Church Community Outreach through Books and Coffee

Madilyn Harrell

Many churches are finding new ways to connect with people, and a bookstore and cafe located within Ingleside Baptist Church has been serving the community since 2001.

Lead Pastor Tim McCoy wanted to provide people with a way to interact with one another before coffee shops and bookstores were popular among churches.

“I love that our church has made a space for this ministry,” Bookstore Ministry Coordinator Rebekah Rainer said. “It’s just another way to reach out to the community.”

Rainer has worked at the store for eight years and acts as a manager with a staff and 35 to 40 volunteers.

“It’s important to have places that people can actually come to connect with others and connect with resources,” Rainer said. “We provide that opportunity.”

Ingleside has provided this bookstore and cafe as a resource to both church members and those within the community.

“There is an opportunity to reach out to new people,” Discipleship Pastor David Peterson said. “There is still room for that face to face interaction.”

The bookstore has become more popular recently since the closing of LifeWay Christian Resources, which is now an online-only bookstore.

Rainer says the staff tries to be intentional with customers, both returning and new. She has seen people come from around the Middle Georgia area for the experience of buying a book in person.

“People want to come and shop at a physical location sometimes,” Rainer said.

The bookstore and cafe provides a space for coffee lovers as well as those who like books and home decor. Everything in the store is chosen carefully by the pastors and staff.

The location is used in many ways by the public and by the congregation. Rainer and Peterson said the most important thing is to provide a welcoming atmosphere for both.