Vineyard Stories: Coffee That Cultivates Community
In this article, Kendal and Justin Harden from the Vineyard in Campbellsville, KY share their story of starting a local coffee shop out of their passion to set a table for shared life, connectedness, creativity, and community.
Kendal & Justin Harden
Members, Vineyard Campbellsville, Campbellsville, KY
We, Justin and Kendal Harden, are thirty-somethings with little life experience. We love and serve our home church, Vineyard Community Church of Campbellsville, Kentucky. We have five exceptional children between the ages of two years and eleven years old.
We own and operate a small micro-roastery and espresso bar in the heart of rural Kentucky called Harden Coffee. Coffee was absolutely not on our radar when we set sail into adulthood, but we let passion take the lead and found ourselves in a unique flow of inspired and tired.
Let it be known, that while we do enjoy the elaborate nature of the third wave coffee movement, it’s not our love for the complexities of specialty coffee that fuel our fire; its our love for people. Community is our passion.
Community is why we took a sharp left onto an unmarked road within our life course. Leaving semi-fulfilling careers and trusting Jesus, we felt commissioned to serve our very own community in an unpredictable way.
We are netted within a unique strain of community – a group of people connected to Jesus in remarkably deep levels that generate revelation and risk like Old Faithful.
Eight years ago, a stirring began within our church community. The Lord was speaking and we were listening. Excitement and anticipation were growing and, almost rhythmically, people within the church began to start businesses.
Businesses that called out the barrenness of the town’s entrepreneurial energy deficit. People were partnering with the Holy Spirit and a bunch of doers and novices became business owners.
We opened our first brick and mortar in 2014, not with the intention of being a hip place for Christians to witness over a cup of ‘Jehovah Java.’ Rather, we felt like the space we created needed to be a table set for shared life, connectedness, creativity, and COMMUNITY.
I.e. People coming together and encountering conversation AND specialty coffee. With our efforts to include the essence of the Holy Spirit and represent excellence in a way we feel is available through the Kingdom of heaven, we set out on a journey to love and serve the people of Campbellsville. The elation we had for this city was reciprocated and we received much gratitude for our effort and risk.
Shortly into our daily grind (pun intended) we were awed at the reality that we had just skimmed the surface of the amount of community that is truly available within the world of coffee. The Lord prompted us to begin to explore the magnitude of our commitment. What we thought was a culinary adventure began to unfold into something more broad than roasting and serving coffee in Campbellsville, Kentucky.
The journey that coffee cycles through before being brewed and consumed is an effort an individual party cannot execute. The amount of labor and care that go into the crop requires a multitude of craftspeople; growing, harvesting, drying, processing, selling, importing, roasting, brewing and serving.
Coffee farmers, pickers and farm workers, in nearly 70 countries, tend to their crops and produce one of the most sought after commodities in the world. Coffee farmers are not always paid a fair wage or treated ethically. We are not settled with this reality.
Our focus on the local community evolved as we delved deeper into this awareness and now includes the global community. Our prayer is to stretch ourselves and business to serve the global coffee industry with the goodness of the Lord. To continue collaborating with movements that promote honorable wages and stability among farmers and producers.
Coffee presents an interconnected ecosystem that has the capability to propel developing countries, partnerships, and families.
The design of how the global community siphons into our local communities affecting us relationally, emotionally, economically, and spiritually cannot be discounted. A singular cup of coffee incorporates the labor of multiple communities in order to bring local communities together. We feel like making all parties involved within business transactions benefit from their hard work represents healthy Kingdom community.
Within the large scale of the global coffee industry or within our small town shop, community and coffee go hand in hand. Shared moments. Shared visions. Shared kingdom.
~ COFFEE IS CULINARY / COFFEE IS COMMUNAL / COFFEE IS ART ~
To learn more about the Vineyard in Campbellsville, KY, visit their website here.