StoryHouse is a coffee shop, micro bakery and new congregation making disciples among groups of people the church currently struggles to connect with.
Created largely as a response to the underrepresentation of those in their 20’s and 30’s in the churches of Crosby, StoryHouse adopts a fresh approach to mission and ministry that allows for the long journey to faith by creating a place to belong before believing and a culture where questions can be asked.
The Story So Far……
From vision to reality, the journey of StoryHouse has taken around 3 years. Arriving in Crosby as a Pioneer Curate in 2014, Dave Lowrie was employed by St Luke’s Crosby to create something new within the local community that connected with the dechurched and unchurched of Crosby. After prayer, words of prophecy and discussion, the vision of StoryHouse was imparted to St Luke’s Crosby, followed by a period of consultation with the congregation and a unanimous vote by the PCC to transform this vision into a reality. After months of fundraising StoryHouse was registered as a charitable company, the lease was signed in October 2016 and, with a lot of help from St Luke’s congregation and friends in the community, three months later StoryHouse opened it’s doors on Christmas Eve 2016.
Taking it’s inspiration from high street independent coffee shops, the decor, menu and music offer a creative and hospitable space for those who wouldn’t walk into a church building.
Taking it’s inspiration from high street independent coffee shops, the decor, menu and music offer a creative and hospitable space for those who wouldn’t walk into a church building. The coffee shop provides the base from which to offer events and communities ranging from the social to committed following of Jesus. The social space begins with the coffee shop and events such as live music nights, offering fun and informal opportunities to get to know people in the community. The next layer are the spaces to experience light-touch Christian spirituality like the ‘Story of your life’ course we’ve created that assume a general Christian framework to help people find meaning and purpose in life. The following layer offers Alpha style courses that seriously consider Jesus and what it means to follow him and finally at the heart of the community are the disciples that work in the café and those who gather at StoryHouse and in homes to study the bible, pray and worship together. Wherever people are at on their journey to faith StoryHouse offers a space where they can share their story and find their place in God’s story.
Wherever people are at on their journey to faith StoryHouse offers a space where they can share their story and find their place in God’s story.
The team of Evangelist Baristas and Evangelist Bakers consists of 3 full-time and 4 part-time members of staff as well as LML Lizzie Lowrie and Dave Lowrie in his role of OPM. Over the past few months the team has grown into a family who prays and worships together and has seen significant growth in faith and confidence amongst many of its staff. With the majority of the staff team in their 20’s & early 30’s they are exploring God’s calling for their lives, from ordination to the coffee industry, opening their own café to finding their voice to share their story. StoryHouse has provided training, support and opportunities for them to explore God’s calling for their lives as well as offering training in evangelism and encouraging a boldness when serving those who walk through the doors.
Coffee Shop and Church
Being a constant Christian presence in the community is one of the best ways to meet with those who don’t attend church as well as helping to understand more about the wider community StoryHouse is a part of. The team know the names of all the frequent customers, their favourite drink and are beginning to know more about their lives which is a tremendous privilege. These new and growing relationships have provided a fantastic foundation from which to share faith and invite people to events. This year StoryHouse has hosted different events to connect with people at different stages on their faith journey, these include weekly storytime sessions for parents and preschoolers, live music, coffee tasting, a 24/7 prayer room, Alpha and StoryHouse Sundays.
Being a constant Christian presence in the community is one of the best ways to meet with those who don’t attend church as well as helping to understand more about the wider community we are a part of.
StoryHouse Sundays is a new worshipping community of young adults and families not previously connected with existing congregations. Meeting midweek in homes and on Sunday afternoons for lunch, worship, teaching and prayer, this community was created by and for those who don’t connect with inherited models of church. The gatherings are informal and multi-generational, meeting around a table there is always space to ask questions and share stories. Missional from it’s inception, one Sunday a month is given to serving our local community in a more practical way, from beach cleaning to hampers for struggling families as well as being part of local community events.
Already fulfilling its aim to offer the best church coffee, StoryHouse is still just at the beginning of its journey. With the desire to explore what mission and ministry looks like for a generation largely missing from our churches, its vision is to have a gathered and growing worshipping community of mainly 20’s and 30’s led entirely from within.