How do you invite people to your Coffee Break ministry? How do you make your ministry an inviting place for those who attend regularly and for newcomers?
We wanted to provide leaders with great ideas for inviting people to Coffee Break and for creating a Coffee Break culture that was inviting. So we went to the experts—Coffee Break ministry leaders—and asked three of them to share what their ministry does to invite and to be inviting. Their responses were so wonderful that we decided to create a “Mug Shot” profile on each of them! You’ll find Beyond the Welcome Mat (Part 1) here.
Mug Shot: Profile of a Coffee Break in Grand Rapids, MI.
Intergenerational and diverse are two of the words that describe the 40 year old Coffee Break ministry at Mayfair CRC in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where about three quarters of the 40 women and children who attend are from the community. “We have women in their 80's down to their 20's, women of every social and economic class, women with PhD's and others who have little education, women who have known Jesus since early childhood and some who have just recently met Him,” says Director and group leader Lisa Buffinga.
While they most often use the Discover Your Bible curriculum at Mayfair, this year they used The Story as their study guide and took the opportunity to include storytelling through personal testimonies at their kick-off event and socials throughout the year. “Many women bravely and openly shared how God stepped down into their stories and transformed their lives. These testimonies, along with praying and studying the Bible together, fostered a deep intimacy among the women of Coffee Break this year,” says Lisa.
We picked up some great ideas from Lisa when we asked how they welcome women to Mayfair.
Q. How are people invited to your Coffee Break ministry?
We canvas the neighborhood every year before we kick-off in the fall. Anyone who has attended in the past gets a mailing giving them details about CB for the upcoming year. Word of mouth, though, is the most effective tool when it comes to inviting other women to CB. We always encourage the women to invite their neighbors, friends, family and acquaintances.
Q. How do you make your Coffee Break “inviting” to those who attend—and for those who are first-timers?
Environment. Creating an environment where there is intimacy with God and each other is key. We give the women an opportunity to socialize for about 10 minutes after arriving and then we have large group time. Large group lasts around 15 minutes and during this time we may sing, have announcements, watch a video or have a “share and prayer” time. After that we grab some coffee and treats and go to our small groups. In small groups we go through the lesson and have a more intimate prayer and share time.
Regular Contact. The leaders stay in regular contact with their small group members through phone calls and/or e-mail during the week.
Relationships. We stay after Bible Study and have lunch together a few times throughout the year to foster our relationships with each other. One of our leaders gets the young moms together a few times throughout the year as well.
Trust and Grace. We make a conscious effort to create an environment of trust and grace. We want Coffee Break to be a place where women can be vulnerable and real with God and each other. Bathing the program in prayer and centering it on God's Word seems to create this kind of environment for the Glory of God.