Who are We
Hey friends, we are Sophie (24 years old) and Benjamin Mierzwiak (29 years old). We are from the city of Mulhouse in Alsace, in the East of France. We grew up and started serving in our local church (Agape, Illzach), with the youth and through local events (Bouge Ta Ville, PULSE)
At the beginning of our marriage, 4 years ago, we wanted to train ourselves and go even further in this service for God. We did not know how, but we knew we wanted to do something practical.
While we were doing research, our friend Yohan Malapelle came to see us and communicated to us his vision to start a church implantation EPP (Eglise Protestante le Panier) in Belfort – France. When he left, Sophie and I looked at each other and we said to ourselves “that’s what we want”. It was through this decision that we decided to undergo training.
This vision for church planting was growing in our hearts. We prayed, fasted, and talked with our elders in the church.
We realized that God was opening doors for us. So we decided to start.
At the beginning of this project, we did not know that God was going to dramatically change us and make crazy dreams grow in our hearts. At the same time as this, Sophie and I had a project that grew in our hearts to open a specialty coffee shop that conveyed Christian values. During the second year of having this project, we visited several coffee shops in France to try to find an example and get an idea, but we found nothing that corresponded to our expectations and the dream that God gave us.
Until the day we discovered the 7VB Café in Marseille, run by Hannah and Nolan Tarantino. It corresponded to what we wanted and we decided we would do the same in Mulhouse.
In May 2018, Bjorn Lutke (Pasteur Founder EPP France) came to Belfort, he talked with Sophie and I, and in the conversation he slipped in the idea to come to Marseille for 1 year to train us in how to implement a speciality coffee shop, but also a church.
Here we were offered an additional opportunity to get trained even more. It was so hard at first to say yes because it required us to leave everything behind to live in Marseille.
As we began our Barista but also Pastoral (Global University + Dynamic Church Planting International – DCPI) trainings, we realized that our vision for a coffee shop and a church was confirmed and continued to grow in our hearts.
This is the vision which we would like to speak to you about in this email.
WHY A COFFEE SHOP WITH A CHURCH AS WELL ?
Do you know the common point between a coffee shop and a church? BRINGING PEOPLE TOGETHER. There are families, friends, couples, entrepreneurs, unemployed people … In short these two places have the ability to bring the world together.
In Jesus’ day, people gathered around the wells to drink water and also to hear about God. Today we believe this ‘well’ is a coffee shop.
Our desire is that this coffee shop-church is a place for everyday life where families and friends, can live a moment of joy, sharing and connection around a good coffee.
WHY MULHOUSE ?
Mulhouse is our hometown, and our heart continues to grow for this city which has a huge potential. But first of all, what we love most is the Mulhousiens. We want the city to know that they are loved by a God of love and a God who wants a relationship with them.
WHY ANOTHER CHURCH ?
This is a question we have heard so often in the recent months, and we have also asked because in Mulhouse there are already a lot of active churches that do a great job.
But as time went on we realized that there are never too many churches.
Moreover, the primary objective is not to preach for one’s own parish by setting up a church there, but to set up an additional opportunity for people to have an encounter with God, to realize that they are not perfect but forgiven.
DISTRIBUTION OF THE INVESTMENT
• Rent 12 months (in the center of the city)
• Renovation (interior décoration)
• Equipment (Espresso machines, Coffee machines for different ways of extracting coffee, cups, Stock Raw Materials…)
• Furniture (tables / Chairs / Bar / Shelf…)
When we launch a project like ours, the risks are not even for our partners, but more for Sophie and Me. Because we invest everything in it, our time, our energy, our passion, our Faith. Maybe at the beginning we will not see any benefits appear but I am convinced that over the long term lives can be changed with a coffee and a connection with God. Our challenges will be the time, search for volunteers, search for local partners (baker, fruit and vegetable merchant) What can be a risk and a challenge at the same time is the management of the unexpected, such as a local that we want and that is rented by someone else, or our suppliers who do not respect delivery times. .. Anyway we know that we have Time, an idea that is able to change the atmosphere of a city, and we are ready to take a risk.