Snobby, reactionary, exclusivist emerging churches in coffee houses.

Emergingchurchboxchocolates-2-2“In one country I visited an organization that used coffee houses as a means of reaching the untapped generation. New converts were required to sign a pledge that they would not join any church. They would meet together for Bible study in their coffee house, have prayer meetings, and try to carry on the same functions of a church. The organization itself became a reactionary church, its members parading around saying, “We’ve got something better than the rest of you have.” They snub their noses, as it were, at those who are the church “squares.””

David and Don Wilkerson, The Untapped Generation, pg 204.

That book was written in 1971 but there are still some a few emerging churches in coffee houses that snub their noses at the rest of the church and, thankfully, there are many more who do not. Our coffee-shop church experiment in USA, way back in the late 1980’s, got pulled by the elders of our Evangelical Free Church because they didn’t really understand it. But later efforts in the nineties found a better balance between staying connected with the traditional and enjoying the “third space” atmosphere of an emerging church in a coffee shop.

If you are interested in the 40 year journey of the emerging church, then come and hear me speak at Greenbelt Festival this month on “The Emerging Church is like a Box of Chocolates”

Related: Emerging Church in 1970 and Emergent Church in 1980

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Andrew Jones has been blogging since 1997. He is based in San Francisco with his two daughters but also travels the globe to find compelling stories of early stage entrepreneurs changing their world. Sometimes he talks in the third person. Sometimes he even talks to himself and has been heard uttering the name "Precious" :-)


  • I need a copy of whatever it is you talk about so I can pass it on to Phyllis and a few others. Thanks bud. Really wish I was there. BG

  • had the pleasure to hear about some really vital cafe/thirdplace/church ventures this weekend. it’s all still so energizing. we are moving in that direction locally.
    please make sure you post whenever you are going to be coming round the toronto area. i would love to hear some of your experience first hand.

  • its not necessarily an emergent movement but i just helped put together this website for a friend –
    organic churches based in coffee houses around the world – could be a great movement.

  • nice looking site, johnathon. it would be great if we could start geotagging the coffee shop churches and then get a mapping program to see them.

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