Coffee and Connection Provide Alum’s Unique Ministry
| by Shari Flanagan email@example.com
Transforming Eudora one coffee cup and one building at a time is actually what Kathy and G.W. are about. G.W.'s property management company is headquartered in a building built prior to 1892.
At one time it was home to the Eudora State Bank. Now on the Kansas Register of Historic Places, the building is the hub of more revitalization in the community at the Welds have purchased another downtown building and are restoring it as office suites.
Exposed brick, decorative tin ceiling tiles and original plank floors tell the story of a 1915 variety store now home to Zeb’s Coffeehouse in Eudora, Kansas. Owner Kathy (Matney ’13) Weld serves coffee and ministers to Eudora’s community there.
She didn’t plan to be a business owner when she graduated from MNU with a degree in youth and family ministry. In fact, she served as youth minister at a local church for seven years. Realizing God was leading her in another direction, she wanted a “unique” ministry but didn’t know what that would look like.
Now her husband, G.W. (’11), who she met at MNU, works across the street from the coffee shop, running their property management company and restoring historic Eudora buildings. Restoration is a theme for this couple. Inspired by Zerubbabel, an Old Testament figure who helped rebuild Jerusalem’s temple, transforming Zeb’s Coffeehouse (short for Zerubbabel) required lots of hard work and patience.
Kathy saw a need for a gathering place in Eudora. As the shop came to life, she found she could minister to people sipping coffee. Labels on the coffee mugs such as fear not, loved and strength, are great conversation starters. Smiling, she says she likes ministering to people without them realizing it. And when a former student shared it was easier to talk to her in this new role, she knew MNU had prepared her for this relational ministry.
In fact, Kathy says at least three Bible studies go on each week at Zeb’s as well as plenty of informal counseling sessions that patrons hold with friends, students and children. The Welds say they never imagined the kinds of connections and relationships the building would hold.
As a student seeking a quality, high-touch environment, Kathy says she found both at MNU. Raised in Belton, Missouri, she liked the university’s hometown feel and the convenient location.
“MNU’s excellent reputation for youth ministry is what drew me there,” Kathy says.
She didn’t grow up hearing the Bible stories that many of her peers knew, but her biblical studies professors were not concerned.
“They supported me at a formational time in my life,” she says. “MNU is interested in helping us grow as human beings, not just students.”
The experience prepared her to trust God as this unique ministry unfolds.
Although a thorough planner, she advises students to leave space for God’s plan to be revealed.
“Take advantage of the opportunity to explore in college,” she says. “You don’t always have the big picture.”
While minoring in graphic design and organizational leadership helped her in youth ministry, they also helped her create her own advertising and supervise the baristas at Zeb’s. The shop’s profits allow her to help fund other’s “Kingdom” work as she listens, prays and brings new life to a community over a cup of coffee.
This story is the first in a new series of Women In Leadership stories.