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Coffee with a Cause

Should the church be starting businesses to advance its mission?

I'm sitting at Ebenezer's - a coffee shop in Washington DC. That may not seem particularly remarkable, but this trendy meeting place represents the convergence of three social pillars - government, business, and church.

Ebenezer's is owned and operated by National Community Church. Often referred to as "The Theater Church," NCC meets at theaters located at three Metro stops around Washington. But the coffee shop serves as the church's headquarters. The upper floors are occupied by NCC's staff offices, and the basement of Ebenezer's is a multi-media venue where worship services are conducted as well as concerts.

The connection between the coffee shop and the church represents a growing trend of churches advancing their mission through for-profit businesses. Ebenezer's has been very successful for National Community Church. The business is thriving; it was even ranked among the city's best coffee shops. (Right now the place is quite busy.)

Mark Batterson, pastor of NCC, said the experiment ...

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