North Americans are frequently stirred awake by the pleasant aroma of a percolating coffee pot.
Ironically, the smell of roasting coffee beans is not as alluring.
“Roasting coffee beans actually smells like burnt popcorn, and it smokes a lot—kind of like when you pour water on a campfire,” explained Ryan Sidhom, church planter and pastor of River City Church in Vancouver, Washington. “You have to keep a close eye on it and tend to it regularly.”
Sidhom had been a coffee fan for years, but his love for it grew when he moved west to plant River City Church.
“I loved coffee for several years, and then I moved to the Pacific Northwest and fell in love with it even more. I realized just how good coffee could be, so much so, that I began roasting my own coffee,” said Sidhom.
If you talk to Sidhom, there would be little doubt of his love and fascination for the art and taste of good coffee. But as good as he’s found it to be, it’s evident there’s something greater that stirs his affections. Ultimately, he wants Christ to be known, and one way he’s committed to doing that is through church planting.
“Around the time we were planting River City Church, we were praying with our team, and God impressed on my heart to pray toward planting 32 churches in 20 years,” said Sidhom between sips of coffee. “That’s impossible if God isn’t behind it. Our team continued to pray about it, and we eventually believed God was calling us to chase that goal.”
Sidhom knew planting 32 churches in 20 years would not be cheap, so he spent hours one night brainstorming creative fundraising methods.
“I went to bed that night frustrated because I hadn’t had a breakthrough idea yet. But that night I had a dream we roasted our own coffee and shipped it to our partners who wanted to support church planting while drinking great coffee. And in my dream, we even had the website, churchplantcoffee.com. The next morning, I bought that website domain for $7.”
Six months after their team prayed about making this their vision, God provided them with a building assessed at $2.6 million.
“I believe God looked down on us and said, ‘That’s the prayer I want to hear.’ A prayer that’s impossible to see accomplished if He’s not in it. With this building, we now have the ability to host eight residents to equip and send them out to plant churches,” Sidhom said.
Every dollar Church Plant Coffee makes supports church planting and River City Church’s vision of planting 32 churches in 20 years.
“Our plant is almost two years old. We hope to plant our first church in our fourth year. And we pray we can plant our second church in our eighth year, which we hope is around the time our first church plant will be planting their first church.”
In some ways, roasting coffee beans is like church planting: you have to keep a close eye on it—and endure smoky, acrid moments—but the result is delightfully glorious.
Click here to read about how River City Church served their neighbors during the pandemic.
Published March 17, 2021