What should a church with a college campus down the street do with an empty parsonage next door? Cragmor Christian Reformed Church in Colorado Springs, Col., chose to renovate its parsonage into a space for college students to connect, applying for seed money from Ignite, a resource for CRCs to fund innovative ministries.
The church designated a team to flesh out how to effectively use the vacant house, at the time used for storage. They settled on the concept of a college “coffee house,” designed with ministry meeting space for campus ministries and the community—a “third space” to develop young adult community outside of the church building.
“It has a coffee house feel without being a coffee house,” said Todd Hilkemann, pastor of Cragmor CRC, of the updated facility for college campus ministries.
The renovation of the building, now called Church House, began September 2017 and took about a year to complete. Much of the demolition and renovation was performed and funded by church members, with help from an Ignite grant of $8,200. Hilkemann said the investment of time, energy, and resources by church members created a warm, welcoming destination for young adults. The building gets used three or four times per week for ministry purposes; in addition, three organizations ministering to the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs use the facility for office and meeting space.
The primary goal for this space is to provide ways for the congregation to interact with college students seeking relationship with Christ. Students have access to ministry leaders to meet and pray with them. Open coffee/lounge times for student fellowship are also available.
Hilkemann said the project’s short-term goals include deepening connections with community members in hopes of growing new ministries. Possibilities for the future include hosting music events or a new worship service geared toward college students.