he just finished a round of golf, and a preacher in jeans, Sketchers, and a Florida Christian College volleyball t-shirt. Is your church the kind of place where people are accepted as they are or are people expected to dress, talk, and vote a certain way before they will be completely welcomed into the fold? For more on my thoughts on this, I’d encourage you to read my book Eats with Sinners.
So, an interesting thing just happened. I just finished my interview for an article about why some people love Greeley and why some don’t. I was interviewed because the reporter knows, based on what our church does for this community, that I love Greeley. I do. I really love my town. I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.
The reporter asked me to list some of the things I love about Greeley.
The Blue Mug was on the list.
I pray that one day, when people in this town are asked to list the reasons they love living in Greeley, Colorado, Journey Christian Church is one of the things on their list.