RAMON PRESSON: Church Shopping 101

RAMON PRESSON: Church Shopping 101

Ramon: I’m here with Joshua Josiah Jacob Meyers, the lead teaching pastor of Catalyst Thrive
Renovate Elevate Ignite Ascend Community Fellowship, one of the newest and fastest-growing
churches in the Nashville area. Josh, tell us how you got the vision for Catalyst Etc.

Joshua: When we began thinking about buying and gutting a defunct Toys R Us store and turning it into a vibrant church we asked ourselves what people are really looking for in a church. We did research by conducting scientific surveys with hipsters coming out of trendy restaurants in The Gulch.

Ramon: What did you learn?

Joshua: That skinny jeans and man buns are not going away fast enough.

Ramon: I meant what you discovered that people are looking for in a church.

Joshua: Oh, of course. A lot of people indicated that they want entertaining, brief sermons from
a stand-up comic with a PhD in theology. A number of folks expressed a desire for thrilling
contemporary worship led by a full band of A-list Nashville studio musicians and a few singers who have headlined Bonnaroo.

Ramon: Community is important for a lot of people, isn’t it?

Joshua: Right, and a lot of people expressed a need for small groups, also known as Sunday School classes, or Bible studies, or villages, tribes, teams, huddles, puddles, flocks, or fellowship

Ramon: What do you call them at Catalyst Etc.?

Joshua: Catal Herds. Catal is short for Catalyst. Catal Herds. You get it?

Ramon: Oh, I get it, alright. Josh, what about service and involvement in the city? A lot of young adults want to see the church make a difference in the neighborhood and in the world?

Joshua: And that came through loud and clear. We had over a handful of people express a desire to do a car wash at a local bank on a Saturday.

Ramon: Wow, you gotta love that kind of servant spirit. But all those things were runner-up to the #1 thing people are looking for in a church, according to your research, right?

Joshua:: That’s right. We discovered that the number-one priority for people who are considering visiting a new church is ALSO the number one factor that influences whether people keep coming back.

Ramon: And what’s that?

Joshua: Good coffee.

Ramon: Say what?

Joshua: That’s right. Ramon, you can’t reach the Starbucks generation with Maxwell House or Folgers. That’s why our foyer is basically a coffee shop and the Welcome Center is a 4-station
espresso bar. We roast our own beans.

Ramon: I’m sure you do. Josh, I’m looking at your website and it appears that you’ve really run with the coffee theme.

Joshua: That’s right, instead of the outdated term “senior pastor” I’m going with Head Barista. I’m here to brew the Word. Know what I mean?

Ramon: Yea, sure, and these Sunday morning classes …

Joshua: Yes, we have a number of options for different tastes. We have “Lattes with Luke,” “Mochas with Matthew,” “Cappuccino in Corinthians,” “Esther and Espresso,” “Colossians with a Cold Brew,” and our most popular– “Java with Jesus. But I have to admit that “Decaf with Deuteronomy” hasn’t really taken off like we’d hoped.

Ramon: Gosh, I can’t imagine why. Well, Josh, our time’s about up and …

Joshua: Don’t you want to hear about our Communion Service?

Ramon: I’m afraid to ask.

Joshua: Instead of wine and bread or grape juice and crackers we dip almond biscotti in a dark

Ramon: Please let’s stop before you tell me about baptism.

Ramon Presson, PhD, is a licensed marriage and family therapist in Franklin (www.ramonpressontherapy.com) and the author of several books. Reach him at

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