Plants hang from the ceiling in the jungle-themed Mission Café at the Bridge Bible Church in Bakersfield, California.
The café is designed to bring awareness to the church’s missionaries, says Connections Coordinator Debbie Gafner, who oversees the café. The coffee shop has been open for years, she says, but about four years ago it became the Mission Café.
“We post prayer requests for each missionary family, we have a map with their country marked, we have take-away cards with their photo and a little bit about them along with their specific needs, and we decorate with items from each country,” Gafner says.
One wall features a map with pins representing the locations of missionaries the congregation supports, while a TV displays information about the church’s mission teams on a loop. People can pick up missionary prayer cards. A canvas photo taken in India hangs on the wall.
Café supports local, international ministries
The café serves hot coffee and cold brew made from locally-roasted beans. Its sweet Vietnamese Coffee is the top-selling menu item, Gafner says.
In addition to coffee, the cafe serves breakfast burritos, fresh bread and brownies.
The cafe is only open on Sunday and is staffed in shifts by 40 volunteers. Sales support the Bridge’s general fund, except when missionaries visit. On those days, the café donates all proceeds to that mission.
On the Bridge’s annual Mission Sunday, the café serves items from the various countries and donates proceeds to the visiting missionaries. Tips also go to the missionaries as an added bonus.
Janae Rempel is the Christian Leader associate editor. She joined the CL staff in September 2017 with six years of experience as a professional journalist. Rempel is an award-winning writer, having received three 2016 Kansas Press Association Awards of Excellence and an Evangelical Press Association Higher Goals award in 2022. Rempel graduated from Tabor College in 2010 with a bachelor of arts in Communications/Journalism and Biblical/Religious Studies. She attends Hillsboro MB Church.