One of the most unique spaces about LifeSwitch is our cafe environment. We love it. We have incredible volunteers who pour a lot of time, talent and energy into it. We firmly believe that what happens in the cafe is just as important as what happens in the auditorium. That’s why we keep what happens in the auditorium to 60 minutes. So you can take the time to enjoy the cafe environment as well.
The cafe space was an intentional design in the building layout to facilitate this. We wanted more than a foyer. More than space to walk through, but a place to linger. A space where the crowd that comes would take steps towards becoming a community.
The biggest challenge we face when it comes to our cafe, is how it’s different from every other cafe. When you walk into a cafe, you generally order your drink, maybe a bite to eat, then look for a seat. This is where it’s different. We naturally, if alone, look for a seat where we can sit alone. If we are with a group, we look for a table where we can sit together and away from others. However at LifeSwitch we want the cafe to be a place where people connect. Where people are getting to know others. Where the crowd becomes a community. Where introductions are made. Where common ground is found. Where stories are told, sometimes repeatedly. Where people are not looking to sit alone, but to sit with others. Where people are continuously asking others to join them. Ideally this will happen both ways. People will ask others “please join us.” While other people will be saying to those seated “can we join you?”
This is where we need to break the mould. This is where we need to be different from any other cafe people will enter. We want people sitting together, not sitting separately. We want people to connect. We want a community to be built.
We all have a part to play. We want to be intentional, not just accidental. Just as the building was built with intentionality, we want to use it with intentionality. For a crowd to become a community, we all have to be community builders. We are either building community, or we are blocking it. That’s a strong statement. But I stand by it. We are either building it or blocking it. When we stick to ourselves, when we don’t invite others in, when we don’t ask to join and we stay on our own, we become a block to creating community. Yet when we seek to include others, we are instantly building community.
Be intentional. Think differently from the way you do every other time you enter a cafe. It won’t come naturally, yet you’ll discover it is worthwhile.
Thanks for being a builder and refusing to be a blocker!