Coffee Shop Politics

I was at a local coffee shop working on my messages and I could not help but to overhear a conversation between two employees. They were upset that within a block radius from their café 3 other coffee shops were going to open up. This was the gist of their dialogue:

     Employee #1: “Can you believe it?!”
     Employee #2: “What?”
     Employee #1: “They are going to open up 3 more coffee shops around us.”
     Employee #2: “Really?”
     Employee #1: “Yup… a Starbucks, Panera Bread and Sweetwaters.”
     Employee #2: “Are you serious?! What is their problem?”
     Employee #1: “I know… don’t they know we already have a café here.”
     Employee #2: “This will not be good for our store.”
     Employee #1: “Well, what can we do?!”

I couldn’t help but to chuckle when I saw their angst over their quagmire. Please don’t misunderstand me… I understand that their concern was real because if there are more coffee shops then that means less business for them. But the thing that made me chuckle is the fact that many Christian have this same conversation when it comes to churches.

     Christian leader #1: “Can you believe it?!”
     Christian leader #2: “What?”
     Christian leader #1: “There is another church opening up in this neighborhood.”
     Christian leader #2: “Really?”
     Christian leader #1: “Yup… Christian I Love Jesus Church.”
     Christian leader #2: “Are you serious?! What is their problem?”
     Christian leader #1: “I know… don’t they know we already have a church here.”
     Christian leader #2: “This will not be good for our church.”
     Christian leader #1: “Well, what can we do?!”

The question is: “Will there ever be too many churches in an area?” I have always been a believer that if there are more pre-Christians in an area than Christians, then we need more churches. Then why is it that Christians get so territorial?

Now, let’s go back to the dialogue between the two employees. If their mission in life was to convert every person in Ann Arbor to love coffee (regardless of where the coffee is purchased), then does it really matter if there is a Starbucks, Panera Bread and Sweetwaters around the corner? In fact, they would welcome it because if there are more cafés then there will be more opportunities for people to try coffee and possibly like it. But of course, that is not their mission. Their bottom line mission is profits. So, if there are more cafés then there will be less profits. Consequently, having too many cafés surrounding you will not be good.

What is the Church’s mission?

This is an invitation to anyone who has ever thought about starting a church in Ann Arbor – “Please come and start another church here… you are welcomed. HMCC makes up only 0.004% of the entire Ann Arbor population. Man, we really need more people to try Jesus – they might possibly find Him fascinating.