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Coffee with a Cause: How a DC Coffee House Became a Modern Well of Redemption


WASHINGTON – Most trendy coffee shops talk about their beans, roasters or free WiFi but not Ebenezers Coffeehouse in the nation's capital. 

The D.C. coffeehouse is owned by National Community Church, a multi-site church that meets in theaters around the Washington, D.C. metro area.

"Our slogan is 'coffee with a cause,'" said barista Troy Stevens.

"The cause is a Kingdom cause," explained Mark Batterson, lead pastor of NCC.

NCC purchased the building in 2006. Back in 1908, the building started as a diner, located across from Union Station to serve train travelers. Years later, the diner closed and at one point the abandoned building even served as crack house.

"Turned that crack house into a coffee house and I think that back story is not just a fun back story, but it's a picture of what I believe God does in all our lives. He takes those broken places and brings healing," Batterson told CBN News.

That healing is now a part of the caffeine routine that keeps D.C. going.
"When people walk in, they think they are walking into a coffee house, while the reality is they are walking into an answered prayer," said Batterson. "The idea comes from scripture believe it or not. Jesus didn't just hang out in the synagogue – he hung out at wells. Wells were natural gathering places in ancient culture. Coffee houses are modern wells."

The postmodern well serves millions of people a year and all profits go to mission trips.

"I like the cause and what it goes for: support mission trips and further the cause of Christ," said customer Kevin Wood.

One mission aims to help a new generation strengthen their faith. Thanks in part to coffee sales, the DC Dream Center opens soon to inspire kids and push them to their God-given potential.

"People begin to dream again when they see this new building coming up. I hear it all the time – people come up and ask, 'Is this for us?  Is this really for us?' Yes it's for you. This is for the community – this is what the Lord had done," said DC Dream Center Director Ernest Clover.

The center features a basketball court to build friendship and teamwork. It can also be used as a meeting space and even for prayer, which will continue in the center's new classroom, dance studio and computer lab  -- all of which are free to kids in need.

"This is our dream wall," said Clover. "We want people to write a dream, pray for a dream or somehow become a part of a dream they read off of here."

Each coffee customer plays a part because their purchase helps a kid in need find their way through faith.

"They don't get to hear that, 'Oh well, God did something for me? I never thought about that to me – a lot of our ministry is having dialogue with people," said Clover.

"I have a little formula: the Holy Spirit + caffeine = awesome," said Batterson.

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