well_house: a_church_planting_strategy

On Sunday, April 14, 2013 I announced that I will be stepping down from my position as youth minister to pursue planting churches.  I will do this through what I believe is a vision and strategy that God has given me to reach the disenfranchised, skeptical, marginalized, and anyone who is thirsty for a genuine discipling community.  This strategy will begin with planting a church within The Well Coffeehouse and then expand as new Well coffeehouses are opened in the future. After 16 years in full time youth ministry, I have decided to step out on faith and pursue this vision.  If you would be interested in being a part of this vision please contact me at rob@wellcoffeehouse.org. I would also be so grateful for your prayerful and financial support as my family and I take this leap of faith.  We will be stepping away from a salary and trusting for God to provide.  Donations can be made to well_house through The Well Coffeehouse by clicking HERE and will be marked directly for the support of  the well_house church plant.  The Well is a 501(c)3 nonprofit so all contributions are tax deductible. So what is well_house? I’m glad you asked… The following two paragraphs are reposted from my latest blog entry “THIS is the church?  Looks Like We Have A Problem On Hand”.  If you’ve already read this part, scroll on down for more. When I was a small child I first learned about  the meaning of “church” in Sunday school.  I remember we were all […]

Meet one of my heroes…

by Rob Touchstone In a letter to his grandmother, Dietrich Bonhoeffer penned a question that reflected his realization that he was living in a dilemma in which two identities could no longer co-exist.  He wrote to her, “The question is really:  Christianity or Germanism?” This question would call for decision. It would call for identity.  And it would call for praxis in a way few theologians had ever experienced. All theologians have been called in some way to put their beliefs into practice.  Many have been called to declare it publicly.  Few have been called to both apply it and declare it in such a context as Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s.  In one of his sermon’s on “Vengeance” Bonhoeffer declared, “It is an evil time when the world lets injustice happen silently.”  These are the words of a theologian devoted to pacifism.  That context alone is a clue into the ethical, theological, and historical dilemma faced by a theologian caught in the center of where theology meets practice. The life and story of Dietrich Bonhoeffer is intriguing to almost anyone who studies theology.  The ethical dilemma in which he finds himself is a case study for all who practice their faith and wonder what they would do if they ever faced the same circumstance.  Interpretations of Bonhoeffer’s theology are complex even without context.  While all theologians have a context that shape their theology, Bonhoeffer’s context is extraordinary.  The following pages will explore the theology of a man who was challenged perhaps as much […]

“Am I My Brother’s Keeper?” YES!!!!

A brief excerpt from a paper I’m writing on God’s response to the poor. This partially  explains one of the reasons I am passionate about opening The Well Coffeehouse.  I’d be honored if you took a quick read and offered any comments or insights. From the beginning God intended for man to care for His Creation. This “watch-care” included care for the animals and the land. It might be argued too that God designed Adam to care for his only “neighbor,” his wife, Eve. Eve is traditionally blamed for committing the first sin that led to the fall of mankind. The first misstep (or whatever one might wish to call it), however, was Adam’s failure to protect and to provide care when Eve was in need of intervention. Sin was introduced into the world and mankind inherited a fallen nature that would continuously struggle with one of God’s most essential desires: care for one another. Many things were inherited in the fall of mankind but one of the greatest struggles for mankind from the first days outside of the Garden until today is the social responsibility to care for one another. This is an inherited flaw that is seen in the firstborn son of Adam. Cain inherited a tragic apathy that is revealed not only in the murdererous treatment of his brother but perhaps more deeply in his response to God that asks, “Am I my brother’s keeper (Gen 4:29)?” The bigger issue here is why this was ever a […]

Where Theology Meets Community

Part 3 of the journey to The Well… The Well will be a place where theology meets community.  At any given time, a group of students or theologians or disciples might sit at a table inside The Well and discuss the mission of Jesus while seeing an opportunity to push away from the table and embody that mission.   There will be communal studies of Scripture with the goal being the embodiment of the theology being discussed.  What makes The Well unique is that, because it is literally a “gathering place” like where Jesus met the woman at a well,  theology can be put into practice in the moment as “real” people from the community come in and out of the doors looking for “living water.” Let’s consider the implications of this for a moment.  You could be sitting in The Well discussing Jesus’ words about the poor and at any given moment have an opportunity to put those words into practice when a poor man walks in the door.  You might be discussing Jesus’ teachings about the inclusive nature of the kingdom and at any given moment have an opportunity to embrace the person who walks in the door who doesn’t look like you.  You might be sitting at a table discussing compassion when an opportunity walks in the door through the broken heart of one who has been rejected and abandoned.  These are just a few of the many ways that The Well will think locally about mission. […]

Turning Coffee Into Water

The Well is a strategy to establish a missional coffeehouse in the Green Hills community.  For more on that, see my previous entry here. Why the name?   The Well represents the mission of meeting people where they are just as Jesus did when he met the Samaritan woman at a well  in John 4.  The name also reflects a vision of being a place where the “living water” of Jesus is served.  The Well symbolizes the place of gathering in community.  It is a place where lives are shared.  It is a place where conversations are had.  It is ultimately a place where Jesus hangs out with “living water” in hand. The Well coffeehouse will be a community.   We will facilitate community through creativity, service, and mission.  It will be a connecting place. It will be a place where people will hang out during any time of the day or simply stop by to pick up coffee or a snack. Why a coffeehouse? There are several reasons. The first has to do with a very large number. $18 billion.  That how much we, in America, spend on – you guessed it…coffee. Americans consume 400 million cups of coffee per DAY. The National Coffee Association reports that 56% of adults living in the United States drank coffee EVERY day in 2006. There are plenty of other things that Americans spend money on such as: $65 billion on…jewelry. $31 billion on…pets. $13 billion on…cosmetic surgery. But coffee is more than just […]

Introducing…The Well

You may have recently heard some talk about “changing the world” and “coffee” flowing throughout my social media outlets.   I am extremely excited to be able to go public with news of a vision that is getting close to becoming a reality. About 4 years ago I asked myself a difficult question.  What would it take to truly embody the presence of Christ IN the community and the world?  I passionately wrote about 15 pages of a dream to change the world through a missional coffeehouse.  The vision had been inspired by The Shaping of Things To Come, an incredible book I was reading at the time.  But I didn’t know how to do it.  All I knew was that the “how?” was God’s department. Three years ago my good friend Brian Holaway and I collaborated our visions.  Together we dreamed to start a missional coffeehouse that would seek to take the money that people spend on coffee and give it away to the poorest, most oppressed people in the world.  It would be our way of trying to live out the many things in the Bible that God has to say about the poor and the oppressed. This would not a be a typical non-profit because it would revolve around more than a business.  It would be about a shared community seeking together to change the world one person and one cup of coffee at a time. After much work it became clear to us both that the timing […]