The wait is over…Introducing Summit Coffee Culture!
This new ministry is very special to us and has been a long time in the making. The church we serve in here in Cape Town, South Africa, received a generous donation years ago with a suggestion it be used to open a café to serve the local community. When we landed last year, this vision was shared with us by the church leadership as we sought opportunities to serve. Well, that being right up Nate’s alley, he didn’t waste any time chatting with and getting to know people in the specialty coffee industry to educate him on how to get started and what it takes to run a coffee shop here. He knows how it’s done in the States, but wanted to know how to do it well in South Africa to meet the expectations of people here. This also required, our favorite part, visiting coffee shops and getting to meet roasters and figure out which coffee we would want use at Summit.
After the education, we still needed to figure out who would help us run the coffee shop. Nate would help, but would need another barista. But who? Crazy enough, one of the coffee shops we frequently visited who is now our roaster (Roast Wolff) at Summit, was closing their shop to focus on roasting. They employed a part-time barista and felt the responsibility to find work for him. He called Nate at the same time Nate was considering calling him to ask if he could offer their part-time barista a full-time position at Summit. This barista loves the Lord and wants to be involved in ministry. What an opportunity to invest and disciple another brother behind an espresso machine! Another consideration was a very gifted local barista from a recently closed restaurant, but this friend does not know the Lord. We needed a barista who could serve a delicious cup of coffee but would primarily show are share the love of Jesus. The Lord directed us to the first option as a better fit for the ministry and so we hired Uché, a sweet Nigerian man. He has been the perfect addition with a teachable spirit, and a heart for the Lord. When Nate and Black aren’t making espressos, they are studying the Word, sharpening and discipling each other and seeking the glory of God in our community.
We landed on South African soil in February 2019 and by God’s grace, Summit opened in the middle of November! We dreamed, if God would bless, we might participate in something like this in five years time. But God certainly had other plans. It has been such a fun project to experience, watching God put everything together. Oh the stories we could tell! We worked with member of the church who were designer/architects to configure a café inside the church lobby. We kept all the original seating and did several small renovations and updates to better suit a café, using a fraction of the gift previously provided.
It was best to have a “soft” open where we could work out some kinks before we threw a GRAND OPENING celebration. So after some time of working/changing a few things, training, getting signage/marketing materials, and organizing a menu we planned a grand opening celebration the March 6-8. Complete with kiddie activities, coffee demonstrations, drink specials, and giveaways, it was a great way to reach the community and kick off the coffee ministry. We met a number of new members of our community and there was a lot of excitement around the community, at last, having a space to gather and be together. Two weeks later, we had to close our doors as the nation went into lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic. After a long 102 days of lockdown, under strict regulations, we could open again and serve our community. Uncertain, but trusting God to continue all the work He had done to get us this far we did reopen Tuesday, 7 July. It has really been encouraging and surprising how many people and new faces have made their ways back into our doors again!
Lauren does most of the baking for the shop. She drags the 3 kids to the shop at 6:30 am to make muffins every other day. Other days, the kids are very excited to visit. We have a couple other vendors that provide meal options also. The parking lot is shared with a school with no cafeteria, so we see many parents, teachers and even students that come in for coffee or a bite to eat. There has been a demand for more food options so we are figuring out how we can manage the kitchen and the coffee bar.
Before lockdown, the Lord had already blessed us with fruit come from the coffee shop. The church was hoping to come up with more ways to reach the neighborhoods around it. The school next door also extends our reach further to people from outside the direct communities. The vision was to create a space for the community to gather and for Mountain View members to invite neighbors and friends for coffee and conversations around the gospel. Between our relationship with the school, offering specials to teachers, and working with the neighborhoods to send messages to over 1,000 residents, and printing 1500 invitations to the Grand Opening (with invitations to church on the back), we developed a decent flow of customers. The people in the community are grateful to have a coffee shop and cafe so close to home. We’ve seen three families start attending church, others participate in other ministries and a few others expressed interest in coming. So within several months God has been busy working in hearts!
The dream for this ministry is to see it become a trade and ministry school. For example, people could receive barista training and skills development alongside being equipped with theology and ministry training. The coffee industry is growing immensely here and there are many jobs available to those who have decent barista training. But providing skills and jobs is not the primary purpose. Rather, equipping those, like Nate has received, to minister to whomever the Lord brings across their path. We are hoping to begin that phase beginning of 2021 but the lockdown will most likely push that back. May the Lord’s will be done. We’re excited to see what God has planned with the coffee shop ministry in the months and years to come!
There are a few ways you can be praying for the work at Summit and for the Bell Bunch.
- Pray for the reopening of church and Summit. It’s been a very slow recovery after more than 100 days of lockdown. Many people are still very scared to be in public places. As of 15 July, South Africa as a whole had 298,292 positive Covid-19 cases. We are in a level 3 lockdown which means most businesses are back to work but with many regulations in place and wearing a mask is mandatory nationwide. These regulations may include a limited number of people in a shop, getting your temperature taken at the entrance, filling in your personal details at the door, and answering a series of questions about symptoms.
- Pray for Black, his wife Mercy and their children Jonathan, Enoch, and new baby girl Anita.
- Pray for the future planning of the next phase for the trade and ministry training school.
- We always hate to mention this, but its what keeps us here showing the love of Jesus to those in need. We have dropped to 87% support for a variety of reasons from increases in our insurance and the imaginable inability to continue giving for this season for others. Pray God will provide just what we need as we know He will. Contact us if you or someone you know would consider being a financial partner of the ministry in South Africa as you already are a prayer partner.
- Pray for our ongoing ministries such as life group and discipleship meetings as we continue to abide by the lockdown rules but also try to meet the needs of our neighbors.
- Pray for the Lord of the harvest to send workers. We foresee needing help in ministering to university students on campus to seeking experts of various fields that could draw up curriculum for additional skills in the trade and ministry school. We’d love to have conversations with those interested in church planting, theological training, or any other skills or gifts one might have and where God could perhaps put them to use in South Africa!