Every day we move closer to our dreams of planting Credo Houses everywhere.
Hmmm . . . Where is the next one, you ask? First, let me let you in on the vision for the Credo House.
What is a Credo House?
Let me refresh your memory of what the Credo House is and what I dream at night after the kids are asleep (because before they are asleep, I just dream about them going to sleep!).
The Credo House is a theological coffee shop, book store, and belief-strengthening events hub. In it, you will find the walls literally dripping with theological meaning. We hope to provide a safe and neutral (i.e. not directly connected to any church or denomination) environment where people can learn, fellowship, study, and just hang out under the banner of truth and grace in Christ.
Here in Edmond, OK, the Credo House serves as a hub and a model for future Credo Houses. For the last two years, we have been “testing” this out. For 701 days (give or take) we have been adjusting things ever so slightly to make it more effective in our purpose of uniquely impacting our community with the Gospel of Jesus, helping people believe more today than they did yesterday.
Two Defining Characteristics
Let me give you some insider information about how Credo House(s) wants to be seen and used:
1. Credo House Fellows: This is the “scholar” of the Credo House. We want to be seen as a central Evangelical hub of intellectual viability, creating the evangelistic background music for our faith. Therefore, the Credo House “Fellow” serves as a “pastor of belief,” being trained in theology, biblical studies, and/or apologetics. They are responsible for facilitating all Credo House events having to do with growing people’s faith. They are the “go-to” scholars of the city for pastors and lay-people alike.
Responsibilities of the Credo House Fellow:
- Be available for “Belief Counseling” for those whose faith needs to increase.
- Regularly facilitate and/or teach programs such as The Theology Program, Bible Boot Camps, and the like.
- Organize, schedule, and facilitate “Coffee with Scholars,” where an Evangelical Scholar will visit the Credo House, speak, sign books, and hang out with local guests.
- Provide continuing education for local pastors. This will involve networking with local churches and providing their staff with education and discussions on the latest issues in theology.
- Write and develop, contributing to their area of expertise.
- And, yes, work behind the coffee bar every once in a while!!
The key characteristics of the Credo House Fellow will be grace, kindness, patience, love for the city, and scholarship. The later without the former will not do. So this is a very particular type of person we are talking about.
2. Best Coffee Shop in the Area: This is the primary bridge from the outside in. The average person will come into the Credo House knowing of our reputation for serving the best coffee and having the best environment for hanging out, meetings, and study. All coffee will be done the old-fashioned way. Baristas will be internally trained. They will excitedly hand people a Nicean Mocha, fully able to tell of its namesake’s significance.
All the Credo Houses will have a similar look and feel, but also have elements that are unique to their city. For example, all Credo Houses will have a “Wall of Theologians,” though the theologians represented may differ slightly. All Credo Houses will have a heretics corner, a Cappidocian Bar, a modest book store and extensive theological library, serve Luther Lattes and the C.S. Lewis (Irish Cream), and have a robust A/V system for live events. However, each Credo House will have one area that is particular to it. The one here in Edmond has the “Wall of Reformation,” showing the castle doors of Wittenberg with the 95 Theses hanging on them. However, another Credo House might have an area devoted to the History of the Bible, the Martyrs, the Scholastics, or to modern theologians. We might even have walls devoted to the life of one person like Jonathan Edwards or C. S. Lewis. The point is that while all Credo Houses will have the same general look and feel, each will have its own unique characteristics too. Therefore, you can (and should!) collect t-shirts from each Credo House you visit.
Types of Credo Houses
There will be two types of Credo Houses that are unique in various ways while sticking to the same basic vision.
1. College Town Credo House:
These are Credo Houses the will be placed in college towns, facilitating students’ fellowship and faith stabilization. It can be a central hub for Evangelical campus organizations such as Campus Crusade, Young Life, Baptist Student Union, etc. As well, it will be a great place for students to come hang out and find stability for their faith during what can often be a trying time intellectually. The “Fellow” at this type of Credo House will normally have more of an apologetics (defending the faith) background and expertise.
2. Urban Credo House:
These will be placed in urban areas, especially downtowns. The focus of these Credo Houses will be a mission to unite local churches in strategic planning on reaching the city for Christ, with an emphasis on local church networking and events.
Well, there is a nutshell version of what the dreams are for the Credo House. We have a wonderful staff and an extraordinary board of seven committed men who are as excited as I am about how God can use this ministry in a unique way. Some of you in seminary right now are prime candidates for becoming a Credo House Fellow!
(Lord willing), coming to a city near you…
Two other articles about our vision: