District: Twin Cities
Submitted by: Rachel Morey
Last March, Brooklyn Mosaic United Methodist Church began an experimental project. The church wanted a way to connect to the community, so they went to Brookdale Caribou coffee shop on the third Saturday of the month and bought the first drink for every customer who came into the shop between 9 a.m. and noon. By the summer, they decided to make it a "regular" event, and now, six months later, it has become a tradition.
Almost every member of Mosaic has participated in this outreach activity so far, and we are happy with the response we've received. While some choose to take the coffee and head out, a lot of customers come over to thank us, and many stop to engage in conversation and ask questions about Mosaic.
While buying coffee for strangers has been a good way to generate general goodwill in the community and hand out a few brochures and cards, perhaps even more important it has been a training workshop for invitation--while inviting people to church is scary, inviting people to get free coffee on a Saturday morning is not. Mosaic members stake out a table and the cast of characters changes over the course of three hours. It is most successful when treated as a way to teach and live invitation. It also does give folks who are interested a chance to check out Mosaic in a non-threatening environment. As pastor I've had a chance to meet otherwise anonymous Mosaic Facebook fans and Twitter followers because they feel comfortable coming over and introducing themselves in the coffee shop.
The experience is positive for everyone involved. The Caribou store has welcomed Mosaic with open arms and enjoys hosting. Members of Mosaic see it as an opportunity for fellowship and to surprise people with grace. And recipients will often tell personal stories about how it makes them feel good or welcome in the community.
Now, Mosaic is hoping to expand the activity by providing folks an opportunity to give back to their community. For example, they might ask the customer if he/she could donate the $2 they would have just spent on coffee to the food shelf (or other group) instead.
Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church