Let me introduce you to one of my favorite places in all of Lincoln. Only coming in behind my cosy Cape Cod and my workplace, this is my third home. Everyone, meet Destinations.
At 14th and New Hampshire, this auto-shop-turned-coffee-shop holds more than espresso beans and hot, frothy milk. It's a unique place. Why, you ask? Well, it functions on a day-to-day basis through the care and service of volunteer baristas. Yes, you read that right. With only three paid staff members, the rest of the work is done by individuals who make your drinks out of the goodness of their heart. (They're also the ones who sweep the floor and clean the bathrooms. So obviously, they do it for the glamor.)
Now, why would a place like this exist? Why would young adults volunteer here, when they could be spending their time and energy elsewhere?
As a volunteer of nearly three years, let me explain the special bond that draws together people of varying backgrounds and unites them to the mission of Destinations.
Those of us who serve as volunteers - even as our group continues to shift with each year - have a desire to create a warm, welcoming, and encouraging environment for students. We want to provide an extension of God's love to those who walk through our doors. There's something about greeting someone with a smile, asking their name, acknowledging their uniqueness, asking about their major, then serving them a handcrafted beverage, that can hopefully add joy to their day. It's only a cup of coffee, but it may be the interaction of the volunteers that make them want to come back, knowing that they are loved here - even if they don't know why.
The hopeful ripple effect of what this induces in the lives of students is what keeps us washing the dishes and wiping the countertops. It's a slow process - "relational evangelism," if you will - but it is good and worthwhile.
Consider the stigma of someone walking into a church for the first time, fearing judgement. At Destinations, we can welcome people with God's love in a way that is different - for one, it's less scary, and, let's be honest, it probably has better coffee.
What You Need to Know:
We welcome everyone at Destinations, not just students!
We have weird hours, since we’re greatly run by volunteers:
Mon - Thur 7am-12pm, 6-11pm
On occasion, we’re open Friday nights for Destinations Live (yay, music!)
We have free parking, which is a sweet bonus.
We want to know you - come meet us!
Photos provided by Allea Grummert and Duncan C