Originally from Kentucky, Shawn Critser and his wife moved to Fort Myers Beach in June 2004 after falling in love with how “vibrant” the church was. Despite never aspiring to become a pastor, Critser serves as the senior pastor of Beach Baptist Church in Fort Myers Beach.
Beach Baptist Church is well known in their community for their countless outreach ministries and strong missions emphasis. Along with serving large free dinners every Wednesday night, they have also provided a weekly food bank for nine years. In partnership with the Harry Chapin Food Bank, Midwest Food Bank, and Publix, Beach Baptist is able to provide fresh fruit and vegetables, canned goods, cereal, frozen meats, bread, etc. every Thursday. Through this weekly community food bank, Beach Baptist can feed over 1,000 people every month.
Although these are most certainly noteworthy ministries, there is one ministry at Beach Baptist that reaches outside of Lee County – in the San Pedro de la Laguna region of Guatemala. In 2012, Beach Baptist partnered with a nonprofit, Phoenix Community Coffee. This nonprofit organization is responsible for connecting a network of nonprofits and individuals with the purpose of selling coffee in the United States to help impoverished communities in Central America.“At Beach Baptist Church, we have an ambitious endeavor to change the way we fund mission work by selling ‘Coffee with a Purpose’,” says Critser.
The bags of coffee sold at Son Coast Coffee, located on the campus of Beach Baptist, benefits impoverished regions in Guatemala. The mission helps the local economy by paying the coffee growers fair wages, building houses, sending children to school, and “supporting the ongoing growth of the gospel”.
The fruit of Son Coast Coffee is evidenced by the relationships they have cultivated oversees through annual visits and ongoing communication with local pastors, farmers, and many others.
“We are so excited that God has allowed us to develop relationships with the people in Guatemala,” says Critser. “It is through these relationships, and partnerships with others such as Phoenix Community Coffee, that we are able to be involved in their mission field in Guatemala.”
By purchasing coffee through Beach Baptist, you can easily join the mission efforts taking place in Guatemala. You can purchase coffee online or at the Beach Baptist Church coffee shop, Son Coast Coffee. If you would like to help in this ministry or serve this coffee at your local church, email firstname.lastname@example.org.