Fresno church opens coffee shop to engage with community

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The latest blessings at Northside Christian Church in northeast Fresno come in the form of a new courtyard and coffee shop called The Frappe House. (KFSN)

Churches have long sought different ways to grow their congregations and one Fresno church is reaching out one cup at a time.

The latest blessings at Northside Christian Church in northeast Fresno come in the form of a new courtyard and coffee shop called The Frappe House. The intent was to create more than just a caffeine buzz among the congregation but the surrounding community as well.

"To create a spot where people could meet on campus that is non-threatening and just kind of hang out," lead pastor David Rutherford said. "It might be some people's best chance to have an introduction to the church."

Rutherford said the project has exceeded expectations. The church raised $2.5 million to build the coffee shop and surrounding courtyard where people will also enjoy music.

"We have a water feature during the week that we get to use here but also on weekends if we ever want to this water feature transforms into a baptistery so that water level actually rises a couple of feet in there on demand," pastor Jeremy Vanderlinden said.

The coffee shop will hold its grand opening Saturday night but it's been open for a few weeks now and is always busy.

"It has changed kind of the dynamic of the church," Vanderlinden said. People are hanging out 30 minutes to an hour after church."

"I think it's a big draw," Rutherford said. "We have a very small college group and I've noticed from a lot of churches in the area that's kind of an area where they struggle getting good numbers."

Rutherford said The Frappe House was intentionally made non-religious with no "higher" grounds being brewed here.
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