We sat across from one of the founders of North Lime Doughnuts in a local coffee shop a few weeks back. Teddy Ray, who also serves as the pastor of Offerings UMC in Lexington, KY is a good friend of ours and has been a spiritual mentor for one of us. He's a business man who has a passion for ministry. And his words to us were pretty straight to the point: "Implement your vision now. Don't wait for "later." It needs to be a part of who you are from the very beginning!"
Easier said than done, Teddy. But your point is taken.
For the past year I (Randy) have had a small business vision of crafting and creating coffee mugs for those who, like me, tend to have a little bit of their identity reflected in their cupboard. I open my cupboard and out falls (literally...every morning!), forty or so coffee mugs that speak to a little bit of my personality, the adventures I've had, the things I care about, and so forth. Not everybody is like me, but many people are!
And so I began to think--ultimately without any real idea of where the thought came from--of making mugs that speak to this aspect of our Christian identity in a way that wasn't...ummm, well, there's not another word for it...cheesy. I worked for years for a Christian publishing house and it was pretty commonplace for us to always laugh at the cheeziness of the "gifts" that would inevitably get bought up at mass discounts and then gifted (and then often re-gifted) for holidays. I don't really want a mug that says in cursive handwriting "Jesus Loves You" as if it's the equivalent of the "Live, Laugh, Love" stencil cuts that typifies the front wall of every Hobby Lobby, Target, and Bed Bath and Beyond. How about "Jesus Loves You...and That's A Good Thing With Your Morning Breath"? Yeah...I know...we like the latter better too. :)
But as we began this thing, we realized that this sort of thing needed to be much more than making coffee mugs. It's fun and we get to be creative. I'm an entrepreneur by heart, but I also know--and Andrew is here with me--that unless creativity merges with mission, the meaning and significance of what this is for would always be in question. We are both, and we tend to find ourselves interacting with, what Brennan Manning calls "Ragamuffins." Struggle is not a concept that is far from our own internal homes.
The mission of Drinklings is simple: to be a catalyst for conversation and support for organizations and ministries that devote themselves to the care of the hurt, abused, forgotten, disenfranchised, stuck, faithless, burnt out, ragamuffins that make up so much of our world and so much of the mission of those that call themselves followers of the Jesus-way.
The original idea was that we would begin Drinklings, work our way through multiple phases, find some financial security, figure out everything that we wanted to do on a product level first and then implement the mission. And then Teddy challenged us: "Don't wait...make it part of who you are now!" And he was right. And so we are.
Starting November 15th (and we'll say more about this later), we'll be taking our first major issue (Crisis Pregnancy) and talking about it for 6 weeks as well as giving $1/mug that is bought to a local organization doing work in this area. As we explore where to carry our business, the goal is to also create coffee blends that speak to and financially support various issues on a long term basis.
We ask that you support us in this regard. Share Drinklings with friends. Buy a mug or two (or three) and help us get off the ground; follow us on FACEBOOK; keep checking the blog once a week for new posts...and, of course, keep #drinkling your morning (or afternoon...or evening...) coffee and keep us in mind as we work to use this business as a way to reach into the world of others and practice the daily habit of redemptive living...all through a morning cup of joe.