Church Growth

7 Questions to Ask Before Starting a Church Coffee Shop

Thinking about starting a coffee shop at your church? Ask these questions first.

H1 What’s a Rich Text element?

H2 What’s a Rich Text element?

H3 What’s a Rich Text element?

H4 What’s a Rich Text element?

H5 What’s a Rich Text element?
H6 What’s a Rich Text element?

The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.

H4 Static and dynamic content editing

A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

H4 How to customize formatting for each rich text

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

  • List Item 1
  • List Item 2
  • List Item 3

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

Has anyone else noticed the crossover between church culture and coffee culture? 

I live in San Diego, where it feels like everywhere you turn, there’s another coffee shop started by a follower of Christ. In these locally owned businesses, you’ll find minimalist furniture, locally-roasted beans, and…conversation about the Bible. It’s not uncommon that I notice someone doing their personal devotions alongside a perfectly crafted cortado, or having a discipleship meeting over a couple cold brew coffees. 

One theory to explain the coffee-church relationship is that coffee shops are neutral alternatives to bars. Many Christians choose not to drink alcohol–or choose to drink infrequently–and coffee shops are great places to meet socially without the added pressure of alcohol. 

Or could it be that coffee is just really, really good and Americans are addicted to caffeine (not to mention the rest of the world, with 1 billion coffee drinkers worldwide)?

In any case, coffee is considered an acceptable stimulant for Christians. “Coffee is an empowering drug that enables you to be a more alert dad, or a more aware mother, or a more competent employee,” said pastor and theologian John Piper

Coffee shops are here to stay–both in Christian and mainstream culture. 

The question is, does a coffee shop belong in your church?

Benefits of Having Your Own Church Coffee Shop

If you’re equipped for it, hosting an onsite church coffee shop can come with a number of benefits. Here are three of them. 

New Source of Funding

A church coffee shop can become a new source of funding for ministries, mission trips, and even building funds. There’s a significant upcharge on beverages, and with the right strategy, you could make tens of thousands of dollars in profits per year.

Tithe.ly Pay makes it simple and seamless to take contactless payment from your customers for drinks, snacks, and pastries. And, since it’s designed for churches and integrates with Tithe.ly Giving, it’s a no-brainer for churches that want to make it as easy as possible to transition into point-of-sale payments. 

Creates a Sense of Community

An onsite coffee shop creates a place for your church members to develop friendship, grow in discipleship, and even study or work. If you’re passionate about “church outside of Sunday services,” then a coffee shop can become a place for your community to meet mid-week. 

Builds a Presence in Your City or Neighborhood

A popular (and quality) coffee shop can help you build a name and presence in your city or neighborhood. Especially in urban communities, coffee could even become a bridge to unchurched people who may never have otherwise noticed your church. 

7 Questions to Ask Before Opening a Coffee Shop

If you’ve made the decision to launch your own church coffee shop, consider the following questions first. 

(Note that this is not legal or financial advice, and you should consult a lawyer and/or accountant before making the leap into the coffee business!)

Who will work at your coffee shop?

You’ll need to think about your hospitality crew, as well as your coffee shop manager. Who will ensure that your shop is restocked, your baristas are trained, and that your payment system is organized? 

Depending on what kinds of hours you plan to keep your business open, you might choose to hire full-time or part staff, rely on church volunteers, or even hire underprivileged people from your community (one inspiring story that has done this kind of work is that of Father Greg Boyle with Homeboy Industries). 

Will your coffee shop be open to the community?

The answer to this question largely depends on your vision. 

If you’re interested in running a simple shop that’s open primarily on the weekends and occasionally during the week, then you may just focus on your own church. But if your coffee shop is also meant to be an outreach tool, then you’ll want to think about how to market your shop to the wider community. Some churches have even created communal spaces that serve as coffee shops and churches (for an out-of-the-box example, check out Tubestation in Polzeath, England). 

What kind of coffee will you serve?

The beans are everything! Your coffee shop clientele will notice the difference between a cheaper generic brand, and a higher quality coffee that’s ideally locally roasted. Fair-trade, ethically sourced beans can also be a strong selling point for customers who like to consider how their beverage was sourced. 

You’ll also want to consider your drink menu, of course. Will you keep it simple, with brew coffee, lattes, and hot tea? Or will you create flavored beverages with syrups, spices, and additional flavorings? 

Where will you set up shop?

Even if you don’t have the space or resources to set up a permanent location on your church campus, you can get creative and set up a simple pop-up shop outside of your church building or in your foyer. 

It’s become easier than ever to create craft beverages on the go with mobile espresso machines and mobile payment. The equipment will be an investment, but depending on your strategy, you may be able to make back your investment quickly. And, with Tithe.ly Pay, you can take payment anywhere–all you need is a tablet to receive contactless payment on a credit/debit card or with Apple or Google Pay.

Will you serve food?

Serving snacks and pastries with your coffee beverages is an easy way to round out your menu and even increase revenue. You can source cookies, scones, muffins, and pastries from a local wholesale bakery, or even hire “in house” and pay a talented at-home baker at your church to provide goodies for you. 

Or, if you’ve got a fully operational kitchen, you may choose to serve hot food. Open-faced toasts, bagel sandwiches, and hot oatmeal are all great options for a coffee shop. 

Will you provide seating?

If you have the space for it, you might set up a seating area alongside your coffee shop where your customers can enjoy their drinks before a service, read their Bibles, or meet friends. But even if you’re limited on space, you can get creative with outdoor seating. Picnic tables and simple outdoor furniture can be fun additions to a pop-up coffee shop, and can be easily moved and stored away when you’re not in operation. 

What about branding? 

Finally, you’ll want to consider branding your coffee shop. You can keep it easy, and simply call it “[Name of Your Church] Coffee,” or you may want to launch a whole separate brand for coffee shop, and call it something new (“He Brews” at Bethel Church in Redding, CA is a personal favorite). 

Naming your coffee shop, designing a logo, and even landing on a color palette and “look and feel” are all a part of church branding–which, as one of our team members at Tithe.ly says, “is one of the ways the church is reaching people in the twenty-first century.”

Over to You

Launching a coffee shop at your church isn’t going to be easy, but it can be enormously rewarding–and fruitful. Creating a space where your members and community can gather is key to a church that feels connected outside of your weekend services. Your caffeine-addicted and coffee-loving church members will thank you too. Good luck!

podcast transcript

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H1 What’s a Rich Text element?

H2 What’s a Rich Text element?

H3 What’s a Rich Text element?

H4 What’s a Rich Text element?

H5 What’s a Rich Text element?
H6 What’s a Rich Text element?

The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.

H4 Static and dynamic content editing

A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

H4 How to customize formatting for each rich text

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

  • List Item 1
  • List Item 2
  • List Item 3

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

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7 Questions to Ask Before Starting a Church Coffee Shop

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7 Questions to Ask Before Starting a Church Coffee Shop

Thinking about starting a coffee shop at your church? Ask these questions first.

Show notes

Has anyone else noticed the crossover between church culture and coffee culture? 

I live in San Diego, where it feels like everywhere you turn, there’s another coffee shop started by a follower of Christ. In these locally owned businesses, you’ll find minimalist furniture, locally-roasted beans, and…conversation about the Bible. It’s not uncommon that I notice someone doing their personal devotions alongside a perfectly crafted cortado, or having a discipleship meeting over a couple cold brew coffees. 

One theory to explain the coffee-church relationship is that coffee shops are neutral alternatives to bars. Many Christians choose not to drink alcohol–or choose to drink infrequently–and coffee shops are great places to meet socially without the added pressure of alcohol. 

Or could it be that coffee is just really, really good and Americans are addicted to caffeine (not to mention the rest of the world, with 1 billion coffee drinkers worldwide)?

In any case, coffee is considered an acceptable stimulant for Christians. “Coffee is an empowering drug that enables you to be a more alert dad, or a more aware mother, or a more competent employee,” said pastor and theologian John Piper

Coffee shops are here to stay–both in Christian and mainstream culture. 

The question is, does a coffee shop belong in your church?

Benefits of Having Your Own Church Coffee Shop

If you’re equipped for it, hosting an onsite church coffee shop can come with a number of benefits. Here are three of them. 

New Source of Funding

A church coffee shop can become a new source of funding for ministries, mission trips, and even building funds. There’s a significant upcharge on beverages, and with the right strategy, you could make tens of thousands of dollars in profits per year.

Tithe.ly Pay makes it simple and seamless to take contactless payment from your customers for drinks, snacks, and pastries. And, since it’s designed for churches and integrates with Tithe.ly Giving, it’s a no-brainer for churches that want to make it as easy as possible to transition into point-of-sale payments. 

Creates a Sense of Community

An onsite coffee shop creates a place for your church members to develop friendship, grow in discipleship, and even study or work. If you’re passionate about “church outside of Sunday services,” then a coffee shop can become a place for your community to meet mid-week. 

Builds a Presence in Your City or Neighborhood

A popular (and quality) coffee shop can help you build a name and presence in your city or neighborhood. Especially in urban communities, coffee could even become a bridge to unchurched people who may never have otherwise noticed your church. 

7 Questions to Ask Before Opening a Coffee Shop

If you’ve made the decision to launch your own church coffee shop, consider the following questions first. 

(Note that this is not legal or financial advice, and you should consult a lawyer and/or accountant before making the leap into the coffee business!)

Who will work at your coffee shop?

You’ll need to think about your hospitality crew, as well as your coffee shop manager. Who will ensure that your shop is restocked, your baristas are trained, and that your payment system is organized? 

Depending on what kinds of hours you plan to keep your business open, you might choose to hire full-time or part staff, rely on church volunteers, or even hire underprivileged people from your community (one inspiring story that has done this kind of work is that of Father Greg Boyle with Homeboy Industries). 

Will your coffee shop be open to the community?

The answer to this question largely depends on your vision. 

If you’re interested in running a simple shop that’s open primarily on the weekends and occasionally during the week, then you may just focus on your own church. But if your coffee shop is also meant to be an outreach tool, then you’ll want to think about how to market your shop to the wider community. Some churches have even created communal spaces that serve as coffee shops and churches (for an out-of-the-box example, check out Tubestation in Polzeath, England). 

What kind of coffee will you serve?

The beans are everything! Your coffee shop clientele will notice the difference between a cheaper generic brand, and a higher quality coffee that’s ideally locally roasted. Fair-trade, ethically sourced beans can also be a strong selling point for customers who like to consider how their beverage was sourced. 

You’ll also want to consider your drink menu, of course. Will you keep it simple, with brew coffee, lattes, and hot tea? Or will you create flavored beverages with syrups, spices, and additional flavorings? 

Where will you set up shop?

Even if you don’t have the space or resources to set up a permanent location on your church campus, you can get creative and set up a simple pop-up shop outside of your church building or in your foyer. 

It’s become easier than ever to create craft beverages on the go with mobile espresso machines and mobile payment. The equipment will be an investment, but depending on your strategy, you may be able to make back your investment quickly. And, with Tithe.ly Pay, you can take payment anywhere–all you need is a tablet to receive contactless payment on a credit/debit card or with Apple or Google Pay.

Will you serve food?

Serving snacks and pastries with your coffee beverages is an easy way to round out your menu and even increase revenue. You can source cookies, scones, muffins, and pastries from a local wholesale bakery, or even hire “in house” and pay a talented at-home baker at your church to provide goodies for you. 

Or, if you’ve got a fully operational kitchen, you may choose to serve hot food. Open-faced toasts, bagel sandwiches, and hot oatmeal are all great options for a coffee shop. 

Will you provide seating?

If you have the space for it, you might set up a seating area alongside your coffee shop where your customers can enjoy their drinks before a service, read their Bibles, or meet friends. But even if you’re limited on space, you can get creative with outdoor seating. Picnic tables and simple outdoor furniture can be fun additions to a pop-up coffee shop, and can be easily moved and stored away when you’re not in operation. 

What about branding? 

Finally, you’ll want to consider branding your coffee shop. You can keep it easy, and simply call it “[Name of Your Church] Coffee,” or you may want to launch a whole separate brand for coffee shop, and call it something new (“He Brews” at Bethel Church in Redding, CA is a personal favorite). 

Naming your coffee shop, designing a logo, and even landing on a color palette and “look and feel” are all a part of church branding–which, as one of our team members at Tithe.ly says, “is one of the ways the church is reaching people in the twenty-first century.”

Over to You

Launching a coffee shop at your church isn’t going to be easy, but it can be enormously rewarding–and fruitful. Creating a space where your members and community can gather is key to a church that feels connected outside of your weekend services. Your caffeine-addicted and coffee-loving church members will thank you too. Good luck!

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