The first week of school is over. After welcoming students on move-in day and getting to know them as they went to and from University orientation events, we start to get a lay of the land. I’ve met so many awesome new people and would love to have any of them around with us for the next four years. And in the midst of all the craziness we already do, we started a new initiative with Illini Life…

Taking an idea from other Collegiate churches, last spring we set in motion the decision to hand out free coffee to Illini this school year. We had a small team that went to Pittsburgh over Spring Break to help our sister church there (H2O) as they reached out to students. Our team got to experience the joy of handing out free coffee first hand. The people they interacted with were blessed by the free drink and a genuine loving conversation.

So they came back and presented the idea to our staff team. With careful thought, we decided we would go forward with this direction. Over the summer, this meant researching, purchasing, philosophizing, and envisioning. And yesterday, Friday, we handed out our first free cups.

250, to be more specific.

The connections we made were genuine and beautiful. And for the non-coffee drinker, we offered lemonade. We were able to establish a presence, and I can’t wait to see who we get to bless, meet in the future, and see who would come to know Christ, all because we first handed them a cup of coffee.

Our heart is truly to bless the students of Illinois and to increase our reputation as a church. We get to invite people to what we do as well as give a good cup of coffee away. Oh, the coffee is so good! Working with a Christian coffee ministry to source beans from a farmer named Jorge Serrano in Honduras, we’re able to tell the story of our coffee and of our God.

I can’t wait to see how The Lord uses this ministry to bless our church and the U of I campus!

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