i have spent most of this morning looking at lighting and bar design for ground floor coffee. i am loving every minute of it and have found some very chic and incredibly cool things that you may all view on my ground floor coffee pinterest board if you, like me, love a good mood board.
however, some doubting thoughts starting swirling around in my head in the midst of my excitement. why am i doing this and putting all this time and effort into designing something that, genuinely, will be very cool and modern and london worthy, in bedford–and not even in the town centre–but in a community building at the edge of town? i got a little scared. will it be a waste of my time and my good ideas? will people find it? will they want to come out and see it? will they be put off that the community building also houses a church? i got nervous. then, i remembered why i want to do this well. why i want to give my funky, art house ideas to this coffee shop, in this community building.
most churches and community building have cafes now. you know the ones. plastic chairs and tables, cheap cups of mediocre coffee, cheesy names like HeBrews (no offence Bethel!) and Sacred Grounds. i mean come on, you can feel the cringe coming on. its bad. please understand that i have no judgement just a different point of view. and thats the thing. my god, the one i love and have chosen to follow, i have found, is not cringe worthy or twee. he is highly creative: trees and anteaters and those creepy deep sea fish with glowing balls attached to them, seriously people, who thinks this stuff up?! he also has impeccably high standards for design: read the spec for the ark of the covenant and the temple in the old testament. guys, his specifics and attention to detail would put any artist or architect to shame.
the architects and designers of cathedrals used to know this about god. they built their beautiful churches 1) to glorify god with their beauty and effort and craftsmanship and 2) because they believed that people, in seeing the beauty of the church itself, would see something of god. much like the queen of sheba, when she walked into solomon’s temple, saw the way his table was laid and how his servants were dressed and performed their duties (hello customer service!) and knew it was the lord. she then blessed the name of the lord because the excellence of design and service and beauty displayed at his temple convinced her of the beauty and reality of the god he served.
hello! why have we lost this? why have we thought that plastic chairs and tables and instant coffee will do? why are bad websites, un-thought-through logos and twee slogans the norm? why have we cut design, detail, art and creativity out of our evangelism plans?
these things matter! they matter to god. they matter to the creative people who do not know him. they are one–albeit of many–avenues of introducing the world to their loving father. let’s not forget this. let’s not assume it is unimportant.
this is why i am doing what i am doing.