Dennis McIntyre encourages Christians to interact with strangers in everyday places, like coffee shops, to be available to meet their needs as God directs.
After his mother died when he was three, McIntyre spent years “living in brutal foster homes.” God transformed his unmet need for love into a gift of encouragement that he shares with others. For McIntyre, “coffee shops became God’s meeting places” where he could plant seeds of hope, offer a listening ear to the lonely and be available for the chance encounters God brought his way. McIntyre believes “God doesn’t need our abilities to perform acts of service, just our availability.”
In memoir style, McIntyre relates heartwarming stories of the people he’s helped over decades of faithfully visiting his local coffee shop every morning. At first he went to mentally prepare for the day, but after the death of his wife, the coffee shop became a welcome relief “from the emptiness felt inside the walls that once echoed laughter and the joys of companionship.” McIntyre found that God began orchestrating his encounters.
The author’s tone is enthusiastic and humble rather than preachy. His authenticity is endearing as he shares his flaws (such as not remembering people’s names and other embarrassing moments) as willingly as his victories (leading his ailing father to salvation) and backs up his ideas with ample Scripture verses. Additionally, the author includes questions to help readers reflect on his message through the lens of their own experiences.
On the down side, McIntyre tends to repeat stories and offers too many long-winded explanations of why people should frequent coffee shops. This unnecessarily lengthens the book, while numerous typographical errors give an unpolished feel.
Still, McIntyre undoubtedly achieves his goal of inspiring readers to open their isolated lives, introduce themselves to the person sitting across from them in the café and be available to help wherever God leads them.
Also available in hardcover.