Slower is Actually Better (it’s upside down)

Reblogged from “Jones in Utah” October 2020 Newsletter

The Solid Rock Cafe is not your normal coffeeshop. It’s probably upside down from any other coffeeshop you’ve visited. Jesus ushered in an upside down Kingdom on earth and that has formed the vision for our coffeeshop. Nobody is on payroll for the Solid Rock Cafe. We do not open our doors with the hope of making a financial profit. We are not interested in franchising. Despite customer requests to put in a drive thru window, we choose not to. When a customer forgets their wallet or their card payment is rejected, we offer to cover the cost for them. We are more interested in having conversations than selling food and drinks. As a matter of fact, when we have too many customers coming in, we stop advertising. Sounds crazy, right? Why do we do this?

Although we do strive to make high quality specialty coffee drinks and very appetizing foods, the motivation is to represent Christ in the best light to those souls God brings through the door. Our aim for heartfelt customer service with genuine care and compassion is to give our customers a taste of Jesus’ love. We do seek to lay up treasures… but in heaven! When the lines get too long even after ceasing our promotions, we pray for God to slow things down so we have ample time to build relationships and start spiritual conversations in order to continue in making disciples for Christ. 

This past spring before COVID-19 affected our coffeeshop ministry, we were in that place of praying for God to slow things down. When the pace continued to ramp up in early March, we decided to raise our prices. Yes, you read that correctly. If you’ve ever been to the Solid Rock Cafe, you have noticed that our prices are low. We keep them low because we live in an economically depressed community, and we serve primarily poor college students! Plus, we do not charge sales tax because we are nonprofit, so our customers benefit there, too. This means that raising our prices is one effective method for slowing down business and increasing ministry opportunity. Again, we know this sounds upside down, but as we hope you can now see, this is a delicate balancing act for our Cafe Manager, Shane! If we have too many customers, lots of coffee is made, but we have little to no spiritual conversations. We wanna keep the main thing the main thing!

So, we raised our prices in early March and God answered our prayers, but not how we expected. He drastically slowed things down with… the Rona! Interestingly enough, with the Snow College campus closed for the rest of the spring semester, God gave us more opportunity to connect with our regular customers from the community who can sometimes be overshadowed by all of the student presence. 

Then, when Snow College started back up face-to-face this fall, we forgot we had raised our prices right before the Rona had hit (as all of us in the US know, there were a lot of distractions this summer that aided in our short memory span). Out of the gate we were in a conundrum because we were noticing the Rona had slowed our foot traffic, but our revenue was still as high as it was back in the busy part of the spring semester. We were scratching our heads wondering if God was doing some kind of miraculous loaves and fishes thing, and then we remembered, “Duh! We raised the prices last March!” That said, although things have been slower in the cafe, we are having more spiritual conversations than we have had in years! Direct answer to prayer! We have so many stories we could tell that it’s hard to pick what to share with you. We praise God for His faithfulness to continue bringing the lost whose hearts are being softened.

This is one of my favorite mugs

NOTE: Tri-Grace Ministries & The Solid Rock Cafe is where my son, Mark, interned (Fall 2018) and where he met his future bride, Jade. I never imagined that Mark would meet the love of his life in Ephraim, Utah; but God knew and His plan was perfect.

For more on The Solid Rock Cafe & Tri-Grace Ministries, check out On the Mission Field

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