Skip to main content

We recently had the opportunity to listen to the Coffee Break story. Alvin VanderGriend and Neva Evenhouse were invited to share how Coffee Break began then grew into a missional movement of the CRC and many other denominations. We were privileged to listen, question and watch for God shaped themes as they told their story. We also wondered aloud how those themes might ignite kingdom growth in Coffee Break and small groups today.

Here’s what we heard...

Prayer. The idea of Coffee Break was launched in prayer. Leaders of Peace CRC prayed to God for a mission strategy for their neighborhood. Their discernment of God’s replies led to a series of ideas which eventually was called Coffee Break. They repeatedly said, “We did not have a final goal in mind, we just obeyed God one step at a time. We invited kids and they came. We needed leaders and God provided.”

Evangelism. Coffee Break was designed with non-Christian neighbors in mind. The name, materials and setting were created to be accessible, friendly and inviting for their non-Christian neighbors.

Word. People became Christians as they met Jesus in the Word. The Coffee Break discovery method used questions for uncovering what the Bible says and means. The Word did the work of evangelism!

Loving Relationships. Coffee Break small groups were warm, fun and a safe place to meet Jesus together. The groups offered encouragement. People were changed.

Leadership Development. Coffee Break grew leaders. The leaders met each week to pray for each other and their groups. They studied the Bible together and wrestled with how make the Word come alive. Many Coffee Break leaders went on to other key leadership positions in the church.

The Coffee Break idea started forty years ago in South Holland. Today the strategy is catching on in Korea, China, Indonesia, Brazil, Colombia and beyond. How do you see the five missional themes of Coffee Break at work in your group and church?


Thanks Sam,

This is a great summary of the discussion, and of the main themes of Coffee Break.  I've been thinking a lot about the Leadership Development piece, and about how we might continue to grow the Leadership of women, in our churches.  In Ontario, we're planning a Women's Leadership Retreat for the end of September, for any woman who wants to grow in her leadership, and in whatever she believes God is calling her to.  If you're interested in this retreat, please send me an email [email protected].

Also, it might be helpful Sam, to post this conversation on the Coffee Break forum as well!  Are you able to do that?  Or I could do it, with your permission.



Thanks for this article, Sam. I'll be co-directing for the second year this year at AACRC and find reviewing the five missional themes of Coffee Break helpful. Five of our seasoned Coffee Break leaders have stepped down in the last couple of years and we've been thinking about how we could recruit new leadership from the women from our church who have been attending Coffee Break for a number of years. After reading Marian's comment below I am wondering if their workshop is open to women of other churches and what city in Ontario they are located and also what resources are available from the Coffee Break ministry staff?

Good to see you!


Let's Discuss

We love your comments! Thank you for helping us uphold the Community Guidelines to make this an encouraging and respectful community for everyone.

Login or Register to Comment

We want to hear from you.

Connect to The Network and add your own question, blog, resource, or job.

Add Your Post