How coffee ministries help teach teens and young adults

Whether your church has a full-service cafe or a simple coffee hour, these fellowship times serve as an important hospitality offering that encourages bonding and growth. But coffee ministries also have another meaningful purpose: providing youth with life skills that set them up for future success.

Volunteers often run these social gatherings and it's typical to see teens and young adults manning coffee stations, passing out drinks and other goodies, and cleaning up when everyone is finished. Youth that volunteer not only feel good about making a contribution to the church, but they are also learning a lot.

Here are six critical life skills young people can learn by volunteering for their church's coffee ministry:

1. Responsibility

Working coffee hour is a small taste of what it's like to have a real job. You need to know what days you're volunteering, for how long and be proactive about being there on time. The church community is relying on you, and that is an important responsibility.

2. Money management

If your church sells extras like pastries or light snacks, taking money and providing change is an essential part of the job. Even if coffee hour is free for members, there's still the necessary purchase of coffee-hour supplies such as cups, beans and accompaniments.

3. Teamwork

Youth will be working together for a common goal. Each may have different responsibilities but everyone is important. If there's a break in the chain, coffee hour may not go smoothly or happen at all. Teamwork is key and there's sure to be plenty of camaraderie. The group may even get their very own picture in the church directory, which can be a big source of pride.

4. Problem solving

How many people are expected? How much coffee should be brewed? How will we efficiently serve guests? What if we run out? These types of questions challenge youth to think outside the box. Whether it's planning ahead or dealing with an issue, volunteers must stay positive and solve any issues.

5. Communication

Teens are often known for hiding behind their smartphones. Speaking to others, particularity older adults, can be intimidating. Whether taking orders or cleaning up tables, coffee-hour duties require communication. Volunteers gain poise and learn respect as they provide stellar customer service.

6. Confidence

Church is about growing in your spiritual faith, and by working on a coffee ministry, teens learn to have faith in themselves, too. At a time when young adults are learning who they really are, these experiences challenge them in a supportive environment. When they see they can succeed, it's a huge confidence booster.