Brewing Community and Faith

Eric’s Calling and Coffee Shop Ministry Inspired by GenSend

Eric Addison joined the first-ever GenSend team in Atlanta in the summer of 2014. With his relationship with the Lord starting the semester before, he “didn’t know much about living the Christian life yet, other than how to read the book of James and one Psalm.” He did, however, know the voice of God and He said to go. So, Eric went.

That summer, Eric spent time with local church plant pastors and their families, serving the communities in the area and sharing the gospel. For the first time, Eric started considering what it looked like to go to these places strategically every day—coffee shops, grocery stores, etc.—to see the Lord opening doors for the gospel.

He wanted to learn what it means to do ministry in any context and “living a Christian life on mission in the cultural context you’re in.”

One morning off, Eric said he walked to the local coffee shop with his Bible, intending to spend time with God before his afternoon tasks. After a while, someone approached him. “Are you a Christian?” When Eric said yes, the man sat and talked about Scripture, church and ministry in Atlanta.

That man invited Eric to his studio, where he produced music. When Eric visited, he realized his new friend worked as an influencer and an international producer who loved the Lord. They encourage one another in the faith.

The GenSend team also did nightlife ministry, intentionally engaging lost people around bars, nightclubs and high-prostitution areas with the gospel. God used interactions and opportunities like this during GenSend to lead Eric into his lifelong calling.

As a young believer navigating his faith and gifts for the first time, Eric remarked on the importance of spending time around “local pastors doing ministry strategically in their community.”

He recounts navigating his calling that summer, saying, “I got saved the semester before I left for GenSend, and as I look back now, it’s funny to realize I worked through what my life would look like as a pastor. I was unsure about that call, but that began to feel clear through the confirmation of my spiritual gifts. My whole life before Christ, I felt isolated, and now, finding myself in a relationship with the God of nearness, He told me that pastoring is my calling. GenSend opened so many doors for this call to ministry.”

Nine years later, Eric serves as the associate pastor at Greenville Community Church in Greenville, South Carolina, a church revitalization/replant project that Eric says “God is using mightily in this community.”

GenSend started Eric’s understanding of the importance of community. He says, “Community is a gospel DNA starting point for all of us, no matter what we believe. I realized that my heart is showing people that they belong, they matter, and they’re someone who desires gospel community.”

In addition to answering the call to pastor, in June 2023, Eric opened his coffee shop with the same vision. “I think GenSend served as a launching pad that I realized more as I got older, became a pastor myself, and now manage a coffee shop whose whole purpose is to reach the community.

Eric didn’t know the importance of that GenSend experience as a young believer. “I want this coffee shop to serve the community—to serve as a place where people can come, spend time, find community, feel like they belong and receive the hope of the gospel.”

As a new believer navigating his calling in Atlanta, God continues to work through Eric as a thriving gospel witness through local church ministry and hands-on presence in the community.

Published November 3, 2023