A Coffee Break Journey in Australia
May 11, 2017
Updated March 9, 2021
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In 17 countries around the world, God is moving as Coffee Break groups gather to learn about the Bible, build friendships, and grow closer to God together. One of the beautiful things about Coffee Break’s global community is that we can hear stories from and learn from our brothers and sisters across the world.
In March, Grace Paek traveled to Australia to lead Coffee Break trainings in Sydney and Brisbane. This was Grace’s second trip to Australia – she first visited in 2014 to train new leaders, as Coffee Break had recently been introduced from Korea in 2012. North Seaside Korean Church in Sydney was the first church in Australia to start Coffee Break groups and use the Bible discovery method, and their senior pastor, Rev. Kim, became the Coffee Break center director for Australia. One of the highlights of Grace’s trip was seeing Rev. Kim become certified as a Coffee Break trainer with all of the pastors gathering around him to bless and pray for him.
Another highlight was hearing the testimony of Rev. and Mrs. Song as they spoke at North Seaside Korean Church. They are Coffee Break trainers in East India who traveled to Australia to attend the training and help with the group workshops. Rev. Song spoke about how a trip to East India sparked his passion for bringing hope to the people there. He and Mrs. Song moved to India, and they have been ministering there for almost 10 years now. The area where they live has poor air quality, so breathing fresh air and going to the beach in Australia was an amazing and refreshing experience.
In addition to the workshop in Sydney, Grace also led two trainings in Brisbane: one for Coffee Break trainers, and one for group leaders at Brisbane Central Korean Church, a large church which uses Coffee Break for all of their small groups. Reflecting on all of these trainings, Grace noted that she had found it difficult to prepare, as she hadn’t been sure what exactly was expected. When she arrived, though, the participants were very relaxed and encouraging. As she spoke at each training, she prayed continually, asking God to lead. And God was indeed working as the participants caught a new dimension of what Coffee Break is.
When Coffee Break was first introduced in Australia, the new leaders were most excited to learn about the Bible discovery method. This time, though, Grace noticed that many participants were catching a vision for evangelism and how it connects with Bible discovery. It was an ‘aha!’ moment. After all, the original intent of Discover Your Bible was to reach out to people who don’t know God, or who barely know him, and to help them meet God through simple and personal questions. Evangelism and discipleship are part of the DNA of Coffee Break – otherwise, as Grace says, the Bible discovery method is just academics.
In light of this, Grace talked about one thing we might learn from our Australian brothers and sisters. In Korea and the US, Coffee Break leaders are sometimes hesitant to ask their groups simple questions with straightforward answers. There can be a tendency to ask more difficult or intellectual questions. In the Australian groups, on the other hand, Grace noticed that everyone was very laid-back and that the leaders were comfortable asking a lot of simple questions about facts and observations. While either approach can be taken to an extreme, Grace found it to be a good reminder that asking simple questions can get to the very heart of Coffee Break’s evangelistic purpose, by creating a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere for newcomers who don’t know very much about the Bible.
Pray that the Coffee Break trainers and leaders in Australia would be encouraged as they continue their ministry, and that their excitement for evangelism would grow as they lead their groups in studying the Bible and stepping into deeper relationships with our Lord.
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