Coffee and Fellowship… Fellowship and Coffee… they go together like coffee and cream. Cream and sugar. Coffee and cookies. Chocolate and coffee. Coffee and cake. Cake and ice cream. Ice cream and chocolate sauce. Mmmm… coffee flavoured ice cream… Ooops, sorry! Got carried away.
Some Surprising Similarities
I’m sure you agree fellowship (aka people getting to know one another, supporting one another, serving one another..) seems indelibly connected to coffee. It’s treated like the glue that binds the fellowship together. But did you know there are other similarities?
1. Both seem simple at first, but are far more complex than we realize. Check this out these suggestions: 70g/Litre, course ground trimodal particle distribution, no covering to allow the grinds to bloom so you don’t get an uneven extraction from the cake of coffee. Wow!
Similarly, one would think that sticking people in a room with readily available hot beverages would create Fellowship. Not so, but this is the approach of most of the churches I’ve been to take. Provide a space, perk some coffee, make juice, pour water, steep tea (for the hippies), add some no-nut cookies and sliced veggies (again, for the hippies), and just watch the fellowship bloom. But it’s not that simple is it?
True fellowship is not just meandering around the same floor space sharing insights about the weather and the local sports teams. True Christian fellowship requires time, risk, sacrifice, determination, leadership, emotional energy, purposeful interaction, mission and the imbuement of the Holy Spirit. People need education on how to move their conversation to a deeper level, they need encouragment to let down their guard because many of them have been hurt, they need a reason to meet together beyond sharing a location (a good cause, a decision to make, an issue to support, etc.), and they need lots of time (15 minutes on Sunday after church isn’t enough).
2. Both are terrible lukewarm. No one, not even Jesus, likes lukewarm drinks (Rev 3:16)! They are best hot, or cold. Lukewarm fellowship is even worse. No one likes a hypocrite, and most people can tell pretty quickly when someone is detached, inauthentic or uninterested, even though they walk up to you with a cheery, “How are you?” It only takes a couple of emotionless, mindless, useless conversations for a person to know that the relationship is fake and that they don’t want to waste their time. I’m sure you’ve felt this.
3. It’s not good when it’s too strong. Some people like strong coffee, but even they say it can be too strong. In the same way, when a fellowship goes from being committed and loving (Acts 2:42-47) to being a clique full of nosey busybodies (James 2:1-13, 1 Tim 5:13), they’ve taken a good, God-given thing, and made it into something bad.
Connecting Coffee to Fellowship
So here’s some ideas:
1. Pretend you’re a barista and serve everyone else first. Be the first one to the coffee pot and the last one to take a sip.
2. Make some coffee gifts. A dollar store mug with some chocolate covered espresso beans and a nice, non-preachy note is cheap and does the trick. Give them to folks you see on the periphery of your daily life (Store clerk, bank teller, newcomer to church, neighbour, mechanic, etc.).
3. Have an International Coffee Tasting night where people bring over their coffee machines and a unique blend of coffee and try them all out! I recommend “Kopi Luwak” or “Weasel Poop Coffee”. (I bought it for my brother for Christmas one year.)
What about you? Have you ever drank a drink that came from the rear end of an animal? What has been your best fellowship experience? What has been your worst?