The Rev. Gary Gossett and his family have hopes The Lions Den Christian Coffeehouse will be a model sanctuary for the 21st Century, a place for people moving away from steeples and stained glass and back to basics.
They have opened what they call the city’s only donation-only coffeehouse on 162A W. Pine St. in Mount Airy as the home of Safehouse Ministries, which is sanctioned by the Wesleyan Church. The den is described as a non-denominational missionary ministry by Gossett. He said persons of all faiths will be welcomed for fellowship without teaching doctrine.
“The idea for the coffeehouse really took form at our dining room table at our home,” recalled Gossett. “We just tried to make ourselves open to what the Lord wanted us to do in Mount Airy.”
Gossett explained that they drew on the example of early Christian churches that pooled their resources and used the proceeds to benefit the poor and needy. Early efforts by Safehouse Ministries included helping a needy family with automobile transmission repairs. The group began meeting informally every Sunday morning and then moved to meeting on Wednesdays.
He said in March, Safehouse Ministries moved across the street to what is now the coffeehouse when the property became available and officially opened June 1.
“We saw this store front and said oh my gosh, this would be a perfect coffee shop,” said Gossett. “Proceeds from any donations go towards rent and upkeep of the building and everything else goes to help the needy. The basis for this is for us to help people in need. The Old Testament says God instructs us to take care of the poor and the needy and Paul was instructed by John and Peter to not neglect the poor.”
Gossett said one future project for proceeds from the coffeehouse would be to help support a homeless shelter for men. He said in addition to fellowship and entertainment, the coffeehouse also has meals in a can that can be heated with a microwave on the premises to help the homeless.
“We are just new here and just starting out,” said Gossett. “Everybody’s welcome, even non-believers. We want people to utilize this and feel safe here and to feel God here. We want to be a service to the community.”
Gossett smiled when asked about the name of the coffeehouse.
“At first we considered the name of The King’s Cup Coffeehouse,” said Gossett. “Somebody suggested the Lions Den and it stuck. It draws on Jesus being the Lion of Judea and Daniel in the lions’ den.”
His wife, Lori, said it came down to what looked better on the T-shirts, a cup or a lion.
“There is no price tag here,” said Lori, who Gary credits with running the coffeehouse. The two indicated strongly that Christians must give without hoping for something to be returned.
The coffeehouse is open Tuesday through Friday from 4 to 8 p.m. Gossett said that the den will stay open longer if there is a need. The Lions Den has Wifi, and features contemporary Christian bands on Fridays when groups are available. Open mike nights and Christian movie nights as well as Bible study will be held.
A Kidz Zone Bible Study night also is offered on Wednesday nights. Plans are ongoing to hold a Mommy and Me day to give mothers with preschool-aged children a chance to fellowship while children are entertained with activities including puppet shows.
Other family members involved with the coffeehouse include Caitlyn Gossett, Chandler Boltz, Christien Boltz, Kenny Wuen, Brennen and Kelly Guerin, Jeannie Hall and Christine and Jamie Hash, who did the artwork on the den’s windows.
Safehouse Ministries meets at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesdays and at 10 a.m. on Sundays.
Reach David Broyles at firstname.lastname@example.org or 719-1952.