Higher Groundz Coffee + Tea
Many ministries and churches have struggled to find ways to provide outreach during COVID-19. How can people be welcomed in when most areas have restrictions on visitors? Zion Lutheran Church in Maryland Heights has found a unique way to serve its congregation and its community: a coffee house.
Recently, Zion started a project to add an accessibility ramp to their fellowship hall which is in the basement. Rev. Mark Femmel, pastor at Zion, explains how the project grew: “Originally the plan was to create accessibility for the fellowship hall so that everyone could reach all areas of the building... now that we have this space, we’ve been entrusted with it, how can we use it to reach more people?” Ultimately Zion found that the most popular idea was to open up part their building as a coffee house.
But the $750,000 to get the 1947 fellowship hall renovated and up to code for a business serving food was quite a number. Zion ended up doing internal fundraising, receiving a grant from the Lutheran Foundation of St. Louis, and working with the Lutheran Church Extension Fund to help them realize their goal. Higher Groundz had its grand opening August 4, 2020 to great success.
“We’ve already had so many conversations to non-Christians... We have a family that comes every morning, not Christian, but that we get to greet and say ‘hi’ to. There’s someone else that’s really struggling that has started coming to [Zion]... it’s so exciting to see God working... That’s what the coffee, tea, and smoothies, really is all about- it’s a way to reach people.“ - Rev. Femmel