So I took a pretty big step last week, and I’m pretty doggone excited about it. For the last four years I’ve been a bi-vocational pastor. Since planting RiverChurch in 2010, I’ve worked in the coffee shop biz. I started as a “back-bar” (busboy) at one of Chatty’s best coffee shops, and later ventured out with another coffee snob and opened Cadence Coffee Company, where I have worked as manager and a self proclaimed Pastorista. I have loved the opportunities to meet people, make their drinks, and hear their stories. Some amazing conversations and relationships have been started over a cup of coffee or double shot of espresso.
As Cadence has grown, so have the ministry opportunities through RiverChurch, and our Saturday Church worship experiences, not to mention some pretty exciting developments for further ministry here in Chattanooga. With the increase in opportunities I realized that it was time to put more time and energy into my role as a pastor. So I have stepped out from behind the bar and over to a table. I’m still at the shop pretty much everyday, but now I’m able to focus more on ministry and less on managing. I don’t really see this as going “full time into ministry,” because, well. . . I’m a follower of Christ which is, in my opinion, full time ministry.
So what that means, exactly, is that I am no longer working as the manager at Cadence. I’m still part owner along side of my coffee snob buddy, Brian, and I’m at the shop just about everyday helping make the larger decisions that will affect the overall business, but the day to day operations, are now in the hands of a very capable team of baristas and shift managers.
I have to tell ya, that I am so excited about this opportunity. It truly is a step of faith. Our congregation has taken a significant demographic shift in the last six months, and so has our operating budget for RiverChurch. Our family has had to make some significant adjustments financially so I could make this transition, but of this I am sure; God is our Provider.
This change has given me the opportunity to tighten up on my priorities God, family, then ministry. I guess that sounds a little odd coming from a pastor, but any person who works full time as a pastor and at another full time job, knows how challenging it can be to keep those priorities in line. I’m grateful for a godly wife, who has endured these four years and the challenges that we faced as a result of bivocational ministry, but who was the one who looked at me a month or so ago and said, “What are you doing? You know you need to make a change, don’t you?” This is a huge step of faith for her as well.
So, although my day to day schedule has changed, (I don’t gotta be up at the crack of dawn), and I’m not behind the counter as much as I used to be. You can still find me at Cadence, doing what I love: drinking coffee and doing life with people whom God has put in my life to love, encourage, and cover in prayer.
I guess you could say I’m a little more pastor and a little less -ista.