When Rev. Braden Kok was called as a church planter to Granite Springs Christian Reformed Church in Lincoln, Calif., three years ago, little did he know he would end up running a coffee shop just outside Sacramento.
Origin Coffee and Tea was started several years ago by two local pastors as a way to fundraise for local groups that rescue people from lives of slavery. Sacramento is the second largest hub in the United States for human trafficking.
Kok took over as director of the nonprofit organization last fall and is now in charge of the 120 volunteers who staff the shop each quarter. About a dozen volunteers are from local CRCs, but the rest are from the community. Volunteers rotate every three months and there is no shortage of applicants—after a recent closure due to a burst pipe, over 150 people applied for the positions. The reopening also received welcome exposure when it was featured on the local news program “Good Day Sacramento.”
What does coffee have to do with church planting? “Origin has allowed us to help meet one of the greatest needs in our community, but it has also given a visible face to the church we are planting,” Kok said. “We are building relationships with over 100 volunteers every quarter, and over half of them are not Christian. Origin gives me a way to show them a vision of the gospel.”
Volunteer Aubrey Harper of Granite Springs CRC wanted to be part of the team that brings a welcoming environment to the community. “Volunteering isn’t simply a four-hour shift for me, it’s time dedicated to spreading both love and coffee.”
Fellow volunteer Scotty Tang agreed. “It allows me to use my passion for coffee for something bigger than myself,” he said.
Kok hopes to launch the new church in early 2016. He is also currently exploring the possibility of opening a second Origin location.