Songbirds, Bicycles and Strategic Thinking
How to Lead Worship in the Community
It started 19 years ago, with a simple dream and a word from God.
Andrea and her husband, Kevin, had not been married long when they went on a business course together.
The aim had been to help make Andrea’s dream a reality – to see a coffee shop full of creativity and art.
She had been working for the church for some time when her pastor gave her a prophetic word from God:
“Now is the time for creativity and colour.”
This is exactly what she had been waiting for, so Andrea quit her job.
Together, Kevin and Andrea set up a stall in the local shopping centre, selling arts and crafts materials but the time wasn’t right.
The business failed.
Despite the word she had received, Andrea’s God-given dream didn’t appear to be any closer to becoming reality.
As is so often the case, life happened.
Children came along and, as Kevin and Andrea’s family grew, her dream was put on a shelf and almost forgotten.
Almost 18 years passed since then.
Their children grew up and still the dream lay dormant on a shelf in the recesses of Andrea’s mind.
About 18 months ago Andrea attended a leadership and discipleship course being put on by her local church in Southampton. During one of the lessons, the course leader was referring to the story of Jesus meeting the woman at the well. (You can read that story here.)
He asked the class: “Where is your well?”
In other words, where do you go where you can meet people and tell them about Jesus?
As a stay-at-home mum with teenage children, Andrea was challenged by this. In her heart she knew that she needed to find her well.
She needed to find a way to meet people outside her circle of Christian friends.
Outside the church.
Frustration set in as Andrea felt more and more trapped at home.
Then one day, whilst sitting alone at home, she whispered two simple words in prayer:
During the next few days Andrea became aware that a local ice-cream parlour was suddenly available for sale.
Dora’s Cups and Cones had been in business for a couple of years but was suddenly ready for new management.
It really was time now.
Kevin and Andrea took their savings and took a risk, and eight short weeks later, Dora’s Cups and Cones had two new, and very inexperienced, owners.
With a name change, new décor and a new line up of cakes, The Songbird Café was born.
Finally, creativity and coffee could come together and Andrea’s dream was coming true.
Over the next few weeks The Songbird Café started hosting arts and crafts evenings and adult colouring sessions, all accompanied by great coffee and delicious cakes.
Local artists and creatives find themselves gravitating towards The Songbird and use it as a regular meeting place.
Christian groups meet there, reaching out and bringing in those on the fringes of church.
One local mum had a dream of getting other parents together with their children to explore creativity in a fun and communal way. The Songbird has been able to provide a venue for this.
Andrea’s dream is now helping other people’s dreams come true.
There may not have been stories of spectacular conversions or miraculous healings but Andrea has seen God moving in her little coffee shop.
She tells stories of a girl who comes in every week for prayer, because she has learnt she doesn’t have to wait until Sunday when she can go to The Songbird café.
She tells stories of people bringing friends in for coffee and spending the whole time telling them about the love of God.
It has been a place of reconciliation and encounter.
A place where Jehovah Witnesses, Sikhs and Buddhists have come for coffee and colouring.
You see, Andrea doesn’t lead worship from the front of church.
She leads worship from behind her coffee shop counter, deep in the heart of the community, pointing the most unlikely of people to Christ through the way she runs her business and welcomes everyone in as family.
And she’s not the only one.
Just across the street is a bicycle shop…
(Part 2 of Songbirds, Bicycles and Strategic Thinking is coming next week. If you want to make sure not to miss it, please sign up for our newsletter by clicking here.)
P.S. If you like Adult Colouring or want to find out more, please do check out our resources page where there are links to some great Christian adult colouring books…