Church-run Coffeehouse Provides College Students Alternative Secular Lifestyle

( [email protected] ) Mar 17, 2004 02:54 PM EST

A ministry at Trinity Methodist Church in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, is fighting the secular culture of college students who attend the University of Alabama from the ground up. They converted the basement of their church into what they called now, Quirkey’s Cyber Coffeehouse, which serves as an alternative to other common student hangouts such as the party scene and bars.

The church immediately sought to remedy the lifestyle of college students when they learned the school was rated as one of the top 3 party schools in the nation.

Alan Head, Pastor at Trinity, said many students turn such places as bars because they feel lonely and detached from the overwhelming pressures surrounding them during their campus life.

"It is such a large campus that it can be overwhelming," Head says, "and you begin to feel like you're all alone in that process of making those decisions.”

The coffeehouse was created to let students know they are not alone in their struggles, according to Head.

“So our hope is that, through ministries like Quirkey's, they'll know that the people of God are with them, that the church is with them, and that Jesus Christ is with them in this difficult time."

Buzzing with wireless internet, students can come to the cyber coffeehouse to do their homework or just relax. Head said the place has become a popular hangout for young college students, especially for those who are not involved in fraternities or sororities. Trinity Church, which has a congregation of mainly college students, also uses the café to outreach to more students.

Even those who were already Christians can find rest at the coffeehouse, which also provides small-group Bible studies several nights during the week. Head said even the Christians were “searching for their identity and what their calling in life is going to be” when they come on campus. The café helps to alleviate the students’ feeling of being “isolated”.

Many students have been able to reestablish their relationship with Jesus through the café.

"What I've begun to witness is that through this they begin to realize that Christ hasn't left them, that Christ is here in that crazy time," Head said.