Along with all that God does, we are His testimony...
In 2004, Scott Heare, the pastor that was “called” into this journey, got the clarity of God’s mission as he was baptizing people in the Jordan River in Israel. He got swept away by the rushing water! While he was being pulled out of the waters by a friend on the side of the shore, God impressed this thought upon him “be people that pull others out of the white waters of life. Call this place Riverside and be people that always keep your feet wet on the sides of the waters. Then help pull them out of the tough circumstances of life.”
The Loft Coffee House
There was nothing "normal" about this church planting model that God had us in to start Riverside, or this ministry. This pastor, Scott Heare was supposed to create a "Shephelah". A Shephelah is a place in Israel where believers and non-believers gather to do life and commerce. The focus on the Shephelah is this: “who influences who in the Shephelah”? God wanted us to create a place for His love to influence others over the world's culture.
As Scott came home from Israel and prayed, he finally got clarity while sitting in a coffee shop and saw a sign that said “Coffee creates Community" He knew this was IT! Start the church with a coffee shop.
Over the same year period, God had been rising up a leader to do this very thing – start a coffee shop. On the same exact day in 2004, a lady named Jenny Rudd got the revelation “God wants me to start a coffee shop - I don’t even know how to make coffee”! The miracle was that they both told the same person, Courtney Garrison, on the SAME DAY!!
And to make a long story short, they met out in Spring Branch at the location that Scott had been drawn to, it was the exact dimensions of what Jenny had been drawing and a coffee shop was being birthed out of an old home! Though our location has changed over the last few years, our mission has not. We are here to love and be an influence in this community.
The Hope Center
Birthing of The Hope Center: At the same time, God had impressed on Linda Marceau, who was the one God had called to oversee Prayer Ministry for the new church, to keep $200 in her pocket every day. He impressed upon her that she would meet a significant single mom that couldn’t afford Christmas for her son.
While the The Loft Coffee House was being renovated and cleaned up to open, there was a single mom that had 3 college degrees, in a season of life where she was “hopeless emotionally”, and we hired her to clean the windows as she was just trying to make ends meet.
When Linda met this single mom, named Pamela Barquest, she knew that the $200 was for her! As they gathered to know one another, God birthed the idea of The Hope Center as a place for people in seasons of hard financial times to find hope and have their most basic needs met!
Hope And Love
We feel honored to be a picture of “real church”. Our purpose each day is to love God, and love His people as we love ourselves. As Christians, we are enjoying our relationships with Jesus out of the love, life and example that He gave for us. We get to wake up every day and love on people, have coffee while encouraging others and praying for those who need hope and love. We get to meet their most basic needs with relationship, food, financial sustenance and other critical resources. Isn’t that what the church is supposed to be?
The Hope Center continues to be a financially self sustained ministry due to the love and resources of community. Come join the mission - it's fun to be a part of something bigger than yourself!