How Character and Faith Are Built

The subtitle of this post is: Heath is more than a city in Ohio.

So, I’m not going to lie, it is rare a pastor doesn’t enjoy speaking. It’s part of the calling. I have had the joy of speaking at a short term missions experience built for teenagers called World Changers several times On these trips students pay a lot of money to sleep on school floors and repair homes for the less fortunate. See James 1:27.

The blessing to speak at one of these week long events it is to connect with students as much as possible at the event. You have this immediate flock you are attending to as much as time allows. It is a daunting task and an awesome privilege.

Last year as I was contemplating my exit from Jersey I knew I could not commit to speaking without knowing what my future entailed. As fate would have it I did not get asked, nor did I volunteer to speak in Neptune. Now, World Changers does a fine job of picking speakers. But, the control freak in me likes to know what our students are going to get from the pulpit. When you are that guy, you know. When you are not, you don’t.

When you lead such a big group to a WC you tend to be in the office quite a bit. As a result you get to know leadership and the speaker pretty fast. This year that guy’s name was Heath. Probably, in all my contempt, I was trying to figure out how effective he would be. I know, so shallow. But, my ego forgets God has all of this figured out. So, I wondered would this guy be effective? Would he challenge? Would he bore us? And then Sunday night he spoke.

When you are the worship speaker at World Changers you are given a template to follow as you speak throughout the week. This way all the devotional materials align with the messages each day. I saw Heath’s approach resembled mine right away. Sometimes, you can’t stay on script. Sometimes, it is more important not stay on script. Sometimes, the Holy Spirit is more important to follow than what is written in a curriculum. And from the first night, there was no doubt, Heath was listening to the Holy Spirit. It was incredible. I was blessed. Our students were blessed. The six hundred attendees were blessed.

Somehow, I knew Heath and I were going to be friends. Good friends. HeathYou just know when someone is on the same page as you in life. Heath pastors a church in Illinois. We don’t really have the opportunity to spend any time together. And yet, from a distance I feel like he’s ministering to me. Here’s why. Walking this journey these last nine months has been challenging in every way. There were times I needed to vent to someone who wasn’t caught up with I was doing locally. Heath listened.

There came a time I no longer knew what to specifically pray for and how to ask people to financially support The Roosevelt. Somewhere during this time Heath sent me a book about the prayer life of George Muller. You’ll just have to Google him and see the fruits of his faithful and confident prayers. As I read that book I counted on God in ways I had not done before. This led to revisiting patience in the Lord. Something, that I struggle with when I lose sight of His clear direction.

Then, fast-forward to the spring when Heath approaches us about helping The Roosevelt with this idea called Five Bucks Once. Again, to be clear, he doesn’t live near me and doesn’t have any attachments to The Roosevelt beyond the friendship we began last summer. And yet he decides to feature us in this simple program called Five Bucks Once. The idea is to support a ministry by giving as little as five bucks once. Or, five bucks once a month. That’s it. We are hoping that this really reignites people’s desire to give, to understand, and to partner with what we are doing. And we hope people realize there is never too small of an amount to give. See Mark 12:41-44.

So part of this post is to let you know about Five Bucks Once. But, the reality is; this post is about faithful friends. And Heath is just one of many. Those who have stood with us have come in many forms so far, by praying, by financially giving, by showing up at our house on Saturday morning for some free coffee, for volunteering their time at events, by doing everything they can in the social media world to advocate for what we are doing. Even by people connecting us to opportunities to be featured in local news rags.

I can tell you this, when you get a crazy vision that you know can impact the world your character is built by those who say you can’t. Your faith during times like this is built by people who say you can. I listen to the naysayers. I process their naysaying. But to survive, I can’t camp on those who say I can’t. I camp on the promises of those who say I can. These are the faithful. These are the ones who give when you think the well has dried up. These are the ones who text and say they are praying for you. These are the ones who like every status you post because of their love and support for you. These are the ones who are all in.

So, I camp on the faithfulness of those who say I can. I camp on the promise of God; who said that as long as I remain faithful in prayer and desire for His glory to be known, that he would show up.

Daniel 10:12 Then he said to me, “Fear not, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand and humbled yourself before your God, your words have been heard, and I have come because of your words.

He has come. God has shown up and God is not done showing up in all of this. It’s just going to continue to happen.

If you are reading this then you have some part in what we are doing. Thank you. And if you just discovered what we are doing in this post; thank you.

Join us. We don’t want you to miss a thing.

If you want to pray for us specifically; email me at kennysipes@gmail.com and put ‘How Can I Pray’ in the subject line.

 

 

2013 In Review. 2014 Come Along For The Ride.

As the year winds down, it is fascinating to see what God has been up to this past year.

Disneyland

In January, Jack’s drum skills took us to the National Association of Music Merchants convention in Anaheim, California. We made it a family adventure and partnered it with a trip to Disneyland and Universal Studios.

In February, Ethan and I headed to The Justice Conference in Philadelphia. Our good friends and former Jersey members, the Scribanos, graciously allowed their house to serve as our hotel. Obviously, as you can see by the previous post and our other social media platforms, The Justice Conference had great impact on us. Ethan’s heart for justice is similar to mine, so we bathed in the wisdom that was offered there. It was there that I was able to make connections that started to solidify what God was doing in this journey I am now on.

Emma Academic Honors

In May, Emma brought incredible, long lasting pride to our family by becoming our fist college graduate. She earned a Bachelor of Arts and was awarded Tiffin’s Art Department Honors Award. When it was all said and done she was invited to be a Grad Assistant for the Music Department at Tiffin and is now pursuing her Masters Degree. Wow!

The Well's Mission

Later in May, as my days at Jersey were coming to an end soon, my friend Dave and I road tripped to Nashville to explore. We stayed with people we didn’t know who treated us like kings. In those two days I connected and dreamed. I met with staff from Food for the Hungry and Blood:Water Mission. I met with the co-owner of The Well Coffeehouse and picked the brain of the guy behind Barista Parlor. Dave should be a great help with the construction of the The Roosevelt and seeing Barista gave him insight as to what I am thinking. My meetings with Blood:Water and FH have led me to partner with them.

May and June allowed me to coach Miles in baseball again and it was interesting to say the least. But, it did end up with him being the star of the All Star Team and being invited onto a Travel Baseball Team for the next year.

 

The Crew

Ministry highlights were many. First, to watch Team Handball continue to flourish even after I broke my thumb! I loved our annual Starved event and our crazy intense games. The series’ we preached through at GZ; 48, Badge of Honor, Holy Mess, and Everything Stays The Same But, all hold great memories for me. In May, I led my first Crossover event in years and had a blast with an incredible group of incoming 7th graders. Also in May, I sent off the Class of 2013. It was the fifth and final class I was privileged to see through all of their student years at Jersey. In June it was a privilege to lead the largest World Changers group ever to Neptune, NJ. It was awesome at World Changers to watch Todd and Andy begin to ensure the health of Jersey Students. And it has been nothing less than the glory of God that has allowed Taylor, Tyler, and Tori to smoothly move in and grow the Kingdom at Jersey.

The day after I got back from World Changers I flew to Portland, Oregon to meet with some visionaries. I traveled to Bend to meet with the founder of The Justice Conference, Ken Wytsma. I then traveled to Salem to meet with Steve Fowler, the Pastor of Salem Alliance Church, and the founder of Broadway Commons, a four-story community building anchored by a coffeehouse on the bottom floor. If you want to hear a good story sometime, ask me how that meeting happened. At that coffeehouse the manager coincidentally graduated from Lancaster High School and was obviously familiar with Central Ohio. He spent tons of time sharing the coffee industry and his passion for Stumptown Coffee. Which is in part why I have chosen them as our roaster. I then flew back through Chicago, stayed with my best buddy, and took an all day espresso lab course with Counter Culture Coffee.

July ended with the greatest send off a pastor could ever ask for. Honoring, God glorifying, family reunion-esque. Mad props to Todd Smeltzer for that.

August was the beginning of the journey. We began by taking a vacation to Washington, DC. The goal was to get refreshed for the journey ahead. We traveled to Hershey, PA and had an awesome time at Hershey Park. In DC we rented a houseboat for a steal of a price ten minutes from everything we would visit. We checked out Ebenezers Coffeehouse that is a plant of National Community Church. If you have read The Circlemaker, Ebenezers is the focus of that book.I met with management to pick their brain and of all things their manager spent four years in Hilliard, so she too was familiar with our area. Perfect.

So, what’s the story behind our name? Well, we took one of those night trolley tours of the monuments and as we walked through the FDR memorial, Lori was super moved by the quotes on the walls.

“In these days of difficulty, we Americans everywhere must and shall choose the path of social justice…the path of faith, the path of hope, and the path of love toward our fellow man.”

“I see one-third of a nation ill-housed, ill-clad, ill-nourished.” “The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.”

“We must scrupulously guard the civil rights and civil liberties of all our citizens, whatever their background. We must remember that any oppression, any injustice, any hatred, is a wedge designed to attack our civilization.

The words of FDR

“The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today. Let us move forward with strong and active faith.”

Lori says, “Are you seeing what these are saying? Those words are consistent with our vision”. And there you have it. We went on vacation and came home with a name. Not to say we named it after FDR, we named it after statements he made that still inspire. They led to the name. A name we feel is classy and memorable.

September to the present has been a learning experience. Praying. Applying for non-profit status. Writing bylaws. Registering names. Logo creation. Creating the website. Interviewing roasters. Branding. Looking at location after location after location. Praying. Board meetings. Being humbled by those who have supported the vision. Connecting and meeting with people for their insight, their wisdom, and their encouragement. Starting a capital fundraising campaign. (The Donate button is on the top left of this page, hint, hint). Applying and getting accepted to host The Justice Conference. And praying.

Join us as 2014 will be indescribable. Take a minute and watch the three minute video of our vision.

Our logo was designed by Josh Jack Carl, see his work here; http://joshjackcarl.com/

Our video was created by Caleb Sapp, his videos can be found here; http://vimeo.com/user18661396

And after twenty three years of putting up with my crazy way of thinking I tried to drive my wife to tears by looking back at our life in four minutes. It worked.

Great Coffee

We are looking to serve the best cup of coffee in Central Ohio. We know if we don’t have great coffee, we fail. Having great coffee is the core of who we are. Great coffee. Great mission. Great music. Great facility.

Studying coffee has been a full time vocation these last few months. And I still feel like a novice. It’s kind of like being a fan of pro football. You decide to run a team and you study every piece of game film that you can. You know the plays, the line ups, the substitutions, the adjustments, but you don’t have the team yet. You are an informed novice. This is where I am in the journey of choosing the right coffee. I have studied the film and the coffee playbook is almost ready to be put into action. It’s exciting. It’s nerve wracking.

I am a passionate, informed novice.

So, if you are new to specialty coffee shops. We will help you will learn brewing methods like Chemex, V60, and Siphon. They might sound like supplies in a chemist’s lab. I consider them more like artist’s tools. Crafting you the best coffee is an art. I am trying to make every cup of coffee you taste a memorable experience. This is your shop. I know you want it to be great.

I have contacted and received numerous samples from roasters all over the country. I am convinced we will be best served by brewing a roaster that does not have a presence in Central Ohio. This adds to our uniqueness and desire to be great at our craft. I hope to announce the roaster or roasters soon.

Shameless plug: Hit the Facebook Like button below.

 

Welcome to The

The name of our coffee shop will be The Roosevelt. The Roosevelt Coffeehouse.

It is the only name that we brainstormed that ever stuck. It is simple. It is memorable.

We hope you like it. Stay tuned for the whole story.

Here are links to the social media we have created.

Twitter: Roosevelt Coffee

Facebook: The Roosevelt Coffeehouse

Instagram: Search Username – TheRooseveltCoffeehouse

Two Important Notes: Still looking for location. Online fundraising campaign will start this month.

We are officially a business!

We are officially a business! Redeeming Injustice LLC.LLC

This will not be the name of the coffeehouse. We had to file for a LLC before we had landed on a name. So, we went with what I already have on my business card and the terminology that speaks to our overall mission. Redeeming Injustice.

Today I finished filing the non-profit paperwork with legal counsel. Between the Form 1023, additional question pages, financial projections, and by-laws we were at well over sixty pages. Picture filling out a 30-page tax form with questions you have never answered, much less heard of before. That was what was at hand. Tedious, but a great relief to have it completed.

We need prayer.

Prayer request one; is to have a quick turn around on the application process. The second we are officially a non-profit is the day we can go full steam ahead into fundraising. Without some funds, walking into real estate offices holds little, if any clout. Once, they see you and I are fully invested into this venture and can prove it with cash in hand, I believe the doors will open for a great location.

Prayer request two: Location. Because there is one coffee only shop on High Street in the Campus area , we feel the area is ripe for our place. We also believe college students will drink coffee, want a place to study, be interested in new music we will showcase, and want to support the causes we want to invest in. But, we want what God wants and if that is elsewhere that’s fine with us.

Prayer request three: That we would continue to dream bigger than what we can do within our own power. As, I have had more time on my hands, I find myself boxing my dream (His vision) in. Instead of “what if’s”, I am slipping into, “how could that be possible?”  When I do that, I restrict my dependence on Him. I begin to think I have to control it all for it to happen. And when I do that, the dream shrinks and the panic sets in.

Quick turn around on application. Location. Dream stays big. Thank you.

Next week I plan to share with you how you can begin to give.

If you have any questions, feedback, or encouragement, feel free to comment below.

The Simple What

There are many injustices in the world. And sometimes it all seems too overwhelming to address. What do we fight? How do I give? How do I know it is going to help what I want to see helped? Who do I give to? I care, I just don’t know how to engage.

What if we became the middle man for you? What if when you bought coffee at The Roosevelt Coffeehouse you were fighting and giving. What if you knew it is going to helping what you want helped? You do the purchasing, we’ll do the giving. That is what we are about. Being an advocate for those who do not have a voice. Taking our retail profits and building wells and latrines. Taking our profits and feeding people locally and internationally. Taking our profits and rescuing and restoring dignity to those who have been enslaved.

Supporting Organizations:

Here are organizations we have partnered with so far.

Clean Water – Blood Water Mission

Hunger – Food for the Hungry

Sex Trafficking/ Slavery – International Justice MissionInvisible Children, Exile International. Restore International, Gracehaven

Other Coffeehouses:

The idea of using a coffeehouse for this venture is not original. These are coffeehouses with similar successful visions.

The Well Coffeehouse – Nashville

Ebenezers – Washington DC

Broadway Commons – Salem, Oregon

Phoenix Community Coffee

Q Cafe – Seattle

Coffee Connection – Los Angeles

Thousand Hills – Atlanta

How’s the Coffee Shop?

Coffee ShopThe question I am most grateful for is, “How’s the coffee shop”?

That question does not have a short answer. So, here are some details.

First of all, thanks for asking. Every inquiry makes me grateful for who God has placed in my life.

The coffee shop plan is a long process. From, January until May, I was riding solo as a youth pastor. My primary ministry and job, was to care for my flock, Jersey Students. Although, I knew God was leading to something beyond Jersey it was not a time to pursue it. God had me at Jersey until July 31 and I was called to be totally invested in the ministry. I wouldn’t have had it any other way. The last few months at Jersey were some of my sweetest memories.

Because I was 110% invested at Jersey,  I had little time to plan for what was ahead. So, the rest of this year will be planning things like:

  • Applying for non-profit status (this alone could take months)
  • Making a business plan
  • Coming up with a name
  • Designing the logo
  • Finding a location
  • The building design
  • Seeking funders
  • Maintaining a website
  • Reaching out to the justice organizations we will partner with
  • Buying equipment, furniture, and supplies
  • Contacting roasters
  • Studying coffee, small business, and God’s Word as it relates to all of this

And, most importantly keeping you interested in partnering with me in this Kingdom work.

Hang in there with me. When it is all said and done we will be fascinated at what God did.

So, “How’s the coffee shop”? It is in planning phase. And you are a part of it.