What is Coffee Chat? Twice a month, INTEGRATE, The Sanctuary’s young adult ministry, meets at Starbucks to hang out. And when I say hang out, I mean it: there’s no Bible, no sermon, no worship. Why? Because fellowship doesn’t have to be structured; it doesn’t have to happen in a church building.
Inviting people to church can be awkward: a lot of people are uncomfortable with or completely against going to church. Inviting friends to Starbucks for *free* coffee, though, is much more likely to result in a “yes.”
It can be hard assimilating into a church with hundreds or thousands of people. I started attending The Sanctuary in 10th grade, but I didn’t feel plugged in until I started going to Integrate a few years later. What was the difference? INTEGRATE was smaller, and less intimidating, than the “big adult” church, with anywhere from ten to twenty-five people on any given night. It pulled me out of the rows and into circles.
Many people leave the church when they go to college, or move out of their parents’ homes. But young adults have to make some crucial decisions that will impact their lives for years to come: where to go to school, what careers to start, whom to marry…and Integrate gives them the opportunity to have the support and wisdom of their Christ-minded peers and mentors by plugging them into the church.
I’m 24-years old, and I’ve been a part of INTEGRATE since I turned 18. I used to go to every single Friday night meeting for Integrate, but for the past three years, I’ve worked on Friday nights. So when Pastor Rachel started Coffee Chat on Wednesday nights, I jumped at the opportunity.
Coffee Chat fosters fellowship in part because it is relatively unstructured. People can ask for prayer, or ask for advice about school or money problems…or they can talk about the latest cat video, if they want to distract themselves from the dread of homework assignments.
By having events on both Fridays and Wednesdays, INTEGRATE reaches people with varied school and work schedules. And since Coffee Chat takes place outside a church building, more people will be willing to try it out. Because of INTEGRATE, I have a growth partner (Natacheau Bergman), and I’ve served on the AVL (sound booth) team for the past four years. When you feel like a part of a church and not just a seat-filler on Sundays, you’re more likely to get involved; you’re more likely to call your church “home.”