“For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.”
The coffee shop has become a great symbol for community. It has a long tradition in American society as a place where people could meet and discuss ideas or just enjoy each other’s company. It is not quite home and not quite work but holds elements of both. We relax and have community in it sometimes several times a week. In fact, the coffee shop is almost a culture of its own. And many churches add coffee bars to their fellowship time naming them things like “Holy Grounds” or “He-Brews” to try and take hold of some of this same culture.
That makes some sense, for there are some positive parallels between sharing coffee and sharing Christian fellowship and maybe even sharing the gospel with unbelievers. One author says it this way, “Standing or sitting people will gather where there is coffee. There is a common bond of communion among coffee drinkers. And let’s face it, coffee is the most consumed beverage on the planet next to water. It crosses cultural and ethnic barriers. I would even go so far as to say it crosses language barriers often.” The kindness, service, and deeper, intimate conversation in a coffee shop should be the experience with Christians anytime and anywhere. But the most important taste and aroma in the room should be Jesus in us as we live in His image and proclaim His salvation. Psalm 34:8 and 2 Corinthians 2:14-17
So, let’s consider some specific ways we can interact with believers and non-believers…
- Talk about Jesus specifically and not “God” generically
- Reference and discuss Scriptures that relate to their lives
- Recall and share sermons we’ve heard in church
- Reflect on the lyrics of solid hymns and songs of praise
- Spend time praying aloud for unbelievers and with believers
- Treat each other with kindness, even if others are contentious
In other words, if our lives are like a coffee shop with frequent “customers” watching us all the time, we should serve them with the substance of the Gospel and they should like what they see, even if they don’t like what we say. (Matthew 5:1-16, 1 Peter 2:12, etc.) Jesus must be at the center of our gatherings, and the people of this world should see and hear Him. Our gatherings should not mimic coffee shops in the sense of merely sharing opinions, debate for the sake of debate, gossip, etc. We should be bringing His Truth for Life, not selling a brand of Christianity.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the what transforms us as His Body
In Ephesians 4, we are commanded to live out our faith in ways that are counter-cultural, crushing our selfish natures and demanding intentional approaches toward Love.
Ephesians 4:11-16 says, “So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.”
Ephesians 4:2-3 says, “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”
- Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.
2 Tomothy 2:1-2 “You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.”
As Voddie Baucham says, we are to preserve and proclaim the Gospel together while “reproducing” ourselves….ministers of the Gospel. It’s an intentional process to do this in our communities.. As Paul tells Timothy to replicate himself, we are to do the same. Targeted, purposeful discipleship to further the Gospel.
“If I am to obey the second great commandment, to love my neighbor as myself, I need to refocus my understanding of community,
of neighbor, to the people I can best love, best serve, best share the gospel with. And those are the people right here, right now, right around me.” – Tim Challies
Who Are You?
Whose Are You?
Invite someone to speak about these topics, create workshops that keep ladies digging into the Word, work together on an outreach project to demonstrate unity in the Body, etc.
In Christ, I am accepted…
- John 1:12 – I am God’s child.
- John 15:15 – As a disciple, I am a friend of Jesus Christ.
- Romans 5:1 – I have been justified.
- 1 Corinthians 6:17 – I am united with the Lord, and I am one with Him in spirit.
- 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 – I have been bought with a price and I belong to God.
- 1 Corinthians 12:27 – I am a member of Christ’s body.
- Ephesians 1:3-8 – I have been chosen by God and adopted as His child.
- Colossians 1:13-14 – I have been redeemed and forgiven of all my sins.
- Colossians 2:9-10 – I am complete in Christ.
- Hebrews 4:14-16 – I have direct access to the throne of grace through Jesus Christ.
In Christ, I am secure…
- Romans 8:1-2 – I am free from condemnation.
- Romans 8:28 – I am assured that God works for my good in all circumstances.
- Romans 8:31-39 – I am free from any condemnation brought against me and I cannot be separated from the love of God.
- 2 Corinthians 1:21-22 – I have been established, anointed and sealed by God.
- Colossians 3:1-4 – I am hidden with Christ in God.
- Philippians 1:6 – I am confident that God will complete the good work He started in me.
- Philippians 3:20 – I am a citizen of heaven.
- 2 Timothy 1:7 – I have not been given a spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind.
- 1 John 5:18 – I am born of God and the evil one cannot touch me.
In Christ, I am significant…
- John 15:5 – I am a branch of Jesus Christ, the true vine, and a channel of His life.
- John 15:16 – I have been chosen and appointed to bear fruit.
- 1 Corinthians 3:16 – I am God’s temple.
- 2 Corinthians 5:17-21 – I am a minister of reconciliation for God.
- Ephesians 2:6 – I am seated with Jesus Christ in the heavenly realm.
- Ephesians 2:10 – I am God’s workmanship.
- Ephesians 3:12 – I may approach God with freedom and confidence.
- Philippians 4:13 – I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.
Because we belong to Christ, we have a certain identity.
Philippians 4:6-7, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (NASB)
Because we belong to Christ, we reflect a certain identity.
Galatians 5:22-26 says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.”
Because we belong to Christ, we put on certain characteristics. To put on” is to take on the characteristics of or take on certain intentions of something.
Colossians 3:12-17 says, “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
Workshop Ideas / Activity Ideas
Identity Workshop (found on the Training Workshops page on The Hub) – It is vital for us, as Christians, to truly know and believe who we are in Christ. We may often remind and encourage others of who Christ created them to be, but it’s harder to apply these truths to ourselves- it’s time to change that mentality based on the truth of who we are in Him. This workshop serves as a reminder, or possibly a first-time realization, that we are more than who we believe ourselves to be when we belong to Christ.
Check out the Mentoring Workshop (Also found on the Training Workshops page on The Hub)
Who Am I? Game – Players use yes or no questions and others(small groups or one large group) to try to guess the identity of a famous person or occupation. Questions are based upon the traits and characteristics of a person everyone will be able to identify. This game works well with any size group, however the larger the group, the more fun the game becomes.
Uniquely You, Uniquely Me
Give everyone in the group an index card. They should put their name on the top of the card. Have them write down three unique things about themselves. Have them turn the cards back into you. You will read the three things on the card to the group and have the group guess to whom the card belongs.
Who Am I
How is a caterpillar different than a butterfly? What made the difference?
The Christian life is similar – we are different after Christ than we were before Christ. Look at these
verses and write down anything that they say about what we were like BEFORE Christ in the first
column. Then write down anything it says about what we are like AFTER Christ in the second column.
Helpful Sermons / Articles / Snippets
Mentoring Each Other
12 Ways To Preserve Christian Unity – Tim Challies