God’s love is rippling into and out of the Coffee Break ministry at Elmhurst CRC where over 175 people signed up this fall to attend during one of the weekly morning, afternoon and evening sessions which are offered at this Illinois church.
It’s rippling among the Coffee Break leaders who look for women with leadership potential and provide them with opportunities to grow by taking on administrative roles, becoming assistant leaders and (as new leaders Sharon Nutter and Anna Wick will attest) serving as co-leaders.
It’s rippling outward into the church and surrounding community as diverse women of all ages from different towns and different denominations connect with one another for one unifying purpose and as some women find in Elmhurst a church they can call home.
The impact is found in the friendships that form at Coffee Break and which extend beyond the regular meetings and through support groups provided to one another when group members face difficult situations.
It’s also spreading through families as the attendees whose lives have been transformed by Jesus live out their faith at home in the way they parent their children and in their relationships with their marriage partners.
But perhaps the best way to illustrate the ripple effect of God’s love through Coffee Break at Elmhurst is by sharing the impact it has made on the life of a young mom and her family. Here’s how former Elmhurst Coffee Break Director Laura Boot tells the story:
A couple of years ago, a young mom who had grown up in Poland and now lives in the US, heard about Elmhurst’s Little Lambs program. She wanted her children to have a pre-school experience, so she signed them up to attend, even though it meant a 40 minute drive from home to get them there.
She dropped her oldest child off at Little Lambs on the first day it was offered but when she brought her youngest to the nursery, she was informed that she couldn't just leave her child in the nursery unless she went to Coffee Break. Although she had no idea what Coffee Break was and "didn't even like coffee," she came to the first meeting--her defenses up, not knowing at all what to expect, and not wanting to be there.
Something began to happen in her heart that day, and she decided to return. At first she was very quiet in the group, and to her it felt like "everyone was talking in a foreign language." But, she continued to come every week and to read her Polish Bible. She began to understand what it meant to have a relationship with Jesus. She wanted to have that for herself and for her family. During the course of that year, she began to attend a local church, where she became baptized.
But the story doesn’t end there. Desiring for others to experience the life change she has experienced, this woman now invites friends to attend Coffee Break. She also shared God’s love with her parents in Poland during their regular Skype conversations, telling them how being a follower of Jesus brought meaning and hope to her life. Recently, they visited her in the US. Together they read the Bible each day and, near the end of their visit, they also made the decision to follow Jesus.
God’s love rippled out to this young mom through Coffee Break. Now God’s love ripples out to others through her. It’s a story we hear again and again from Coffee Break leaders around the globe. And it’s a story we love to hear and to tell!
How about you? What have been the ripple effects of God’s love through your Coffee Break ministry?