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The Importance of Collaboration

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Purple Door Coffee has been in the works for a very long time. If you haven’t read our history, you can do so here. We believe that collaboration is at the core of who we are. While I (Mark) like to think I know everything, daily I’m reminded that I do not. I also like to think that I can get things done on my own, but almost hourly I am reminded of my limitations. I am thankful for the things that I do well, and I am thankful for the things that Madison does well (especially when those things line up with the things that I do not do well–which is often). We together are incredibly thankful for the people that step into the community of Purple Door Coffee and do things that neither of us are any good at.

I think of 1 Corinthians 12 and how God has created us in such a way that we each are distinctly important to the body of Christ. Everyone has his place in the Kingdom. We are blessed to live into this vision for Purple Door as a component of the Kingdom of God. We are so thankful to be able to work with Purple Door and for those that have and are continuing to partner with Purple Door. I Corinthians 12:18 says that God has arranged the parts of the Body just as He intended them to be. We are thankful for this, because God’s people continue to be an integral part of this effort. Thank you all for your tenderness to the prompting of God as you have joined us in this journey towards provided employment and job training to our friends who are working to exit street life.

Purple Door has been blessed on collaboration with people, but also with other organizations in both Belay Enterprises and Dry Bones Denver. We could not have crafted these partnerships on our own, but the collaboration is a beautiful thing and a snapshot of the Kingdom that God talks about. We have our faults and our bumps in the road, but the unity we work towards is something that is close to the heart of God. Together we are working to make known God’s goodness and God’s love for this world. In the process we get to experience those things as well.

We’re also blessed by partnerships with cafés and coffee shops that exist to respond to specific needs here in Denver and in other cities as well. We are appreciative of their willingness to give guidance and suggestions, specifically in areas that are difficult to navigate. We would not be where we are without collaboration with other organizations.

We are energized by our continued collaboration with you as individuals, as well as with organizations. Thank you for how you have already used your gifts, skills, abilities and resources to collaborate with Purple Door Coffee. Purple Door Coffee would not be who we are without your help and support. We are thankful for everyone’s commitment to the vision of Purple Door Coffee, but, more importantly, for the commitment you have to the Kingdom of God.

Thank you!

Coffee School Recap (a short one)

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Some of the highlights of coffee school in no particular order:

  1. We got to hang out in Portland.
  2. We met some amazing people in the coffee industry.
  3. We met some amazing people that work with Street Kids in Portland.
  4. We were introduced to some new friends on the streets of Portland.
  5. We drank awesome coffee. Lots of awesome coffee.
  6. We learned about espresso, brewed coffee, steaming milk, pouring latte art, etc., etc. Basically all the basics of serving great coffee in your coffee shop.
  7. We were able to try a ton of different machines and figure out which ones we really like.
  8. We were able to see a bunch of great shops and get ideas for our shop and clarify our vision.
  9. We got to see old friends and meet new ones.
  10. We are tired–in the good way.
  11. We ate excellent food.
  12. We learned more about running a coffee shop overall (cost of goods percentages, bar flow, menu planning, etc.).
  13. We were able to take in the beautiful weather and landscape of the Pacific Northwest.

So many things about this trip were incredible–most of which can’t be put in a list. We’d love to tell you more about our trip to coffee school, so just ask!

Thank you everyone for all your support so far! We are excited for the future of Purple Door Coffee. Though we are continuing to learn, we believe we are now positioned to confidently move into the coffee industry


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As people we tend to always be working toward a goal or a set of goals. My main goal right now is to open Purple Door Coffee. We’re working towards it, and constantly getting closer. That’s a big goal that I’m able to set little goals along the way for. It’s tangible. It’s achievable. It’s something that pushes us, and makes us work.

Last night I talked with friends whose goals are a bit more urgent, and somewhat dire. One friend needed bus fare so he could get to a friends house where there was a bed waiting for him, and a ride to his job in the morning.

Another friend was trying to get food and transportation figured out for tomorrow, because he had been working that week, but didn’t get paid until the next day.

Still another friend needed to get a ride to an appointment that would help them with housing, and if they missed it, they might miss their chance at a place to live.

Purple Door is my main goal, and I truly believe it is a meaningful goal, but it is so much less urgent than the goals of my friends. We have time to process and think about our choices, dream, grow, change, with our goal of opening Purple Door. Many of our friends don’t have that luxury. Their goals are urgent and time sensitive. These urgent, imminent goals are something that we want to help make a thing of the past for our employees. We want them to move into a space where they are able to process and think about their choices, to dream, to grow, to change and to move forward with their lives.

We hope that we can help our friends reach a place in their life where they can be the best people that they can be, and have goals that see beyond the immediate.

In that sense, there is an urgency to Purple Door. We desire to move our friends to a healthier stage of life through supportive and meaningful employment as soon as possible. Help us continue to move towards our fundraising goal by donating here.


Providence, People, Patience

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Provision- Purple Door is happening because God is moving. God is opening doors, and moving hearts, and giving us vision. God has provided for our needs along the way–financial, emotional, spiritual, social, professional; anyway you can think of, God has provided. We can’t explain it; we can’t control it; we recognize it, and are thankful for it. God is present in this work, and we are so blessed to be working on a project that we truly believe is close to the heart of God.

To me the two most incredible parts of God’s provision is how He provides in ways that we could have never thought of on our own, and how He provides things that we did not realize we need–he goes beyond felt needs to true needs.

I believe this is exemplified in the life of Jesus. The Jewish people were looking for a Messiah, and they believed the Messiah would be an earthly ruler, likely with military might. Their felt need was the need to overthrow the Roman Empire. God saw that the real need was to overthrow the empire of Evil, by conquering sin and death. Jesus was most certainly not a military leader, because that was not the true need of the people of God. Our true need is redemption–new life brought through Jesus. I’m thankful for God’s provision in His Son, and the way He continues to see our real needs instead of our felt needs.

Belay Enterprises is an incredible example of his provision in the story of Purple Door. We didn’t realize we needed to be incubated, and we couldn’t have come up with a the partnership we have with Belay on our own. It’s a beautiful thing. Dry Bones also continues to be an incredible benefit to Purple Door, and quite literally, we would not exist without Dry Bones.

God is the great provider, and we are experiencing this first hand.

People- God’s people have also been a huge reason for the advancement of Purple Door. If people were not responding the hurt of Street Kids here in Denver, Purple Door wouldn’t be happening. We’re thankful for people using what they have to help facilitate advancement of the Kingdom. The fact that we are working towards bringing justice into this world is enough for some people to be on board with us–whether we’ve met them or not. People from all over the country have bought into what we’re doing and have showed us their support. We’re so thankful for the responsiveness of God’s people, and the way they have allowed God to move in their hearts. Their responsiveness has brought Purple Door to where it is today, and together we will continue. I believe that the community of believers that is surrounding Purple Door is an example of what Jesus was praying for in John 17. He desired unity for followers that would come later. Thank you for unifying around Purple Door.

Patience- God’s plan is unfolding for Purple Door. We just have to wait. We wish we could have opened our doors 6 months ago, but God is at work and who are we to rush Him?

Gregory Boyle says it this way in regards to God’s work in people: “Ours is a God who waits. Who are we not to? It takes what it takes for the great turnaround. Wait for it.”

We need to be reminded of this in the startup process, but also with our friends on the streets. It takes what it takes–work towards it, and it will happen. We need to be reminded of this, even though we’ve seen it to be true.

The whole story of scripture is an example of how God is at work over time. God has been working to restore the world back to Himself since the fall. 2 Corinthians 5 encourages us to join in that restoration and reconciliation process. Restoration takes time. Reconciliation is a process. It takes what it takes. We serve a God who waits.

All three of these principles tie together. God provides, and frequently uses his people to do so. His people will help us meet a need, but needs are on going, changing, and complex. God’s people must serve this provident God and have the faith that He is at work, that He is reconciling and making it right–in His time, not ours. As we wait, we get antsy, but we need to perpetually remind ourselves of the provision of our good and loving God. Ours is a God who provides. Ours is a God who loves. Ours is a God who desires unity. Ours is a God who waits. Who are we not to?

Want to know how to ruin your life and relationships?

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So, this thought has been running around in my head lately. I think that no matter what you do or say, there is one sure fire way to make sure to ruin all of the relationships in your life. Want to know how? This is a secret I have figured out after years and years of observation and personal experience, so I don’t know if I want to share it with you…but maybe I will because I am a super generous person. Wanna know? Wanna hear it? I’ll tell you. Here it is. This is how you can lose all of your friends and ruin your own life:

Value people/individuals based solely on what they can give/do for you.

So many stories in the Bible make it clear that Jesus didn’t choose whom he hung out with based on what they could give him. It is also clear that Jesus loved and valued each person he interacted with.

We do not love so that we can be loved equally in return. We love because every individual deserves love. Love that is dependent on a response isn’t actually love at all. It is a true and deep love when one keeps on offering love when the other party wants nothing to do with it. Isn’t that what God does to us? He continues to offer His love and forgiveness to us even when we think that we are better off without Him or even when we think that we could never be good enough for Him. God continues to offer love. His love is not forced or obligatory. His love is a gift. Out of His abounding love, our obedience and faithfulness grows. True love inspires our best.

So, love.

Love hard.

And give value.

And then do it again.

This process is not easy; it is an everyday, moment-by-moment choice. Christianity is not defined by the big choice we make when we become a Christian; Christianity is defined by the decisions we make every few seconds.

So, want to know how to change your life forever for the better?

Genuinely see value in others and love them solely because they are people.

Peace out,


A bit on the struggles of homeless youth.

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Street Kids are an at-risk population. They are very much under-served and under-resourced. We hope to be a service and a resource to our friends on the streets as they are rebuilding their lives.

“Youth in or aging out of foster care, runaway and homeless youth, and youth offenders, among other groups of youth, are particularly vulnerable to not completing high school, going on to college, or securing employment. For example, in a study of youth who had been in foster care and were, on average, about age 25, most had obtained a high school diploma or passed the general education development (GED) test at about the same rate as young people ages 18 to 29 in the general population. However, they were much less likely to have a bachelor’s degree—1.8% versus 22.5% of all young people. Further, the employment rate for these foster care alumni was 80%, while the employment rate for their counterparts in the general population was 95%.” (From Vulnerable Youth: Employment and Job Training Programs)

That paragraph was from 2007, which was a much healthier economic climate. Our friends simply cannot find jobs for many different issues, but a combination of a suffering job market and a lack of job skills is the perfect combination for remaining unemployed.

We pray for reform in the foster care system, but we seek to help those that are already victims of a broken system. Many of our friends on the streets have been in the foster care system at one time or another, but that is one item on a typically long list of things that classify them as “at-risk”.  What that communicates to me is that our friends are fighting an uphill battle that we would love to join them in to give them a higher chance of leading a healthy, sustainable life.

Transition from adolescent to adulthood is difficult for any adolescent (Madison and I are still technically in this transition stage, as research now indicates that the transition goes until around age 25). Imagine how much more difficult it is for individuals who have no parents that genuinely care, no financial resources, or no soft skills to apply to a job.

Our friends have a difficult situation at a difficult stage in their development.  There is no quick fix or set remedy to this, but at Purple Door Coffee we hope to walk through times of transition with our friends so that it might be a bit easier, a bit healthier, and a bit more transformational as they seek to build a life away from the streets.

If you would like to read more about at-risk populations, adolescence, and the state of our economy here are a couple resources to check out:





These are just a few of many resources that you can look into to learn more about the issues facing many of our friends on the streets. Look also at the resources in the articles themselves.


Jesus and His Love Are Everywhere

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Recently I’ve had several people say something to the effect of, “you’re working in a place that Jesus is really needed.” or, “You’re really showing Jesus to people who are in extreme need of Him.” People have said similar statements to me since committing to this work, but lately it’s been causing me to feel some dissonance.

I don’t disagree. Jesus is needed on the streets. Jesus is what will provide the genuine, deep, long-term transformation for people rebuilding lives.

I do disagree with the idea that Jesus is needed more on the streets than he is in the suburbs, or in our churches. Jesus is needed equally in all places at all times. Without Jesus, we all are in the same place, and with Jesus we are in the same place. Jesus is the great equalizer. Jesus, is already present on the streets, just as he is already present in the church in the suburbs and everywhere in between.

As we spend time on the streets, we do hope we present a clearly loving picture of Jesus to our friends, but the awesome part about doing life with our friends that are on the streets is that I have been shown Jesus by them. Jesus is active in the lives of our friends. He loves them deeply. Some have experienced Him in a deep, transformational way–others haven’t yet. Some are journeying towards him, and some are running away. Some don’t think they’re good enough for Jesus, others take His grace for granted.

Everything said in the previous paragraph describes every social setting I’ve been in–church, college, work environments. In every area of life, we are called to present a clearly loving picture of Jesus to those around us. And in every area of life there are people that show me Jesus–there are people that have experienced Jesus’ love. Everywhere I go there are people that either journeying towards Jesus, or running from Him. In every life situation there are people that think they need to “fix” themselves before they encounter Jesus, and others that cheapen the grace He has for us.

Until we realize all people’s equal need for Jesus, we cannot fully love others. If we create a tiered system of people’s need for Jesus, or  a list of qualifying qualities that determine the amount of forgiveness needed, we cease to love as Jesus did. Jesus love comes with out qualification or reservation–from homeless individual, to banker, to stay-at-home mom; from drug addict to minister to lazy teenager; from child to elder to middle-aged; from Asian to Central American to African. Jesus’ love knows no bounds–the streets of Denver are where we have chosen to both live out that love and experience that love.

We hope that we can love our friends on the streets just as much as we love a banker that we walk by in downtown Denver. We pray that we are able to love as Jesus did–with out reservation or qualification, in every encounter throughout our day.

So you met the matching goal. What now?

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This week we are celebrating! We have made the $30,000 match! It is such a blessing to be surrounded by people that care about this mission–that care about our friends on the streets. That care has been shown through your generosity, your encouragement, and your prayers. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

So, with this match where does that put us? What’s next for Purple Door?

As we have said, our start up costs total $122,156. This includes all the furniture, the build-out, the equipment, the appliances–everything we need to open our doors.

With the match, the funds we have previously raised, and the funds that came in beyond the match, we currently have $89,095. Praise God!

We are so amazed at how God has provided for Purple Door Coffee. We cannot explain it other than that God is working in the hearts of His people, and His people are responding to His prompting. None of you are obligated to give, but the love you have experienced through God has been displayed in your generosity. Thank you for your tenderness to the prompting of God, and for the way you are loving our friends on the streets, and us (Madison and Mark) as we pursue this dream.

Our remaining funding needed is: $33,061.  We are continuing to fundraise so that we can offer meaningful employment for our friends on the streets, and we are simultaneously working through the tasks that have to be done before opening a coffee shop. Things are very busy and we couldn’t be more excited!

Tuesday we met with our real estate agent (who is on the Belay Enterprises board), and we discussed the “what’s next?”. We discussed things we need to start working on, and we would love for you to help! We will need help building furniture made from reclaimed doors; if you have connections to coffee equipment, please let us know; if you have access to furniture we might want to look at, please be in touch; if you are able to get us good prices on things that go with a coffee shop, we would love to hear about it. If there is a realm that you believe could help Purple Door, please let us know! This is not Mark or Madison’s project. This is a project that belongs to God’s people that we have been moved towards. If it wasn’t for you, God’s people, we would not be where we are today.

We truly, deeply thank you for journeying with us this far, and we are so excited to see where we go together as the community of Purple Door Coffee!