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Con Café Ministry is a project designed to share the love of God to the neighborhood through authentic relationships and safe conversations in a coffee shop environment.
It started as a dream of the Portugal district. They owned a building space that was unused. In 2014, thanks to help from locals and work and witness teams, ConCafé opened. It now fills that building space in the neighborhood of Mercês, a suburb of Lisbon, Portugal.
It's more than a cup of coffee - ConCafé is a community hub. In partnering with local churches, missionaries, and people of mercês, ConCafé hosts such things as: used clothing exchange, kids event days, small groups, art groups, exhibition of crafts, groups going out into the community to distribute encouraging words, live music, help with homework, and church events. ConCafé functions strictly on donations (coins) from the patrons, most of whom are students who come for afternoon tutoring and enjoy home-made snacks and hand-crafted hot drinks. They have ministered to several drug dealers in the neighborhood, while at the same time trying to provide a safe environment for the students.
ConCafé has been operational for 5 years, led by a missionary who recruited local volunteers to help. She is transitioning to Germany and being replaced by a Brazilian missionary couple with a young son. The work of ConCafé has a good reputation in the community and a strong foundation. The time for expansion of the work coincides with the arrival of this young couple. It is our desire is that ConCafé will become self-supporting within two years.
Expenses for the work stem from caring for the national volunteers who help ConCafé operate. These volunteers are usually young people who are unemployed, we provide their train fare, and lunch, which is not much, but it adds up over time when it comes from our operational funds. An additional $1,000 a month would enable us to cover these expenses. Additionally, a house church/cell-group will be started with the intention of expanding to traditional church services. A building has been purchased but renovations and furnishings are budgeted at $20,000. This space, across from the coffee shop, will serve the new missionary family as lodging and provide a meeting space for the cell-group.
Additionally, the funds which the district has used to offset the deficit of the coffee shop will be reallocated to other outreach projects. Funding two years of the work of ConCafé will free funds to do more for the Kingdom in Portugal.
Our end-goal is not to compete with other cafes in the neighborhood, but to establish a ministry center for the community…which sometimes serves coffee. We want to build upon what has already been established.