Instead of a Coffee Shop How About a Laundromat?

Many years ago my church was pondering how to create a "third space" in our neighborhood. A third space is a place where people can mix on a regular basis, a place that is relaxed and non-threatening. A lot of people feel intimidated walking into a church. A third space, it was hoped, would be a non-religious place where relationships with neighbors could be formed.

A lot of churches have created third spaces by starting up a coffee shop. That's a great idea, but coffee shops tend to be a part of affluent White culture. The working poor don't hang out in coffee shops with their Mac laptops. Nor can they afford $4 specialty drinks.

So a coffee shop isn't going to be frequented by the working poor--White, Black or Hispanic--in our neighborhood. To be sure, a cool coffee shop would attract White hipsters, but that's not the demographic of our church neighborhood. 

So what would be a good third space for a poor neighborhood like the one surrounding our church? A place that would serve the neighborhood but could also be a place where people would spend time talking and forming relationships?

My idea has always been for our church to run laundromat.

The poor and working poor don't have washing and drying machines. Consequently, it's a real, real hassle to get clothing washed. What middle and upper class people seriously take for granted is taking a few steps to throw a load of laundry into the washing machine.

Can you imagine the hassle and the disruption to your day if you had to drive--or, more likely, walk or take a bus--to a laundromat? To say nothing of the lost time standing around attending your clothing as it washes and dries?

And then there's the money to run the machines, money you might need for dinner...

But here's the third space upside. Do you know what people do as they sit around waiting for their clothing to wash and dry?

They talk. As neighbors.

The laundromat is a local, neighborhood third space.

The acute need in my town for well-run, attended and inexpensive laundromats was highlighted this weekend for my wife. Wanting to catch up on the laundry--mostly huge stacks from two teenage boys--Jana loaded up the car and drove a few blocks to a laundromat in our neighborhood (which is very close to our church).

And what Jana experienced at that laundromat profoundly affected and disturbed her.

Jana saw refugee families bring in wet clothes that had been washed in the bathtub. Why? Because they could only afford to dry them.

Jana saw people break down in tears after, having walked many, many blocks with their loads of laundry, they found all the washing machines full. Of the twenty washing machines in the laundromat only nine of them worked. Of the twenty dryers only seven worked.

People began to cry when they found out that the change machine didn't have any quarters.

Jana watched Hispanic patrons grow frustrated and confused because they couldn't read the English instructions on the washing machines.

The place was filthy and disgusting. Jana called the house and we brought her some supplies. A broom to sweep the floors. Windex and paper towels to clean out the washing and drying machines. As many quarters as we could find so that she could make change for customers.

While Jana cleaned up the place the patrons of the laundromat--White, Black and Hispanic--shared that this laundromat was actually one of the better laundromats in town! Many people arrived at the laundromat after having visited one or two others in town in much worse condition.

Our town, if the reports of these customers were accurate, lacks well-run and clean laundromats. The working poor in our town are basically screwed if they want to wash their clothes.

All this, as Jana recounted her experience to me, reminded me about our church wanting to create a neighborhood third space. Listen, I love coffee shops, by what about churches running laundromats in their towns?

Laundromats are local, neighborhood third spaces, places where relationships can be formed. Plus, laundromats meet a need in a way a Carmel Macchiato cannot.

To say nothing of the blessing it would be to hand out free quarters or provide an attendant so that errands could be run while clothing was being cleaned or dried. Perfect ministry opportunities for church members wanting to serve and get to know neighbors.

So, that's my third space suggestion.

Churches, I like the coffee shops.

But how about a laundromat?

[Pictures taken by Jana at the laundromat 1.8 miles from our church.]

This entry was posted by Richard Beck. Bookmark the permalink.

87 thoughts on “Instead of a Coffee Shop How About a Laundromat?”

  1. Laudromats are an awful lot more expensive to run than coffee shops though. And are noisy, potentially disrupting services. Coffee shops (or, as I've seen actually working for the local community in a Catholic church in inner city Manchester, a cateen type space with a water heater, tea bags and instant coffee) are cheap to run, reasonably quiet, and don't require large amounts of maintenance.

  2. So coffee shops are out because the poor won't use them but laundromats are okay?

    The only time I've ever stepped foot in a laundromat was when I was on holiday and staying in a particularly small hotel which didn't offer laundry service.

    I don't know what your neighbourhood is like, but unless it's particularly impoverished, I think you need to go back to the drawing board.

  3. I have read that this is being done:

  4. What's also worth noting is the discrepancy between the two: a coffee shop is something that's nice to have but by no means essential, whereas the ability to launder your clothes is something *everyone* needs. We take these things for granted so easily, and so quickly. I take my own washer and dryer for granted all the time, and it was only a few years ago I lived in an apartment and had to truck my clothes to the laundromat and spend the better part of the day there waiting on machines to be empty.

    I would love to see churches get involved in this. Maybe buy/invest in/sponsor a nearby laundromat and offer free cleaning on a first-come basis.

  5. Heaven forbid we have a little noise in the church. Mike Yaconelli would be rolling over in his grave if he heard this comment.

  6. Not only would it address a real and important need in a community, it would create some of the space you discussed in the last few posts. When a laundromat is your only option, there is literally no way to crowd out that time to do other things. You are forced to wait for the cycles to complete. No one wants to willingly wear dirty clothes.

    A funny laundromat anecdote from my youth. Right out of high school I applied to a service academy. I was deferred for a year and was placed in a 140 yr old, all male, prestigious boarding school during the deferment. Most of the tuition was covered by scholarship, but my family still had to pay a piece and had to sacrifice quite a bit to be able to make it. I was a broke working class kid among the children of the wealthy and well connected. One of things they offered was a laundry service. Being said working kid, I quickly learned that this was an add-on service and quite expensive. A little research and I determined that there was a laundromat less than a mile from the school, and the amount I would save by doing it myself would actually create some pocket money. I cancelled the service, got the refund, 'borrowed' a shopping cart from the local supermarket and hid it the bushes behind the dorm and began a weekly trek to do laundry. Soon other dorm-mates saw what I was doing and decided to try it out for themselves. Here I was teaching about a half dozen young privileged men how to use washing machines and dryers for the first time. I remember asking one, 'Haven't you ever seen your mom do laundry' He chuckled and said, 'My mom doesn't do laundry, we have servants to do that!' (yes, he said 'servants' he was an international student) But the interesting thing is after doing for for a few weeks at the same time on Saturday morning, they naturally began to interact with the other people who were there at the same time. People from the community that they would probably never interact with in that way during their 5 years in the insular community of the school.

  7. Great point. Taking the time to sit down a drink coffee is a privilege that many poorer folks simply don't have - especially if they have to spend a couple of hours in a laundromat once a week. This meets people where they are rather asking them to come to you. The difference between Jesus eating and drinking with 'sinners' and the temple cult that required people come to them.

  8. There were also times growing up when our washer and dryer broke — older units needed repairing, or there were issues with the pipes — and so we had to go to the laundromat to clean our clothes. And like that, something we'd taken for granted stopped working, and we had to adjust to a different and more inconvenient schedule. Because laundry isn't something you can do if you feel like it, or for fun, or as an extravagance (like hanging out at Starbucks). Just *temporarily* having to take a family's clothes to the laundromat highlighted the difficulty of the situation and disrepair of most of the nearby facilities.

  9. I have frequented laundromats on and off throughout my life, so I know exactly what you're saying. Also, alluded to in the post, the availability of decent facilities is highly dependent on your transportation. The poorer the community, the more people are dependent on the the local laundromat and in our wonderful capitalist system lack of competition creates less incentive for owners to maintain a decent facility. This creates real opportunity for an organization not concerned with profit margin to fill in the gap.

  10. This is such a fantastic idea. So much the better if it could exemplify excellence, good repair, etc.

  11. And it can be a both/and. A coffee shop or area could be attached to the laundromat, creating a space for patrons to sit and talk while they wait.

  12. Actually a movement. My small group did something like this for a season..

  13. I love this idea! Our mutual friend, Michael Peters, who grew up in urban poverty, and has long been passionate about urban renewal and community development says this is his biggest critique with Church charity. People who are poor don't need "new" old clothes, but we are constantly giving away our excess t-shirts and socks. People who are poor will take those primarily because they don't have access to ways of cleaning and drying their clothes. Highland Church has actually been talking with Love and Care (a local non-profit) about working together to start this very thing! So please keep talking about it and help other people catch this vision Bro. Richard!

  14. People need laundry mats. The fact that you don't is fantastic and you should be excited about it. That option is not there for large portions of every community. But unless we go looking it's easy to never see it.

  15. I suggested this to the church I pastored in 1999 and was laughed out of the church Meeting! I still think it's a great idea.

  16. It's all good until the trendy names come in... like 'spin for Jesus' or 'washed in the living water cycle'

  17. I spent a couple hours at the laundromat yesterday, so this is appropo. In densely populated urban areas, it's not just poor people who use laundromats. Where I go, it's a mix of younger, mostly hipster types, other apartment dwellers, tourists, working class Latino families, and homeless people. And honestly - sometimes there's talking, sometimes there isn't. I don't usually see the same people from week to week, and I'm an introvert, so I might have a little bit of chit chat here and there, but if you wanted to build relationships, you'd have to work pretty hard at it.

    It sounds like your town has a definite market for some clean, properly maintained laundromats with an attendant, a bathroom, space to fold clothes, and lots of washers, dryers, and change machines that work properly. If I might make a suggestion to counteract the suggestion of a couple commenters - DON'T make it free. Yes, laundromats are expensive - I spend about $14 every two weeks to wash clothes, bedding, and towels for three people - but providing a free "ministry" sets up a fundamentally different dynamic with the community than providing a quality service at an affordable price. It sets people up as recipients of a service, when really, people just may want to wash their damn clothes and get on with their lives without incurring a sense of obligation.

    A laundromat is a pretty substantial capital investment - commercial washers are really expensive. (You would need to invest in the maxi loaders - they can handle four loads of laundry at once. And lots of those wheeled carts - there's never enough of them.) But it could be an excellent opportunity for a partnership with a businessperson and a church, with the church contributing some money to make up for any losses....

  18. "People who are poor will take those primarily because they don't have access to ways of cleaning and drying their clothes."

    When I was poorest (that first year with Romeo), we had to have lots of clothes for this reason. I was privileged enough to already have mine, but he was growing quickly and had only come with one small bag. Thank God for Jim Clark, who didn't apply the usual limits on items when Romeo needed something. We would go the laundromat at the beginning of each month and do everything, but as the month went on, we only had budget room for pressing needs, and keeping up with laundry was a lower priority than food or gas. The next month it started over.
    Glad to hear something like this is in the works.

  19. Check out the Cove in San Antonio. They have laundromat, car wash and restaurant with game for the kids. It's been there for years so must be an idea that works.

  20. This is exactly what "Stone Church" (St. Mark's, Saint John, NB) did about a decade ago. The church is inner-city: the area is old, and run-down,with many urban poor in sight. They installed a complete laundromat in their basement space, since the same problem had occurred: under-maintained broken-down laundromats. An added feature was coffee being available. As the priest of that time (who is now the Bishop of this diocese), for the first time, he got to know his church's neighbours. This wasn't done to put "bums in the pews": it was simply recognising one's neighbours. Many other situations became known to the church as result.

  21. The Vineyard church in Rolla, MO did that and it has made a big impact in their community.

  22. I think creating a third space at a gas station would be awesome. Don't sell any of the food that a normal gas station does. Have it be part farmer's market so people can grab something healthy on the go. And create the space in such a way where you invite patrons to slow down and relate a bit more. If it was run by a church, or church youth group, you could have gas attendants pump gas, wipe windshields, strike up conversation, etc. That would be quite the subversive gas station. I don't think it would be much more than another gas station that simply makes people's heads tilt or at best slows their pace.

  23. We've been dreaming/talking about what it would look like to add the facilities to CMA as well.

  24. I wrote about something like this back in 2007. Glad to see that other folks have had similar ideas.

  25. This is a good idea I believe, but after reading about it and the comments, I find myself reflecting more about the church, it's purpose and the methods used to accomplish its purpose. I think about limitations and getting the most out of ministry dollars. I think about the poor and their many needs, but am also mindful of the needs of those with more means. Wealth is not an indication that you don't need friends, fellowship, and non-threatening places that draw you into the community of faith too. How do we decide as a community of faith how to match our giftedness with the needs of the world? With limited resources, how do we best fulfill the church's calling in Abilene, TX? Laundry ministries may be an answer. Coffee shops might be too. I don't know. What I do know is how hard it is to figure out what is best and agree on it in our churches.

  26. It's so easy for us to want to minister in those familiar spaces like a coffee shop. A lot of us are already uncomfortable sharing our faith with someone so we cling to those straws of control like our surroundings. A laundromat challenges that feeling and causes us to grow. Also, as a former Abileneian who had to suffer through the horrors of the laundromat on Ambler, I know that community needs this especially around Highland.

  27. I have found the ultimate third space... :-D

    Slightly kidding, but it's an interesting idea based off of what you posted here as different third spaces bring in different communities. Thinking about how Steve Jobs designed spaces at Pixar & Apple that intentionally caused people from different departments to spontaneously encounter each other, what if you created a third space that did the exact same thing by designing a laundromat that was incredibly clean, spacious, and affordable that was also an appealing coffeeshop where people would want to come and discuss things over a cup of coffee. They wouldn't be separate buildings, walled off from each other, but different rooms.

    I saw this in Marfa, TX. It seemed trendy there, but I think if designed well and with this specific intention, it could be an incredible place for connecting different communities.

  28. I used to do my laundry at the laundromat EVERY week when I went to ACU - one of the joys of being a poor working college student.

    It was awful. The place was dirty and neglected, but after the relatively nice laundromat near United closed though, the one by Pizza Hut on Ambler was the closest and most reliable one - even if half the machines were down, and no two dryers were ever the same temp.

    I would often see the same families there every week. Never really got to know many of them well, partially because I'm an introvert, and particularly because people kept to themselves aside from basic small talk. The only real exception was when a mother asked me if I could help her son with his homework because I'd just told her I was working as a substitute teacher.

  29. Hi Richard - this reminds me of a renegade group of Episcopalians in LA offering free coins, detergent and dryer sheets as a regular event. Tell Jana she's awesome and hello from San Diego!

  30. If you attend a smaller or more conservative church that either cannot or dosen't want to invest in their own Laundromat, one option is to go to the laundromat that is already there in town and see if you can help. A group of friends and I went to the local Lubbock Laundromat and randomly gave out quarters, which opened up the door to conversation. If you don't want to give money away, you can see if the owners of the Laundromat would allow you or your church to help with improvements. There are many great things you could do with this idea, both individually, as a small group, or a whole church.

  31. What if its a situation like a family I know, where their 25yr old machine broke & they couldn't afford a new one? (And they don't even have a car, nor is there any public transportation in the town, so they couldn't get to a laundromat on a daily basis anyway. :( ) A laundry service (which would include washing, drying, & mending of clothes) for the poor & infirm would be an even more apt mission...but that would be probably above and beyond what most people would want to do for others, for free.

    Church own coffeehouses...even if they start off as a mission, I agree do often become public places for particular church groups to congregate for their own rest of the week events, or use to try to court young adults, hipsters, and yuppies into their fold...partially because these are the people the congregations feel most comfortable around, and/or the ones who can seemingly afford to contribute to the weekly offering. :/

  32. Best results for me is to walk up to people in excessive politeness at Walmart or safe way and use what wisdom I have, I find that when I've gotten breakthroughs in prayers and stirring up the gift they ask and seek on their own steam.

  33. Come to think of it, the spirit which moves through the natural, it just like moving through purged, hollowed out of self things. While this idea is great it brings me to acknowledge the lack of church here in america. It's threatening, ritualistic, institutionalized and more than anything, just not a honest, sincere place. God has never changed, if people would humble themselves and just let go of every morsel of sin they can find and stay in that mode, we would be in the book of acts again. God has something to say to everyone in natural form, with sounds words. We need to seek His face and purge it out, go witness, then see what's lacking purge again, wash rinse repeat. I'm convinced the same problems I real had are the same now, sin. Knowledge and truth comes with God's word and his spirit still.

  34. Something I had experienced briefly in college (started by my bible study leaders) was the Laundry Love project. We brought quarters to a laundromat and paid for 1wash&dry per customer (sometimes more if there weren't many people). Seems like my leaders had an agreement with the owner about which days and time periods this Laundry Love project would happen.

    Here's a reference link for anyone interested :)

  35. Read your post this morning, and have been thinking about it for a bit - then came across this this evening... love that it is being done in certain places - even if it's not as a ministry. But think of the potential!

  36. I carry 'church' wherever I go now in my imagination. In a.a. I was exposed to the concept of 'constant contact' in order to stay serene and sober. I feel that I have been spared a hideous alcoholic death and many I know also have been spared b/c the healing power is real to us who have escaped & now walk in the spirit. Everyone in my workaround daily sphere of influence is in the process of having more of the kingdom revealed I think. I try to usdo nothing ahead of time on my own.

  37. The church is already in those third places maybe some day they will help those lost at "church" find their way.

  38. I love the ideaI Every church should have one of these with a food pantry attached, but leave race out of it!! Yes the working poor need a laundromat, but not all hispanics or African Americans are poor!!! I have tons of friends and coworkers who are Hispanic and they love coffee shops! My old boss was African American and her Starbucks habit was serious! All kinds of people go to coffee shops, and all kinds of people are poor! Simply help those who need help, and leave race to of it!

  39. When I was living in rooms as a younger person finding accommodation close to a laundromat was the priority. This is a wonderful/practical suggestion.

  40. We've been doing our laundry at laundromats for the last 18 months because our washer broke and we don't have the lump sum to buy a new one. Thankfully I haven't encountered laundromats as bad as what you're describing, but a church-run laundromat is a great, creative, incarnational suggestion! Someone in the comments mentioned a church-run gas station... what other ubiquitous, under-the-radar neighborhood businesses could be run this way?

  41. We have something similar in Grand Rapids, MI:

  42. Laundry Love is a vibrant ministry in several places in the dio of Los Angeles!

  43. Hi Jane, of course not all Hispanics or African Americans are poor. But over 50% of those considered poor are Black or Hispanic ( In my opinion, this can't be ignored in the context of loving our neighbors. Unfortunately, a color blind mentality allows us to ignore the inequality and racist structures that exist in our country

  44. No. Poor people need laundromats, not everybody. Beck wants a place where relationships can be formed between neighbours. Why should only the poor be targeted?

  45. Because they are your neighoubours too.

    Because that are in your community but your comments seem to indicate that you are not in the places and spaces where you would naturally connect with them so creating that space is good.

    Because you can find those who are affluent with more ease considering again, you've made it clear you have means and don't need to access this type of support in a community. This would help expand your circle of friends and opportunities to love.

    Because James 1:27 if you a proof text kind of person.

    Because why should only the rich be targeted (coffee shop)


  46. Why should only the poor be targeted? Why would anyone with money step foot in laundromat? Are they going to pretend their washing machine is broken in order to meet broke neighbours?

  47. Yes, the author goes into great detail about his neighbourhood - that's what the whole article is about. Not sure how you missed that.

  48. I suppose if you look at it like targeting then you should absolutely not go. If the people you would meet would be nothing more than projects or targets to check off a list then it's an endeavour doomed to fail.

    If however you honestly wanted to meet people with different life experiences and want to get engaged in your community people would understand. Something as simple as "I've been in this community a long time and wanted to feel a part of it. I thought this might be a good first step."

    While I doubt this is your point your questions around why poor people, seems to imply a lack of desire to have anything to do with that group. Nothing is this article creates a mutually exclusive situation where if you open a laundry mat you are now no longer allowed or able to speak with those who are privileged. If the post advocated for a coffee shop would you be asking "why only rich people?"

    It's also worth noting that this post is less about affluent people starting to use laundry mats and more about churches creating spaces that meet need. Specifically, a laundry mat rather than another coffee shop.

  49. I think I get where Julian is going with this, he's just going about it in a harsh way. What I came down here to suggest I think is the next step after what he's trying to say - what about a laundromat with a coffee shop inside? Now both groups have been incorporated and will mix, and I know when I am at a laundromat waiting for my clothes to finish (as I do not have a washer/dryer) I always walk down to the nearest coffee shop to grab something. There is a laundromat in my neighborhood with a Starbucks & a Subway inside and it always amazes me that those things aren't combined more often :)

  50. Though if you are running a free laundrt mat in a poot neighborhood aren't you at risk putting a minority owned laundry mat out of business?

  51. I agree with Jane this make it sound like whites are not poor or at least we as Christians should not care about them since they are white and all minorities are poor. Also it sounds like you are saying the gospel is not for the middle class and definetely not the upper class. At least white upper class.

  52. my town has this!

  53. This is what I hate about American Christianity: you don't make poor or suffering people your family, know their needs and actually share your own needs, share your holidays. Instead you have creative, well-meaning 'events' where you hand things out and then go back to your comfortable lives. No, thank you. I won't be your project, and I won't trade your stuff for your feeling good about yourself. I am poor, have almost no family but I am not your project, your commodity. American Christians don't want more friends: they're full up. And no, if I can help it no one at my church will ever know we're doing poorly because they'll look at us differently and pay us special attention but we'll never get invited to their parties, be in leadership. We've learned our lesson. Good Christians don't have needs: they just soldier on, right? Jesus must not have meant "Share each other's burdens" if it means everyone needs to share how they're really doing, not just those without money. Think about it: is your prayer request at church deeper than who's sick and who needs to get saved and who needs a handout? Where's the love? Looked long and hard, gave and gave some more. The only people that treat poor people like family is OTHER poor people.

  54. Two awesome non-profit organizations doing exactly what you mention in this article and in a way that does empower people, put them in leadership in their own community, and creates relationship.



  55. I'm thinking you missed the opening paragraph. "A third space, it was hoped, would be a non-religious place where relationships with neighbors could be formed." I am also pretty sure those who don't have money for clean clothes are quite appreciative.
    It saddens me that you do not have a community of Christians, from any country, to share your burdens.

  56. I think it's a great idea to create those natural mixing areas. It's probably more in the way I'm reading the comments than their intent but what they seam to be saying is not "why can't we all be together" but rather "there's no poor around me and why would I want to meet them anyway"

    Admittedly that's unfair and probably not what Julian is saying but it did appear that way to me.

  57. My family owned and operated a laundromat/dry cleaning business in Denver for 28 years. You are absolutely right about the potential to bring the love of God to people in a very non-threatening context. I could write a book about all of the wonderful people our family befriended and served from all over the world, from the full spectrum of spiritual beliefs and socio-economic backgrounds as well. The only assumptions I might disagree with is that laundromat/dry cleaning facilities are only for the poor - my experience was quite the opposite. Also, I would say that I learned more from the customers than they received from me. The experience of growing up in a laundry from 8 years old, completely shaped my perspective of other faiths, what evangelism looks like and how to embrace people- dirty clothes and all! Your article is truly insightful, affirming, and I don't think you realize how right you are about Thanks so much!

  58. DMS - Your post makes an important point, one that many or maybe even most Christians need to hear. But I think you are missing an important point also. It is about reaching and connecting with people. And providing something that may be helpful in the process. You can't treat other people as family until you have connected with them. And this article suggests what seems like a good and helpful way to do so.

    There are many Christians who do get deeply involved with others, poor or not. And a good church family should not care about how much you have or don't have, but they will care about what you need - whether it is food, clothes, money, a roof over your head, encouragement, or support in other ways. And we all have needs - some are just more urgent and basic that others.

  59. which were inspired by Laundry Love & JustOne, been around for 13 years

  60. In many ways I think a laundromat in your neighborhood is a good idea and fills a need, but I'm not sure it's the "third space" you are looking for.

    You say your church wants a third space to bring people together and a coffee shop only attracts affluent white people, so you want to create a laundromat to attract poor people.

    I think the biggest and most divisive issue in the U.S. today is a class struggle. The poor resent the middle class and wealthy, the wealthy detest the poor, and the middle class are forced to identify and side with one group or the other. Class struggles masquerade as racism (whites are rich, minorities poor), politics (republicans are for the rich, democrats for the middle class), and theological differences (saved by Grace, not works).

    A third space should be a unifying space, a place that brings both poor and rich together and lets them see eachother not as a faceless "other" but as a person. Not as a service project or a beneficiary, but as a person with thoughts and hopes and dreams that are worth knowing.

    I don't know how to create a space like that in your community. I just know that the laundromat, although you should definitely do it because it sounds like it'll really meet a need, will not bring the economic classes together.

  61. Wouldn't the payments on a washer be cheaper than the coins you feed the machine each month? I understand some people don't like to buy until they can pay cash, buy this is a situation where you are already making the payments but not getting the washer.

  62. What a great idea. I always thought modern-day coffee shops were a bit too trendy. An old fashioned coffee shop that had plain old coffee in mass quantities for a cheap price maybe. To me it's all in who a church is reaching out too. If they only want affluent young business people and college kids then sure get a Starbucks up and running. But if they want to reach out to people struggling to get through this life then a laundromat or an old time coffee shop are both great ideas.

  63. "Best results" in what? The subject idea in the article is creating comfortable spaces within a community for people of the community to meet, interact socially, on a relaxed basis, and form community relationships. Forgive me if I misunderstand you, but you seem to be talking about proselytizing strangers encountered in public places.

  64. Rightly said; thanks for the reply. now I can only figure, that out of the idea of creating a third space by the church is to facilitate opportunities to witness (proselytizing) from the "community relationships" created. -aside from the obvious humanitarian and community cohesion. If this is not so, and no desire to compel people to Christianity & telling people of christ is the intent; then I regress, I was mistaken that the church in question was biblical.

    Having said this i'm compelled to address the article's statement: that individuals feel intimidated walking into a church. I propose it isn't the building and it's service being institutionalized/organized. It is rather a group of close brothers and sisters encouraging, and admonishing one another with the closeness and culture of a family. The bible says that God will reprove the world of their sin, and that Christ will draw people unto him. Could it be that be that God is looking for a peculiar group of people who are seeking him, and laying aside every weight & sin, and are worthy of representing Him? -that this Sunday gathering of religious culture, pulpit and pew are just remnants of the Catholic dogma. the protestant movement just toned down the rituals, and made more practical rules. Why is the book of acts so odd compared to today? When was the last time a dead man was raised in america?

  65. Disagree. If you have a washer and dryer at home, why would you go elsewhere? Even if a washer or dryer breaks, those who can afford to have them are more likely to get them fixed asap rather than going to the laundromat in the meantime.

  66. have the affluent folks move into the neighborhoods that are the hardest hit...dig in and begin to love and serve your neighbors...they will become your friends, not just a church project. You want to stretch someone...ask them to move into the hood and begin making a difference by putting down roots and loving the folks that are now YOUR neighbors... This has worked for my wife and I...We are empty nester's, and God led us to do just this very thing. We have credibility because when we all get burglarized on a weekday...we too share the pain and the loss... When there is a drive by shooting, or a murder, we feel all the same stuff our neighbors feel... BUT...They trust us because we are putting not only our money where our mouth is...but also our heart and our soul. Try to get your typical suburban church to implement this idea and you will see just how far their love will go, and where they will draw the line. We have asked for families to join far, we have had no offers in the last 5 years. Doesn't mean I am mad, or angry, but it does reveal that the church talks alot, and has a lot of weekend projects they can do.. and then go back to their suburban churches and have testimonies about "how they helped the poor," but doesn't like to make the sacrifices that put them in harms way.

  67. We went to the laundromat after our washer quit, to finish the load that stopped mid-wash. There was no way to get it repaired fast enough, and especially with a full load of laundry in it. I do believe everyone uses the laundromat on occasion. While the laundromat we used was in good condition, we were unpleasantly surprised at the cost - it was very expensive!

  68. Hi Lisa,

    I'm a pastor at a church in San Diego and we are talking about starting a laundromat. I see that you have experience with this. Would you be willing to email me regarding this and I could pick your brain on some questions I have and you could offer any insight? Let me know!

  69. Yes! I'd be happy to be a resource. Sorry for the delay getting back you... I'm a teacher and this is a busy time of year! ;) Let me know how I can help.

    Lisa Weir

  70. What an awesome idea to do something like this for people in need! I wonder how hard it is to come by laundromat equipment. The people of your community would probably really appreciate and clean and safe place to do their laundry.

Leave a Reply