Building relationships, one cup at a time — that is the motto of the coffee kiosk at Valley City Epworth UMC.
Epworth UMC in Valley City, North Dakota knew that one of its struggles in reaching new people was due to the fact that many in its community didn’t know the church existed, even though its parking lot is a drop-off and pick-up location for three school districts and is used by a local college’s sports fieldhouse.
One member proposed building a coffee kiosk in the church parking lot as a way to increase awareness—and the congregation decided to give it a try. Rev. Dayne said the undertaking has been radically different from anything the church has ever done.
In fact, it inspired people who didn’t normally give financial gifts or volunteer hours to do so in order to make the kiosk a reality. “The kiosk didn’t divide our giving—it multiplied it,” said .
The congregation completed the kiosk in February. Epworth UMC hired a manager, who has since hired several baristas to staff the kiosk, which is open Monday through Saturday. The menu consists of typical coffee-shop drinks, like lattes, hot chocolate, Italian sodas, and smoothies.
Revenue the kiosk generates goes into the general fund of the church, but this project isn’t about making money; it’s about creating relationships within the community. Between 45 and 60 cars go through the kiosk’s drive-thru daily, and about 75 percent of its customers are not part of the church.
“This is our version of radical welcome,” said . “It’s a new way to reach new people.”
Valley City Epworth was part of the second cohort of churches involved in the Missional Church Consultation Initiative and the Breakthrough Prayer initiative that helped to spur the idea for Holy Grounds. Join the Breakthrough Prayer training in Sturgis on September 15.