Karibu’ is Swahili for ‘welcome’. Welcome Coffee Break! Last week I had the honor of leading Coffee Break training in Kenya. The training was hosted by the Bible League of Kenya. Sixty pastors and leaders attended two training events.
In the training, we discussed the following passage from Isaiah. What do these verses say about the Word of God?
“As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: it will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:10,11
They answered: The Word causes growth and produces fruit. The Word has power and purpose. The Word changes us. etc.
In the training, they experienced and learned about the Coffee Break approach where the Word does the work of evangelism and discipleship. Coffee Break is one method of Bible study that uses questions to launch a conversation and discovery about the text. Leaders facilitate the conversation with a study guide and personalized questions that address the personality and spiritual maturity of the group. The name “Coffee Break” expresses the importance of relationships and conversation in a relaxed atmosphere.
So, why interest in Coffee Break in Kenya?
The Bible League of Kenya developed a partnership with Coffee Break to share the materials and method in order to encourage small group Bible discovery. Most often, ‘Bible Study’ in Africa means teaching. People learn about the Bible through teaching in sermons, Sunday School and small groups. For many reasons, people have not been equipped or encouraged to study the Bible on their own but rely on experts and teachers to teach them about what the Bible says and means.
I began to wonder about our own cultural habits and assumptions about Bible study.
How are churches in North America encouraging and training people to read and study the Bible? In what ways do we relay on experts rather than digging for ourselves? How is the Word bringing transformation?
“If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. If you teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime.”