Sunday, May 12, 2019

as a man Thinks

“What does Think mean?”

Introducing Think, our new cafe! The name is inspired by Proverbs 23:7, which says, “As a man thinks in his heart, so he is.” We want it to be a spot that encourages people to stop for a moment and think about their heart. We want them to find God in their searching, to realise they were created intentionally for something great.

But let me rewind a bit. We began building Think (referred to on this blog as “the cafe”) in the middle of January, and on the first day of May, we held our grand opening. I have the absolute privilege of being a barista at Think, which means that I went from construction on 30th April and the morning of 1 May straight into on-the-job training. We didn’t stop for a moment, but we discovered that our three months of building developed muscles and authority in the space that we will need to steward this space well.

My roommate, Liz, at the till
Part of our beautiful machine

Think is located on Camden High Street, just a few blocks from the Horse Stables that attract thousands of tourists each weekend. It is right in the middle of the neighbourhood where we’ve been praying and investing for years, and it marks the third leg of our ministry there. The first is the base house, where Chris and Johanna, our base directors, live with their family. The second is Hope and Anchor Community Church. And the third is this cafe, a place where we not only welcome the community in, but where we hope to build community. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

I haven’t worked in the hospitality industry in a while, but I haven’t forgotten those plastered-on smiles or how efficiency was the most praised practise. Think is entirely different. We are encouraged to have conversations with our customers, conversations that go deeper than the surface. And if one of us is in the conversation, the others cover and handle the practicalities of the cafe so that we can stay in the conversation. It is the opposite to every business model I’ve seen, but of course, this isn’t a business for us. This is a ministry. We talk openly about God. We offer to pray for people. We invite them to church. We hold our Connect Groups for church at the back tables. The coffee culture in London is booming, and we are welcoming people into our space. And our space is Kingdom space, so we don’t play by the normal rules. We get to play the King’s way.

Neil, the first customer I made a coffee for and my mate who runs the homeless drop-in I volunteer in on Tuesdays

But we aren’t just a normal cafe space. We want to give back to the community, as well, through using our hairstyling space to give the homeless free haircuts and eventually enable those coming out of prison or off the streets to learn a skill and hold down a job. Whenever one of us brings in somebody off the streets to talk more deeply, they get free coffee. Eventually we hope to use the outside wall of the shop to teach graffiti workshops so the youth have something to do other than sell drugs or play on smartphones. And more than anything, we want everyone who walks through the doors to encounter Jesus Christ.

The view from outside our shop, looking in.

Liz making coffee on opening night.

So would you please pray for us, family? We’re in a whole new game here in the business world. We need favour with the borough council, because they aren’t keen with what we’ve done to the outside of the place. Our hot water boiler has also just broken (turns out it was 15-20 years old), and it will take around £6000 to replace. We’re also keen to build up regular customers so that we can have deep relationships with them and disciple them as they meet Jesus. Basically, this is an all new endeavour, and we need a lot of wisdom from God on top of His grace.

And thank you, as well, for the prayer that you spend on us. Thank you for your faithfulness. We see the fruits of it here in London.

and finally, me!

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