More Than A Coffee Shop

My GPS decided that it would take me basically all over the city of Columbus, GA before arriving at my intended destination. In what should have been a twelve minute trip took almost forty-five minutes. All I wanted was a bagel sandwich and coffee. I was looking for a Coffee shop. 

I had heard about Midtown Coffee House from an article that I read in the Ledger-Enquirer, a local newspaper here in Columbus. The article spoke about some of the local coffeehouses in town and being new to the city, this really intrigued me. I set out on a journey to visit each coffee shop listed in the article as kind of a pilgrimage to find the best coffee, the best overall atmosphere, the best place for community, coffee, and good. 

As I pulled up to Midtown Coffee House, after searching for it for over 45 minutes, the first thing I noticed was its tagline, "Coffee-Community-Cafe". If you know anything about me, you know that "Community" is where I said, "ok, this is going to be interesting". I walked in and was immediately overwhelmed by the decor, the look, and the music. Am I hearing right? Is this Chris Tomlin playing? Is this coffee house playing Christian music? They were. And as I walked up to the counter to order, I was so overwhelmed by the atmosphere that I didn't realized that I hadn't looked at the menu when a friendly voice greeted me to take my order. 

Mike, the owner of Midtown Coffee House, had shared later during my time there that he and his wife had opened the coffee house late last year and their goal was really to create an atmosphere where there would be authentic community and good coffee. He and his wife are Christians and although the coffee house "isn't a christian coffee house", they are not afraid to make Jesus famous within this space that they've created. 

After dropping off my order of a Latte and Raisin Bagel w/ Almond Cream Cheese, Mike began to talk to me about the coffee beans that they use. 

In April 1994, Rwanda (an African country half the size of the state of Maryland) experienced one of history’s most atrocious genocides. In just 100 days, close to one million ethnic Tutsi and moderate Hutu sympathizers lost their lives to the hands of extremist Hutu militia.

The 1994 genocide that left so many innocent people either dead, orphaned, or widowed has now become a focal point of the global community. In the wake of civil war, Rwanda made a commitment to national restoration. The government called upon the church to lead the country in reconciliation and asked the outside world to support them as it looked to heal and eradicate poverty, disease, and illiteracy.

In 2005, Jonathan Golden, founder of Land of a Thousand Hills, recognized a simple and tangible opportunity to make a difference in the reconciliation of the Rwandan people. This realization led Golden to start a coffee company that pays a fair wage to the farmers of Rwanda, helps them with their basic needs, and brings a quality product to coffee lovers.

The introduction of specialty coffee to the healing fields of Rwanda proved to be an uncommon opportunity for once warring countrymen to not only rebuild their homesteads, but to work together toward lasting peace.
— Land of a Thousand Hills Coffee

After hearing this story, I began to take in the atmosphere at Midtown Coffee House from a different perspective. This was more than a coffee shop. This was a place of action. This was a place that aims to affect the community, the world, by serving one person at a time with love, community, and really good coffee. I spent the next few hours hanging out and working while watching the Mike and his staff take care of each individual patron. Someone would come in, and would immediately be greeted with a smile and intent to care. I'd watch Mike make his rounds to each table and engage in a bit of conversation here and share a smile there. This place was different. 

At the end of my time, I shot a text to my wife:

OMG new spot! Midtown Coffee House
— Me

It had become my new favorite place to spend time. I made a commitment that this would be my new Thursday place. As I got up to leave, I handed my empty plate to one of the team members and walked out feeling refreshed, feeling recharged. I had just watched someone do ministry; I had just watched a team be the church in a really cool and intentional way and honestly, had really good coffee!

Meiko Seymour6 Comments