Shinsil Park (Sincere in English) first experienced Coffee Break small groups in 1993. Shinsil is the wife of Pastor Pildo Joung. When she was looking for a Bible study, leaders at her church directed her towards a pastor’s wives group at the Orange County Coffee Break. She remembers lots of lively conversation in the group and how Myung Lee, the Coffee Break Center Director at that time, expertly summarized the lesson using questions.
Later back in Korea, she started Coffee Break for pastor’s wives. These groups became a safe place for relationship building and discussing the truth of the Bible. In addition, the wives developed as leaders and exercised leadership. Eventually, they opened this group to pastor’s wives from other churches. Shinsil believes creating a safe place is so important that twice a year she asks group members to raise their right hand and pledge to keep the ground rules — which includes confidentiality.
The spread of Coffee Break to faraway places — like Colombia, Japan, India and throughout Korea — wasn’t intentional. It happened naturally. As missionaries and pastors were sent out from their home church in Korea, they started Coffee Break groups. The groups filled a personal longing for deep community. In addition, they were able to share this warm experience with others and develop new leaders and groups. The principles of Coffee Break are easily reproducible — safe small groups where people study God’s word together.
Shinsil is the Korean Coffee Break Representative where she gives vision and support to Coffee Break ministry in Korea and beyond. She facilitates retreats for workshop leaders and meets bi-annually with directors. At one meeting, she encouraged the directors to put their goals and dreams for Coffee Break in a time capsule. One of the leaders shared a vision for growing to 20 groups at their center. Shinsil comes alongside these leaders with coaching and prayer.
Today in Korea there are more than 200 Coffee Break groups in centers and more groups in church based ministries reaching more than 1400 people. The people attending are exporting Coffee Break all over the world!
Shinsil generously thanks Coffee Break leaders in the US and Canada for their faithful leadership. We thank God for using her and others to plant and nurture safe places for leaders to develop, grow and spread the ministry of Coffee Break.