Where Theology Meets Community
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. Much more will be said soon about the local mission.
The Well will also be focused globally as a training ground to develop models of addressing poverty. Ways of bringing sustainability to poor communities will be explored. Social injustices will be challenged. The Well will serve as a staging area to change the world.
The Well will be a non-profit who does “business” not only ethically but with a mission. This mission will be to change the world through coffee. This will happen through those we buy from, those we sell to, and those we seek to rescue from poverty and strife. The Well will intentionally seek out poverty-stricken places and situations in the world and seek to bring “living water” there. This will take place in many, many ways. We will sponsor the building of wells for those needing clean drinking water. We will seek to address communities in the world where people are dying of starvation. We will partner with organizations to support poverty-stricken adults and children around the world. We will seek to break the poverty cycle in poor communities. The Well will encourage opportunities to sponsor children, to adopt children, and to “go into all of the world” to rescue them.
We will seek to be a missional community. All who buy from The Well will be participating in the mission. When you buy a cup of coffee at The Well you are investing in the mission. You do so knowing that the price you paid for something, that you could have bought elsewhere, is actually going to make a difference in the world. This is one of the distinguishing principles that will set The Well apart from others. In short, The Well will exist to make money for the purpose of giving it away. It is consumption with a purpose. As the consumer consumes, he or she will be consumed in the mission. Think about that one for a while.
The Well might be thought of as a modern day “Robin Hood” who seeks to “take” money from those who have it and give it to those who do not. Coffee is the means through which this process will be facilitated. It facilities the “taking” of money, but not in a deceptive way. Large amounts of people have shown that they are willing to pay a premium for coffee. The Well will take what is given in this premium and then give it away to the poor. Customers will know that as they consume they are helping to feed, to clothe, to provide, and to facilitate the process of getting “living water” into the hands of those in the world who are holding an empty cup.
The money will be given with great purpose and intentionality. Local and global communities in need will be carefully investigated and researched in a way that allows The Well to truly provide help. This will not simply be sending a check. The Well will be involved in a very intentional, hands-on process. The consumer community will share this mission. The Well will constantly show where a customer’s money is going and give consumers a chance to “go.” A person will be given a chance to see how “this cup of coffee” is helping “this child” to eat today. That seeing might be through the maps, pictures, videos, and letters we will display on the walls or it might be through an opportunity to go and see in person.
For some, the investment might be through the simple purchase of a cup of coffee. For many, however, it will go beyond coffee. The Well will be a hub for mission, a launching point to go into “all the world.” For those who wish to go, The Well wants to send. Some will seek to be the hands of Jesus feeding people in a poor village or a poor suburban neighborhood. Others may be the feet of Jesus carrying water to a poverty stricken village or walking the streets of downtown Nashville. Some of The Well’s consumers may become so consumed that they wish to go and live among the people The Well is supporting. You get the point. The Well wants to do more than send money. We want, as a community, to be the body of Christ that goes into all the world.
The Well will certainly have enormous challenges and could only be successful through the work of the Holy Spirit. Ongoing prayer, discipleship, discernment, and encouragement will be crucial to the mission. The great adventure will always focus on participating in the Kingdom of God that is present through Jesus. This mission will drink deeply from the wellspring of Jesus. Out of the “overflow of the heart” the heart of The Well will speak and offer life-giving water. “The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let him who hears say, ‘Come!’ Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life” (Rev. 22:17).