Acton Institute Powerblog

Alabaster Coffee and the Call to Creative Service

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Prior to opening Alabaster Coffee in downtown Williamsport, PA, founder Karl Fisher was in full-time vocational ministry. For many, that sort of transition happens in reverse, but for Fisher, moving from churchplace to marketplace amplified the scope of his service in new and unexpected ways.

“I have already viewed my life as, ‘How are we bringing the Gospel to the community?’” Fisher says. “But now, in many ways, not being a vocational pastor and being in the marketplace, there are definitely aspects of that that give me a broader platform.”

Struck by Alabaster Coffee’s culture and product, Evan Koons spoke with Fisher about his business and the ways our creative service can spread the Gospel and transform culture:

In a world of accelerating industrialization, society is learning to remember and better appreciate the dynamics of community and craftsmanship in business. As Fisher aptly demonstrates, these are natural priorities for Christians, compounded by something a bit more permanent at the root: a love for people rooted in the love of Jesus.

Christians in creative service have a call to meet economic needs, but we do so by connecting the tangible to the transcendent, the temporal to the eternal.

coffee3Though small and local businesses like Alabaster have a unique way of clarifying these things, such features are not confined to awe-inspiring coffee shops or artisan bookmakers and bakers. The call to creative service spans across culture, from factory workers to farmers, oil riggers to artists, welders to Wall Street CEOs.

“How we do our work, how it’s accomplished, the attitudes that we have to it, is very much an act of worship,” Fisher concludes. “My ability to work and the means to work — the way that I view that should absolutely be joyful and worshipful.”

For more on how creative service connects to God’s economy of all things, see Episode 3 of For the Life of the World.

Joseph Sunde is an associate editor and writer for the Acton Institute. His work has appeared in venues such as The Federalist, First Things, The City, The Christian Post, The Stream, Charisma News, Juicy Ecumenism, Ethika Politika, Made to Flourish, and the Center for Faith and Work. Joseph resides in Minneapolis, Minnesota with his wife and four children.

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