Church Café Offers Coffee, Life Change for Employees and Community
By Neil Oldham
In 2006, a vision was born at Creekside Church to build a new facility and relocate to the east edge of Pryor Creek, Oklahoma. As that dream began to take shape, there was a recognition that the area around the new facility’s bell tower could make an incredible gathering place. Leaders began to ask the questions: What would it look like to open this place to our community? What ministry opportunities could that present?
Those questions started us on a grand adventure that culminated on Friday, August 11, with the opening of Heritage Café to the public. Leaders from the community and the Chamber of Commerce came to celebrate with us. Tulsa’s Fox 23 even broadcasted live from our café that morning and ran a longer story in the evening’s news. You can check out the inspirational video news story here.
As we cut the ribbon that day, Pastor Andrew Rehbein reflected on how God brought this new ministry into fruition and articulated what our church’s hopes and dreams are for this café. There are two specific things we hope to see come out of this endeavor.
First, we want this coffee shop to be a game-changer for women in our community who face barriers to employment. The state of Oklahoma, particularly Mayes County, faces big challenges with female incarceration and people aging out of the foster care system. Many individuals in our church are already personally invested in helping to address these challenges through transition homes and other local ministries. We believe this coffee shop can be a healthy place to find a second chance and to build better networks and job skills in a positive, faith-filled environment.
Second, we want this coffee shop to be a game-changer for the broader community surrounding Pryor Creek. The bench in our cafe says, “The Son of Man came eating and drinking” (Matthew 11:19). It’s a reminder that the Jesus we follow famously loved nothing more than gathering with friends around a table. It has been a core value of God’s church ever since. We believe it’s good for the soul. So, we believe that only good can come from providing our community with a beautiful, welcoming gathering place.
Since August 11, we’ve seen our community come with their Bibles and their laptops. With friends and with co-workers. On dates or for meetings. To get something done or to enjoy getting nothing done. And, when they leave, they leave knowing they left behind a blessing.
Heritage Café’s mantra is “Drink Coffee. Do Good.” We’ve already begun to see a lot of good and we believe the best is yet to come!
Neil Oldham serves as lead associate pastor at Creekside Church in Pryor, Oklahoma. Learn more about the Church of God movement at www.JesusIsTheSubject.org.