Saturday, November 20, 2010

Incubators and Launching Pads

The coffee shops of America may be the new Antiochs and Mars Hills of the church. While waiting for a friend at a coffee shop/café this week, I was close enough to the next table to overhear the conversation taking place between three men. It was clear that one was a pastor and that they were discussing the launch of a new church in an adjoining community. Their discussion was intense and purposeful. I could pick up their enthusiasm just through the tone of their voices.

I was reminded that just a couple of weeks before, I had observed another man at the same table as he seemed to be interviewing candidates for a ministry position. As I thought about these conversations, I realized that over the last few months, I had seen several small groups involved in Bible study, others in intense dialogue over clearly Christian books, and a couple of people (evidently pastors) working sermons with their laptops. This café is a virtual incubator for church planting and Christian formation. In fact, I was there to meet my friend for a peer coaching session where we would discuss our spiritual, personal, and professional goals.

College shops and cafes like this one provide a number of things that encourage use by Christians. They are accessible, hospitable, and provide opportunities for networking. Add a laptop and Wi-Fi and you can easily access reams of information to help in planning and writing.

What a great resource for a church! But watch out for the muffins.

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