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Christian Living

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From Hit Songs to Roasting Coffee: Living on Crazy Faith

Chris Carpenter - Director of Internet Programming

For coffee drinkers, there is nothing quite like wrapping your hands around a steamy, aromatic cup of your favorite blend first thing in the morning. You cherish the quiet surge of happiness you feel as the richly dark hues in your mug fade to a robust tan upon adding cream. If you are a “real” coffee connoisseur you absolutely relish the jolting sting of coffee taken black.  

For better or worse, coffee has become more than just a caffeinated drink favored by cowboys, corporate executives, and stay at home moms looking for an edge. Coffee is more than a drink.  It is a savory experience.

On the heels of his latest album release Crazy Faith (featured in the movie War Room); singer-songwriter John Waller (“While I’m Waiting”) is a firm believer that coffee is indeed more than just a drink.  He thinks it is a prime tool for evangelism and discipleship.

With this in mind, Waller and his wife Josee have launched Crazy Faith Coffee, a coffee micro-roastery, whose aim is to provide great coffee and great stories that will hopefully point someone to a greater relationship with Christ.

I recently sat down with John to discuss his love of coffee, why he took such a bold step of faith to get into the coffee business, and how coffee can break down barriers in sharing your faith with others.

You’ve had a fair amount of success in the Christian music industry for the better part of 15 years.  How does a long-time singer-songwriter get interested in the coffee business?

That is a good question. You know, one thing my wife and I have always enjoyed about our day has been starting it out together with the Lord, with each other, over coffee. So we really have come to associate coffee with relationships and with each other, with the Lord. I think coffee is just something that goes with relationships. It goes with fellowship and that’s why so many people meet at coffee shops and have conversations. There’s just something about coffee. And globally, people love coffee. My wife and I been praying for something we can do together, and the idea actually came to her.  She kept hearing the word “coffee” for a whole year. God just kept speaking that word to her heart and she kept thinking, what in the world does that mean, coffee?  So one day when she shared that with me, it just hit me. I would love to do something with coffee, I don’t know what, but I just love coffee. I associate it with so many wonderful things in my life and if we could do something with coffee that would be incredible.  With my new album Crazy Faith I wanted to bring all that together and combine coffee with our story and other peoples’ stories.

Coffee has long been known as a great social lubricator.  In other words, coffee can serve as a go-between for anyone, to break down walls, to open up conversation between people.  It can serve as a great equalizer if you will.  Why do you think that is?

That’s great.  I think that is very true because a story of faith can kind of birth faith in someone. You hear a story of somebody else’s faith and the Holy Spirit can use that to ignite faith in you. If you want to target someone for ministry or evangelism, if they love coffee, and a lot of people do, then that’s a great way to get it to them and have them to be open to reading a story of faith and for God to be able to use it.

I understand every bag of Crazy Faith Coffee comes with an inspiring life-changing story inside.  Furthermore, the coffee is available in quantities of three (other quantities available too) to promote sharing these stories with people that you know who need to read these stories.  Can you explain how this works?

I actually came up with the idea of sharing stories in every bag of coffee, and a friend of mine suggested, “You need to put stories inside every coffee bag, and when people get their coffee for that month, they know there’s a story coming, and they’re going to open it up like a Cracker Jack box and pull out this package, open it up, and pull out this story.” So that’s the concept.  We’re sharing stories, and it’s a monthly kind of subscription-based business, so when people get three bags a month, they target someone to share their faith by sharing one of those bags. It’s like a two-to-one, you keep two and you give one. That way, you are always sharing God’s love through the gift of coffee.

Where do you get the coffee that you sell? I assume you’re not a coffee brew master, are you?

No I’m not.  We partner with a small roastery that is called “The Preacher and His Wife Roastery.”  They’re up in Wisconsin. They pastor a church but they also roast coffee. They’re a micro-roastery and they get the best beans you can possibly get from all around the world. After I did a concert in their area I started trying some of their coffee and I loved it.  So when my wife and I got this idea to do this, they approached us and said, “Why don’t we partner? We’ll roast, and we’ll ship everything. You just get out there and sell the vision to people. Market it, brand it.” That’s where my gifting lies.  So between my wife and I and our partners, we form a nice combination.

Can you give me an example of one of the inspirational stories someone might find in a bag of Crazy Faith Coffee?

The first story we are featuring is our own story. We’re sharing with everyone our adoption story which led to the song “Crazy Faith” being written.  That led to the vision of Crazy Faith Coffee. Another story is about a guy I met when I performed at a marriage retreat.  He shared his crazy faith story of how there was this gentleman’s club that had been an eyesore in his community for years.  It was just a sore thumb in their town, and one day he pulls over and picks up a homeless guy and gives him a ride.  As he’s driving past the gentleman’s club he felt led to pull in the parking lot. It’s during the day so nobody was there. He gets out of the car and just walks up to the side of the building.  He puts his hand on the building, starts praying that this place will go away in Jesus’ name, and just kind of speaks to it by faith that God will move this thing out of the way. Then he goes and buys this homeless guy a rechargeable cell phone just to stay in touch with him.  He does this to bless the guy. About a week later the homeless guy calls him up on the cell phone and said, “Hey, man, you’re never going to believe it. That strip club that you stopped and prayed over just burned to the ground, and there were two guys trapped right inside the doorway.  It was right where you put your hand on the building. That was the only part of the building left standing. Those guys were not harmed at all.” That is a great story. That is a story of crazy faith. Those are the kind of stories we will be featuring in our coffee bags. If you have a story like that, please share it with us.

The logo for Crazy Faith Coffee is an interesting one to say the least.  Can share with me what it is symbolic of?

It’s an airplane pulling a U-Haul over mountains.  It represents the impossible journey, and what someone’s crazy faith life can be. In my own life it’s been wherever we’ve gone, where God’s been leading us, it’s been crazy and it’s been impossible but only possible through Him. So you’ll never see an airplane flying over mountains with a trailer on the back, it’ impossible.  But with God it can.

It seems that this venture is as much a ministry tool as it is a business. What’s your ultimate vision for Crazy Faith Coffee?

Our ultimate vision is to provide just a new way to share incredible stories with lost people, and people who need to be encouraged. Not just lost people, but people who need that tipping point moment in their life to step out and trust God for something that they weren’t able to do before they read that story. Coffee is just a great vehicle to take stories to places that they would not otherwise get to go. And I just think this is going to be one of the easiest ways for someone to share their faith. If you know somebody who likes coffee, and it doesn’t matter how hard or lost they are, they will gladly thank you for a bag of amazing aromatic coffee. I mean, when you hold this bag in your hand that we have a vent on the back of and you just squeeze it and you smell that aroma, it’s fantastic. And all of a sudden you associate that with some story that’s just a crazy story of someone trusting in God.

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