G19: Kenny Sipes

Shaped by Sobriety: A Journey to Purpose | with Kenny Sipes

Kenny Sipes is a former youth pastor who succeeded in mobilizing people to worldwide mission work, but after participating in relief work around the world, Kenny was struck with the dire need for freedom, water, and food in underdeveloped countries. So, he decided to take action.

Kenny created The Roosevelt Coffeehouse to mobilize justice through an everyday experience: a well-made cup of coffee. It’s a wonderful place to stop in and get a cup of coffee, but it’s run as a non-profit to fund life-saving initiatives in the underserved locations that Kenny visited firsthand. He manages every aspect of The Roosevelt Coffeehouse, from hiring to systems, and has led the giving of over $125,000 to date.

He is also expanding the business to include Roosevelt Coffee Roasters as a way of reducing costs, increasing sales, and maximizing profits so that they can impact even more lives. We’ve talked a lot about conscious capitalism on the show so far, but few walk the walk quite like Kenny.

But, if you met Kenny in high school, you probably wouldn’t have guessed how much he would have accomplished — especially not if you were there when he was being escorted to a treatment center in the back of a police car. Today, we’re going to learn how this journey and sobriety shaped Kenny into the incredible man he is today, and how he learned to fill the hole in his life with purpose instead of substances.

What Brett asks:

  • [02:45] What was Kenny’s journey to The Roosevelt Coffeehouse?
  • [06:50] What was underneath the rebellious, partying phase of Kenny’s life?
  • [09:40] What caused the underlying hole, the insecurity in young Kenny?
  • [11:55] How did Kenny end up in rehab as a senior in high school?
  • [15:25] Why did Kenny say yes to taking that hit of acid in rehab?
  • [17:45] How does Kenny look at that bad trip now?
  • [20:55] When did religion become a big part of Kenny’s life?
  • [24:00] What did Kenny do professionally before becoming a pastor?
  • [33:15] Knowing that you grew up with insecurity and doubt, how did Kenny find himself leaning into a life of purpose and passion?
  • [39:00] How did Kenny know that he wanted to create The Roosevelt Coffeehouse?
  • [48:15] Tell me about the coffeeshop today and how are you navigating the current global climate?
  • [56:20] Any final thoughts?

Lessons for intentional living:

  • Your past and current circumstances do not dictate who you will become or what you will achieve. Even if you cannot imagine a life filled with purpose — or even a life with security — from where you are currently sitting, that does not mean your path will not bring you there. Every day, you are given an opportunity to grow from where you were the day before, and consistently making that choice, compounding those little wins, is how you achieve the extraordinary. “You have to be 10 days sober to get to 35 years sober.”