The Big ‘WHY’ of Greyhouse
It was Sunday morning, February 24, 2008, at approximately 9:52am. I was preaching on the topic of engaging culture, building up to the big reveal that Campus House was opening a coffee shop. After the cacophony of “oohs and aahs,” I described what we envisioned Greyhouse to be like and the “big why,” the purpose for attempting such a daunting project in the first place.
I wrapped up the sermon with these words: “On the one hand it’s a big deal. A lot of time, energy, and resources have gone into this. It is new ground for us as a community, and it’s a great opportunity to experiment with mobilization and bi-vocational ministry. On the other hand, it’s not a big deal. It won’t redefine us; it’s just a natural extension of who we are and what we do as a community of Jesus followers.”
As I reflect now on those words:
On the one hand, we had no idea what a big deal it would become or just how much would go into this “experiment” over the course of 14 years. We had no idea there would be hundreds of Greyhouse employees and tens of thousands of Greyhouse guests. We had no idea God would blow us away by continuing to expand Greyhouse’s ministry through a major renovation, a multi-year pandemic, and a shop inside the new Campus House.
And we had no idea that there would come an opportunity to open a full restaurant in downtown Lafayette, the current Greyhouse venture set to open this fall! But, on the other proverbial hand, this latest iteration of Greyhouse is still a prayerful extension of who we are and what we do as a community of Jesus followers.
As our partnership with Ripple & Company came to a close in tandem with their transition to becoming a full-service restaurant, we began to talk and pray about the idea of opening our own space across the river. We recognized the unique ways that being downtown allows us to be a bridge to the wider community. It’s an incredible opportunity to create a context that is both an extension and an embodiment of the Campus House vision to become more integrated generationally and ethnically, as well as more participatory in our neighborhoods.
This new Greyhouse is designed to serve the downtown community and create rhythms of gathering for co-workers, families, and theater patrons. An expanded menu will offer delicious food options throughout the day, along with signature cocktails and mocktails and the trademark Greyhouse espresso. The sourcing, scheduling, marketing, and managing of three shops will also enhance a business model that is financially sustainable.
Ultimately, though, this new shop is a continuation of stepping into the “grey,” emulating the love of Jesus to our neighbors with thoughtful attention to excellence, hospitality, and deep care for the people on both sides of the counter. We can’t wait to share it with you!
Rob Schrumpf, on behalf of the
Campus House Staff Family