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Why Do Churches Serve Coffee?

January 30, 2014

I had someone ask me a while back, “Why do churches serve coffee during service?” They just could not understand why that is. Their rational is people are up and moving around and that can be distracting. It made no sense to them. So I have spent some time thinking about it and here is where I am at:

One reason they may be serving coffee is the sermon is just so boring, or so long, that the members need a little extra help staying awake. If this is the case, say something. No pastor desires to bore their audience into a stupor. But it happens! But when it happens week after week, someone be generous enough to have a critique explaining why they feel it is boring them. I listen to sermons on digital formats weekly. Anything over 1 hour I rarely touch. You can be a great preacher. Over an hour you become Charlie Brown’s teacher.

Another reason coffee is being served in churches is an act of hospitality. Our church members can buy a designer coffee at one of those coffee stores (come on, you know what I am talking about) or you can be generous enough to serve good coffee for free. It is a simple act of kindness. It costs nearly nothing to do, even with better coffee than the can of dried grounds.

What about this idea that it can be distracting? I can understand what they were saying, but I would ask how many things are you doing or listening to in the car while driving? If you can keep your attention on the act of driving while talking on the phone, listening to the radio, eating the burger, painting your nails, shaving, doing your hair – do I need to go on? The reality is it can be distracting. But that begs the question as to where our focus is in the first place?

We have many distractions in the church. Coffee seekers are not a distraction at all. Loud crinkly candy wrappers – now that is a distraction! Or how about the squeaky vent on the roof or the door that pops open on its own when it feels like it? That is distracting! Babies cooing? No distraction there, just evidence of a miracle! We must learn to look past the things going on and focus on what we are there for. For some, that is the sermon. For others, it is song. And yet, others are there for the companionship of being in close community with others.

To answer the question, why do churches serve coffee? There are many reasons. Is it distracting? Only if we let it be.

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