A Shepherd Boy, A Stone, & Two Balloons

IMG_5470In my previous post I shared how much I couldn’t wait to reveal the future location(s) of The Well Coffeehouse.  I’ve been so excited to reveal what I thought God was speaking through the two balloons that I launched on that cool, rainy day in October.  And now I can tell you one of them.  You perhaps get to help shape what He’s writing on the other.  But first, let me let me tell you a story….1453702_10151820882287099_1579577959_o

Two years ago I started drawing circles.  I’d read in a theology book about a 1st century rabbi named Choni The Circle Drawer.  The story became popularized in Mark Batterson’s recent book, The Circle Maker.  During a season of devastating draught in Israel, Choni took his staff and drew a circle around himself on the ground.  He then declared, “God, I will not leave this circle until you send the rain.”  God sent the rain.  The story is much richer and fuller than that (see here for the full Choni story) and I was moved by the boldness of Choni.  I had never talked to God that way before.  Not yet.

A few years ago, I believed God had given me a vision for a coffeehouse that could change lives globally and locally.  I wanted to create a space where people could be loved into His kingdom.  I wanted to make money only to give it away to the poor, the impoverished, and the thirsty.  I wanted to change the world!  There was only one problem.  I had no business experience.  None.  Zero.  I’d never even taken a business class in my life.  My degree was in youth ministry and I was finishing a Master of Divinity in theology.  To put it mildly, I had no business starting a business.  I felt like a little shepherd boy.  No experience. No expertise.  Only a dream in hand.book-large

But God has a way of using shepherd boys.  He once took a shepherd boy who refused the traditional armor and sent him into battle to take on a giant.  And that boy had only one thing he needed.  A stone.

After sharing the vision of The Well with my dear friends who became The Well team we had a bold vision.  But again there was something lacking.  Funds.  We prayed for God to show us where to open The Well and how to get there.  converting a burger king to a coffeehouseNot long after, we were told about an opportunity to lease an old Burger King near Lipscomb University that had been closed for years.  It seemed like the perfect spot to get started.  But it was going to take a lot of money just to get off the ground. And we had none.  I repeat, NONE, as in ZERO.   That amount of money felt like a giant.  And I was reminded I was nothing but a shepherd boy.

So we prayed.  But not just a “Dear God, please help us” kind of  prayer.  We prayed circles.  Bold circles.  One night a couple of us decided to pray literal circles around the old Burger King building.  I was really excited. I’d never prayed like this before.  I was ready.  I got some chalk out of my kids’ toy closet and I was ready to go change the world.  I got there about 10pm and started praying boldly as I walked around the building.  “God give us this building, not for my glory but for yours.  God let this be a kingdom business that will save lives by giving water to those dying of thirst.  God let the people who enter this building come in for coffee but walk out with Living Water. ”  And then I took out my chalk.  This was my Choni moment.

Rob & Chris make first ever cup of coffee at The Well
Rob Touchstone and Chris Soper enjoy the first two cups of coffee ever made at The Well Coffeehouse.

I got down on my knees and began to draw my circle. I couldn’t help but wonder what I must have looked like to anyone driving by.  I kept thinking I was going to get arrested for loitering or looking like a drunken fool.  “Um….yes sir officer I’m just drawing prayer circles around this old building because I want to change the world, that’s all.”  Fortunately no one saw me.  At least not that I knew of.

But then it happened.  My chalk ran out.  Epic fail.  I had such good intentions.     I was going to draw a circle that would change the world!  But I didn’t even bring enough chalk.  Way to be prepared.  I was immediately reminded of my inadequacies.  No business experience.  No money.  And not even enough chalk. prayer circle I drew around the building that is now The WellAnd then I saw it.

As I bowed my head in defeat, it was right beside my foot.  A stone.  That’s it!  Who needs chalk!  I excitedly grabbed that little stone and got back to work.  If I thought it was hard to get on my hands and knees and draw with chalk, this was ten times harder.  Now I was scratching the pavement with all of my might just to get the marks to show up.  But it was working!  I prayed, I scratched, and I crawled.  A shepherd boy with nothing but a stone in hand.  And the giant fell.

I fell to my knees after I got the phone call two weeks later.  It was a donor.  I had very sheepishly (pun most definitley intended) asked him to help us to fund the startup cost needed to open The Well.  I hated asking for money.  Not just a little bit.  A lot.  But God prompted me to ask, and this amazingly generous friend called to say, “this is what I’d like to do…”  (You know who you are dear friend and I am still amazed by your generosity.  The Well wouldn’t exist without God providing through you.) I hung up the phone and knew The Well was going to become a reality.  And it did.

One year into our journey we were told by our landlord, “There’s a very good chance this building is going to be demolished…soon.”

Artistic rendition of the high rise that will be built on The Well's current location.
Artistic rendition of the “giant” that will be built on The Well’s current location.

Several months later, we looked a giant directly in the eyes.  It was true.  Our building was sitting right on the spot where a developer wanted to build a new high rise residential/retail center.  How’s that for a giant?

We prayed.  And we prayed more.  We prayed boldly.  We prayed circles.  Challenge after challenge came our way.  I could have never imagined how difficult it could be to find a location we could afford.  Time was running out.  As of November, we were down to a month until our demolition date and we had nowhere to go.

And then the rain finally began to fall that would fill The Well with just what we needed.  First it was time.  They extended our stay in our current location by 2 months.  Then came not one incredible opportunity…but two. And now with nothing more than a small stone in hand, this little shepherd boy is happy to announce that The Well has a new home.  Up, up, and away!

And what about that second balloon?  Let’s just say I can’t get it off the ground without YOU.  I come to you as a shepherd with nothing but a stone.  Enjoy the exciting news…and read on to see how you can help us launch another amazing opportunity!

AFTER A LONG JOURNEY, WE ARE HAPPY TO ANNOUNCE…

 

THE FUTURE HOME OF THE WELL COFFEEHOUSE!

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The Well Coffeehouse is excited to announce that we have signed a long-term lease to inhabit a space in the brand new Shops at Seven Springs on Old Hickory Blvd!

The Well Coffeehouse has officially signed a long-term lease in The Shops at Seven Springs!  We’ll be inhabiting a new 2100 sq ft space in a brand new shopping center in one of the busiest parts of Nashville!  Our new store will be located just east of I-65.  We are so blessed that we were offered the opportunity to lease this space and so grateful for your support.Screen Shot 2014-02-05 at 8.18.31 PM This location is strategically positioned to help us take our missional nonprofit coffeehouse to another level of being able to make money for the sake of the impoverished. And we look forward to continuing to serve Nashville what we believe is the best cup of coffee in town.   We’re finishing design work now and you’re going to love the look!  Look for the same rustic, organic, and earthy decor that has become our trademark but with some big improvements!  And of course, look for all the things you already love about The Well…and much more!

Our goal is to be open by the end of April.  We can’t wait to share a cup of coffee with you in this incredible new space!

SO WHAT ABOUT THE OTHER POSSIBLE LOCATION?

Again, all I can say is…we can’t do it without you.  And so I came to you once again as a little shepherd boy with nothing but a stone in hand.  Here’s the need as I’ve written it on The Well’s webpage.  If you feel led to give, we’d be so deeply humbled.  Pray circles with us.  Let’s take on this giant…

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  For the past year, we have worked hard to find a way to stay in the Green Hills community but there has not been a location available with a monthly lease we could afford.  Until now… Lipscomb University (half a mile from our current store) has approached us with an opportunity that would allow The Well to stay in our current community.  Pizza Perfect (a business across the street from Lipscomb) has decided to close their doors for good.  Lipscomb has the lease on the property and is offering a very favorable sublease to The Well.  We would very much love to inhabit this space and keep our presence in our current community.  In order to do so we must raise $75,000 in startup costs in the next two weeks. Should we meet our goal of $75,000 The Well would be able to open in this location in mid-March, the same time we must be out of our current location (which will be demolished).  This would keep us from having to close for any period of time and allow for a seamless transition. As our loyal customers, we’re asking for your help in reaching this goal.  We simply can’t do it without your support.   Our team would be grateful for any amount you’d be willing to share with us to help expand our vision.  As a coffeehouse in our infancy, we believe we’re just getting started as we seek to change the world…one cup of coffee at a time. We want nothing more than to continue to reach our global community as we provide clean water for the impoverished and to reach our local community by loving and serving.  Thank you sincerely for helping us to do both.  Love.  Coffee.  The perfect blend.   Donate to The Well HERE

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