What Happens Here
- Food and beverage service
- Casual seating
- Informal meetings and gatherings
- Classes and meetings
What to Look For
- Is the café part of the lobby or separated from it?
- Is the café accessible after hours?
- Does the café offer outdoor seating?
- What is the level of food service offered?
▪ Vending machines/Self-service
▪ Coffee carts
▪ Coffee and pastries at a permanent service counter
▪ Onsite service of food prepared offsite
▪ Onsite preparation of food
- What is the church’s policy on food and drink in other parts of the building? How is this communicated and enforced?
- Is the café run in-house or by an outside vendor?
- Is wireless internet access provided?
- Does the café have background music or television monitors?
- Is there a fireplace?
- How easily can seating be rearranged to allow for different uses?
Why It Matters
Moving conversation beyond “How are you?” is helped by having a place out of the mainstream in which to talk. Adding food or caffeine to the mix, as coffee shops, book stores and even the public library have discovered, can help create a destination for people who might not otherwise consider stepping on campus.
Pubs and sidewalk cafés are relatively rare in the United States, but their role in Europe as friendly neutral sites, or “third places” between work and home, is well-documented.
It’s worth exploring the extent to which a church-based café can serve as such a place, especially if the church itself is on a suburban site or off the beaten path.
Room x Room posts are brief examinations of the nature, purpose and potential of typical spaces used in ministry. The intent is to help users see and consider how each component contributes to (or hinders) the ministry it serves.