Lessons From the Coffee Shop: Be the Church

Why Be the Church

Live the Gospel, Love the City, and now Be the Church. For the longest time, I got the order of those phrases mixed up, which isn’t that big of a deal, but the motto flows naturally in that order. In order to love the city, you must live the Gospel, and in order to be the Church, you must live the Gospel and love the City. Be the church is not only a pivotal part of Vintage’s motto, but also a pivotal part of Jesus Teaching. We see this in Jesus’ teaching in Mathew 25:35–40:

For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.

How To Be The Church

To be the Church is a continuation of living what Jesus taught. Our goal as a church is to serve. In our jobs, in our neighborhoods, in our parks, or in the places we eat, we want to serve. We serve as humble vessels of God. We know that we have fallen in sin and were only redeemed by Christ’s love displayed on the cross. Only through this love do we find strength to serve. As the body of Christ, we aim to love and lift up those who are suffering, working to meet both their physical and spiritual needs.

How, though, do we do this in our own respective realms of New Orleans. Yes, we all can volunteer with a ministry to help the homeless, or the prostitutes, or the orphans, all of which are very noble, but how can we do it on a Tuesday afternoon in our workplace? I think with this question we all can learn a good answer from a good barista. A good way to be the church will always have two aspects to it: conversation and action. A good barista that makes me want to tip more is one that talks with me, asks about me, and seems to want to know me. As a Christian, being the church can start with a conversation. A simple “how was your day?” or “how’s the family?” can show genuine care for a person, allowing them to see the light inside of you.

Also, if a barista only talks to me, then I would never talk to them again if I never got my order. The same goes for a Christian. If we just talk and talk but never deliver the important goods, what good are we doing? But when a barista meets our physical needs and gives us the boost in the morning, or the perfect drink to compliment our afternoon, we remember that. Once again, as Christians, when we delve deeper than the “how’s your family?” and go on to “come over for dinner,” “let me help you move,” or even “want to come to church with me?” we begin to be the church. When we move to action, we begin to show Christ’s love for them, meeting both spiritual and physical needs.

How will you be like your barista? How will you be the church today?