It is encouraging to see the impact of café churches in reaching unchurched people. In Europe we have a range of café churches. CaféKirken
(Copenhagen) was the first – and we honour the vision and inspiration of the planters Betina Wiik and Frank Rechter. Common factors in café churches include an emphasis upon prayer, small groups, spiritual giftedness and outreach. However, each café church is unique in methods and approaches.
CaféKirken is built upon prayer and Spirit-empowered worship.
Cottage Beck Café Church (Scunthorpe) is open a number of days each week – selling good food in a relaxed setting and providing a centre for a range of community activities. Uni&K (Utrecht) has the vision of reaching unchurched students. Korinta Café Church (Riga) is building bridges with the unchurched through café evenings, music opportunities, and ‘seeker services.’ CaféSEED – physically situated in the ‘café district’ in downtown Helsinki – is the home of three café churches: Finnish, Russian and English (international). Unchurched people and friends are invited to consider spiritual dimensions through a range of cultural evenings, seeker services, small groups, weekly Saturday evening band appearances, stand-up Christian comedians, etc. FOCUS (Boras, Sweden) reaches unchurched friends through small groups and their monthly ‘seeker service.’
In this NEWS we share ministry approaches being used in some of the café churches. Pray for these important plants. Support and encourage each other – and, share your ministry ideas with others.
CHURCH PLANTING NEWS – 10 June 03
Tea-CHURCH (Budapest, Hungary) – REACHING UNCHURCHED TEENAGERS
“We are reaching 30-35 people every week – and they are absolutely non-Christians,” says planter Peter Horvath. With a core group of 8 young adults Tea-Church is working for teenagers in Budapest, capital of Hungary.
“We have rented an apartment-office and have programs every evening of the week,” Peter says. These activities include language study (English and Spanish), Alpha courses, sport programmes, international nights, ‘oikos’
(small groups), and prayer groups.
Each Sabbath 2-3 interests join the core group for worship and a meal. “We started by using Peter Roennfeld’s manual on church planting – meeting every two weeks to develop our strategic plan, etc,” explains Horvath. “We started our programmes in February 2003. It is a hard work and takes a lot of prayer. We will need time. Our vision is to be a loving, caring, supportive church providing fellowship and inspiring worship for young adults in Budapest downtown. We hope to have our own cafe (or tea) house and to be open seven days a week.”
COTTAGE BECK CAFE CHURCH (Scunthorpe, North England Conference) – ATTRACTS PEOPLE WHO NEVER GO TO CHURCH
“Our aim is to attract people who would never enter a traditional church,” explains Cottage Beck Cafe Church planter Bryan Webster. “We started with a building fund and two local members. We purchased an old building with rooms for a church downstairs and a flat upstairs to provide income.” Before beginning work on the church building Webster knocked on doors all down the street, explaining that the building was going to be a church, and that he wanted it to be relevant to the local community. “On being asked about the needs of the neighbourhood, people were very ready to talk and many ideas came forward,” Bryan says. “People would like a place to go to relax, find friends, and spend time. Out of this came the Cafe – a church for the unchurched.”
Almost everything that happens at the Cafe is done by local, unchurched people. “At present we have four Adventists involved in the operation of the Cafe, and eight or more unchurched people who are committed to helping on a week by week basis,” says Bryan. “Apart from the Cafe itself providing excellent meals at extremely low prices in a lovely atmosphere, there is also a Youth Club, an Internet Cafe with tuition provided, music lessons, and a ‘Time Bank’.”
Bryan writes, “Our vision is that by working for the good of others, voluntarily, people will find the gospel through loving service.
Our motto is ‘Bringing love, life and hope to a renewing community’. Cafe Church has made many friends in Scunthorpe at every level, and is impacting the community. It has been encouraging to see people turning to God.”
(For more information go to <cafechurch.com>)
CORNELIUS Café Church (Oslo, Norway)
“Weekly attendance at Cornelius Café Church (Oslo, Norway) is 60 – 100 with up to 20% unchurched,” says church planter Harald Giesebrecht.
“Most members see themselves as evangelists, looking for opportunities to bring their friends closer to God and the church.” On May 24, 2003, Cornelius was organised as an Adventist Church with 41 members.
The inspiration for a café church came from the Copenhagen Café Church. Almost a year of planning preceeded the first public worship service on October 7, 2000. “Cornelius Café Church was born in a group of young adults in the Betel Adventist Church in Oslo after attending Willow Creek Conferences in 1997 and 1998,” The Trans-European Division and East Norway Conference provided training for Norwegian planters – and seeker-services started in the Betel Adventist Church.
“As of the moment we are a Networking church, inviting friends from all over the city to our worship and into our small groups,” explains Giesebrecht. “Special concerts and programmes often serve as a first entry for friends of members. People who come comment on the friendly, relaxed and accepting atmosphere and they also like the seating arrangement, the seeker sensitive worship and our childrens’ programme. We are still experimenting and discussing whether to settle in one of the suburbs and become a local church serving the local community or whether we should stay a networking church and start servant evangelism after the Model of Steve Sjøgren. Not having settled this issue is probably our greatest weakness at the moment. We are also working towards becoming a two-winged church where cells will play a more prominent role.”
SMALL GROUPS WITH A PURPOSE!
In the most recent issue of his Ministry Toolbox newsletter, Rick Warren points out that Saddleback Church has formed small groups which each focus on a specific purpose of the church. “We don’t expect every small group to do the same thing. We allow them to specialize: We have SEEKER groups that are formed exclusively for evangelism. They provide a non-threatening environment for non-believers to ask questions, express doubts, and investigate the claims of Christ. SUPPORT groups for the purpose of congregational care, fellowship, and worship . . . We have SERVICE groups that are formed around a specific ministry such as our orphanage in Mexico, our prison ministry, or our divorce recovery ministry . . . We have GROWTH groups that are dedicated to nurturing, discipleship training and in-depth Bible study. We offer about fifty different choices in curriculum. Some of these groups do a more in-depth study of the previous week’s sermon subject.” Rather than forcing everyone to conform to a one size fits all mentality, we allow people to choose the type of small group that best fits their needs, their interests, their stage of life, or their spiritual maturity. We do not expect every small group to fulfill every purpose of the church, but they must be organized around at least one purpose of the church.” (You can subscribe to Ministry Toolbox at no cost by going to www.pastors.com.) – PreachingNow Vol. 2, No. 21 – 3 June 03
www.pastors.com.) – PreachingNow Vol. 2, No. 21 – 3 June 03