Wednesday, July 3, 2013

A Neighborhood of Need

Starbucks at 122nd and Halsey
There are times when it feels as though God is silent, like the blessings and guidance are passive, and the words from God are from the Word. There are other times that God is bold and aggressive, speaking with clarity about a plan for his glory.

Tonight was one of those times.

A bit of background before we begin, I was asked to be part of a team to open up a new Starbucks store in NE Portland. I'll be leaving my store in downtown Oregon City for Oak Grove, where I will work for about a month before transferring to the new store in mid to late August. The store, which at the SE corner of the Parkrose neighborhood, is being planted as an experimental drive thru-walk up store with no cafe, and will be Starbucks' baby for the time being.

The intriguing thing about this opportunity is that it is an answer to prayer a long time in coming. Parkrose is traditionally a rough area, especially the northern end along Sandy Blvd and surrounding Parkrose High School, and is a part of the city that seems to get pushed under the rug in terms of outreach. That brings us to today's lightbulb moment.

For much of the time I've been with Starbucks, I've had the notion that I am to be instrumental in starting a Missional Community (or house church) made up of or including Starbucks Partners on mission to love a certain part of our city. Until a few weeks ago, I figured that place would be Oregon City, which is where I live and work. It wasn't until I was lazily scrolling through facebook and happened upon a post from Solid Rock, my church, about the launch of a new missional community in Lake Oswego that it dawned on me the door that was sitting wide open.

What better place to bring people together for the purpose of blessing and loving a neighborhood? And what better group of people than the young, vibrant individuals that work at Starbucks? My current store had four partners that all attended my church, how many more could be given this same calling? How fitting, that I am placed by my work into an area that needs God's hand that aligns so perfectly with the idea that had been placed on my heart years ago.

The mission still needs partners (literal, not just in the SBUX sense), a direction and ample amounts of prayer, but there IS a mission, and that in and of itself is the hand of God. Join me, if you would, in this quest - I don't leave for the new location for more than a month, but prayer support and ideas will be deeply appreciated as I make the first steps on this new Jesus-journey.

Apparently, it's supposed to look like this.

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