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Coffee Discipleship

July 9, 2013

I love coffee. I do not like the cheap canned stuff. Buying whole beans and grinding them right before I make it brings the best cup of coffee that can be had. What most people don’t realize is making the best cup of coffee takes time. You have to harvest the beans while they are still green and have them roasted just right. Then bag the coffee for sale. Then you have to grind it to the proper size for the method of brewing to be used. Then there are different ways to brew it – French press, drip, percolator, and cowboy style. It brings a different flavor out of the brew. And then there is the fast-food version of coffee, those little cups you pop in a machine to get a great cup of coffee in thirty seconds.

Introducing people to Christianity is like making coffee. It takes time and understanding the tools you are working with and understanding which “bean” to use. Each person brings a different set of assumptions to the table when they start exploring their faith. Each person has different question – this is the bean. Once you understand what the bean is, you understand the water temperature to use and the best grind and brewing method.

When the person brings their “bean” to you, select the proper approach – this is the grinder and brewing method. The first step is to listen, listen, and listen. Ask clarifying questions, but do not make a judgment or interrupt with an opinion. Just listen. This is the grinding process. They are breaking the bean down for you to understand.

Now that the beans have been broken for to the right size, it is time to select the brewing method. Ironically, the size of the grind will tell you which brewing method is best. Some take longer than others, but each can produce a good cup of coffee. When applying this in discipleship this may mean you have to meet for a round of golf because that is where conversation is comfortable. It may require you to reveal personal struggles with faith to allow the person to see they are normal in wrestling with their faith. No matter what, choose the right method of approach here.

In reality, some people may need a little cream and honey in the cup to make it palatable. Remember, the essential ingredient is still coffee. This is where essentials and nonessentials come into play. Address the essentials first. Help them understand with nonessentials it is acceptable, even normal, not to agree with others. The nonessentials are areas for exploration and growth throughout life.

The best cup of coffee takes time to make and the same can be said about a disciple. Formulated programs may look good and promise results, but if they are not relational based they most likely will fail. Helping people move through their faith journey takes time, honesty, and openness. Give the person time to brew the information you share with them. They need time to process things. Follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. Do not force things which are not ready to harvest. Listening and patience are the keys to discipleship, just like patience is needed to make a good cup of coffee.

By the way, my coffee is typically from African beans (Kenyan or Ethiopian) or dark roast (Italian or French roasts). I usually brew through a drip maker and it comes out thick as syrup and dark as year old motor oil. Some say my coffee could raise the dead.


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  1. Dejah permalink

    Apparently you drink what we call “diesel fuel” and I drink “muddy water”. LOL To each their own, it’s what makes us unique and different and wonderful and special. I remember bringing my small green coffee bean to you, worried what to do with it, that I only had one chance to make it right, and that others were judging it, and making me judge as well. You have nurtured, and allowed me to roast my little bean just-so, to where I’m happy with it. I’m not ready to grind it up and make coffee out of it yet, I still have some work to do to be able to let go, but I’m further along than I used to be. I held on for so long to notions and ideas that I had stored inside my little green bean, because no one else could answer the questions it contained. No one took the time to stop and see that I think differently; I’m not a cookie cutter sheep. And I refuse to be. I’m introverted, socially awkward, and confident only in what I know. It’s what makes me unique, and I like that. Thanks for listening to your calling. 🙂

    • Dejah,
      Thank you for your kind words. Each of us is ready in our own time and no one should force another to change ahead of time. I am sure you will make a perfectly unique and good cup of coffee at just the right time! Many blessings!

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