On any given morning, you might find Reverend Justin Herman sipping coffee while reading the Bible or talking with students at the coffee shop inside University Lutheran’s newly remodeled building.
Since ULu completed their remodeling project, the building now houses a new fellowship hall, coffee shop, and office space. The coffee shop is run by a local vendor, Fuel, and has quickly become a popular venue for Purdue students and staff. At lunch time, Fuel is packed with students and has been getting heavy foot traffic due to its location across the street from the Purdue engineering mall.
“The Purdue community comes to us everyday,” says Reverend Herman. “Our students bring friends—people who don’t go to church. I get to meet new faces all the time. That’s what I was hoping for and it’s even better than I imagined.”
Since last fall’s update, the fellowship hall, office space, and entryways are finally finished, with the new signage being put into place as a final touch. Pastor Herman says they are seeing an increase in students attending worship services and the church is actively using the newly remodeled fellowship hall every Sunday after their 10:30 am and 5 pm worship services.
It’s a huge change from last August, when the new coffee shop was still under construction and the church was trying to get the remodeling project finished. This semester has a decidedly different feel now that the project is complete.
“People are coming in to get coffee and it’s a way to serve the community,” Reverend Herman says. “The atmosphere of the coffee shop is helping us build a reputation for being welcoming before we have an opportunity to do anything else. We want to be a people of service as we’ve been served.”
Although the atmosphere of the coffee shop is attracting the Purdue community, it’s not their primary mission.
“The most important thing is what we do on the third floor,” says Reverend Herman. “If we don’t have salvation, then none of the rest matters. We want what we receive from Christ to trickle down to the other floors so we can share the hope we have.”
In order to reach more people, they are currently in the process of calling another pastor, who will become the director of community relations and help facilitate ULu’s councils, Bible studies, and more, all with the goal of building strong relationships.
“Everything flows from the worship,” Reverend Herman adds. “We want to receive that and to have a community where people meet their friends and spouse, those lifelong relationships that flow from the joy of being at Purdue and part of ULu. We want to develop a community that serves the Purdue community as Christ serves us.”