Coffee, Community, Camaraderie

Kyra Vlach

As the sun rises over the sleepy city of Newhall on Sunday morning, the aroma of freshly brewed coffee brings the congregation of Faith Community Church to life.


Eagerly waiting for an iced latte with almond milk or a steaming dirty chai, members catch up with old friends and make new ones.


Faith Community Church has welcomed a new coffee ministry, Faith Coffee, offering specialty coffee and beverages to the congregation in between Sunday morning services.


Students at FCC are enthusiastic about this opportunity for fellowship and deepening relationships over a delicious cup of coffee.


“I’m actually part of the coffee ministry,” said college student Emily Robles. “I love it. It is a good way to serve [and] it brings a lot of new people too.”


When a donor provided monetary means for this coffee-involved ministry, Stephanie Smith, Administrative Director of Music at FCC, and her husband, Matt, were asked to play a major role in its startup because of their connections to those in the coffee industry and their love of coffee itself.  


“We talked to a whole bunch of people,” said Stephanie Smith. “ It took a couple months because it was a lot of groundwork, figuring out what it takes to develop a coffee ministry, and what equipment we would need.”

Kyra Vlach
The coffee bar 


Smith said all the little details lined up together at just the right time with just the right people, who were able to jump right in and serve.


“It was just neat to see how God brought all that together. And it all really stemmed from a generous donation from someone in the congregation that wanted to help create opportunity for fellowship,” said Smith.


As far as profit and proceeds go, Smith said that Faith Coffee makes only enough to sustain itself.


“We don’t want this to be a money maker thing, we want this to be a service that creates opportunity for fellowship. So the intent was never to make money,” said Smith.


However, Smith hopes that at some point the ministry will not only sustain itself, but also generate enough income so that the church can begin featuring a specific ministry or missionary family. The goal in mind is to have each months’ profits support that particular ministry.


“I think it’s pretty exciting,” said TMU student Emmalyn Backes. “Because, who doesn’t like coffee? And it’s for a good cause.”


Smith says the ministry was also formed with students in mind. For those in college or high school who might want to work in a coffee shop or as a barista, Smith suggests volunteering in this ministry provides the experience necessary for that.


“That was one of our hopes, too. [Students] are volunteering but also are building a skill that if they decide later they wanted to work at a coffee shop that they have already built some experience doing barista work,” Smith said.


Robles, who volunteers at Faith Coffee, says she loves how this ministry brings both older and younger members of the congregation together.

“I’ve grown a lot closer with older people from the church,” said Robles. “Everyone standing around and waiting for their coffee drinks are conversing together.”


Likewise, high school student Laurel Harnish appreciates how she can find all of her friends gathered in one place, catching up while waiting for their coffee.


“They need caffeine, because high school students don’t sleep and neither do college students,” said Harnish, waiting in line for her iced latte with almond milk. “It’s a cool place to hang out and it’s cool because I feel like less people come late because they know they can get coffee here and that they don’t have to stop for coffee.” 

Kyra Vlach
A Sunday morning at Faith Community


Smith said the response has been positive and that she has enjoyed seeing this ministry work to bring people together and further fellowship and community.


“Coffee creates an opportunity for that. The idea was instead of people stopping by Starbucks on the way to church or something like that, that they could just come and fellowship with other believers and get to know other people at the church,” said Smith. “In that sense I feel like it’s really ticked off all the boxes that the intent was for it to do.”


Faith Coffee uses Verve Coffee Roasters, a coffee roasting company based in Santa Cruz. Grace Baptist Church and Undergrounds Coffeehouse use them as well.


“We tasted it and really thought the flavor of the coffee beans was good,” said Smith. “They had some nice services that came along with their beans and that made them a good option.”


Coffee connoisseur and TMU student, Luke Hartung, suggests the taste and quality of the coffee even surpasses that of the coffee served in The Master’s University’s Trough.


“I like the dirty chai the most, but everything I’ve tried has been really good and pretty good quality,” said Hartung.


Hartung not only appreciates the coffee itself, but the social environment the ministry brings for college students and how it inspires them to get to church before and stay after the service.  


“It kind of encourages you to get there early, get your coffee, and get to really talk to people,” said Hartung. “I think that’s what I like most about it.”


Going forward, Smith hopes that the fellowship and community fostered by Faith Coffee only continues to grow.  


“Having good coffee is great,” said Smith. “But in my mind, it is a side benefit to what it is intended to create, which is really that atmosphere that builds fellowship and creates opportunity for that.”