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Coffee and the Gospel

A lesson in Gospel fluency from a local coffee roastery.

The following article is taken from Garth Hunt’s latest ANiC prayer meditation.

My family and I like coffee. We’re not particularly connoisseurs, but we know what we like and are learning about what makes for a good, dark roasted flavour including the grinding of our own beans and the use of a French press. It was not always so with our two sons. Both Scott and Bryan were well into their thirties before they would even consider having a cup of java, but since their “conversion”, in typical fashion, they have researched the various ways that coffee is harvested, roasted, marketed and sold in our culture.

So, it was not inconceivable that last Saturday we should drive 35 minutes away from home to visit a small café in Dundas, ON that sells its own brand of coffee. Like craft breweries, smaller independent roasteries are popping up in some unexpected places. All of which are fun to explore.

An Ambassador

The sounds and aromas that we encountered as we entered the café were quite appealing. We were seated fairly quickly, and a young female server appeared to take our order. When she learned that we were not locals, but were first-timers there to discover their various coffees, she lit up and began to enthusiastically share about their various blends, but even more importantly, their commitment to business integrity in how they go one step beyond even “fair trade” to corporately ensure that even the farms in Costa Rica or Columbia from which they buy their beans are paid appropriately for their product, and that their treatment of their farm employees is up to a high standard. She spoke of her roastery with a confidence, enthusiasm and personal conviction that we found remarkably compelling. We saw an ambassador, not just a “waitress”. As well as having lunch there, we walked out with a bag of coffee beans.

On the drive home, we found ourselves discussing what we had just experienced and wondered whether there were very many Christians who could present the Gospel of Jesus with such ease, competency, and passion. The young woman was remarkably fluent in her knowledge of their coffees and company core values.

Gospel Fluency

Immediately, I was drawn to a memory of Bishop Charlie Masters speaking to ANiC synod in November 2014 about his Five Priorities, the first of which was Bold Witnesses. He said; “It is my keen desire and conviction that we need to set our minds and our hearts towards training and equipping one another to know and be ready to share the good news of the gospel in a way which our family members and friends, our colleagues and our neighbours can understand.” Putting it another way, Bishop Charlie’s deep aspiration is that we would all be fluent in the Gospel message and eager to share it.

Over the years since that synod, we have been reminding each other in this publication to pray that this priority (and the other four) would become “a transformational reality in the life of every ANiC congregation.” This month, I want us to intensify our prayers for this priority of being bold witnesses to the Gospel because it really is the key to fulfilling our role in the Great Commission (Matt 28: 19-20). The Lord is looking for a host of passionate, compelling, winsome men and women, boys and girls, who are eager to share their faith in Jesus and who are comfortably fluent enough in the Gospel to overcome any fear or embarrassment. Sounds like a tall order, doesn’t it! 

So, how should we pray to this end?

Here are a few suggestions to get us started:

  1. Pray that your parish leadership would more and more catch the importance of this priority and would look for a multitude of new ways to train parishioners in “Gospel fluency”. That young café waitress didn’t walk into work her first day with that knowledge. She was taught both the content and intrinsic value of what she shared. Many ANiC churches have been using the new catechism as a means of training. But people have various learning styles. Pray that the Lord will provide us with many different means of growth in Gospel fluency.
  2. Pray that our leadership will not make the assumption that, as regular church attenders, we all know the Gospel in its fullness. Often we may need to go back to basics and ask, “What exactly is the Gospel? Do I really know all that Jesus accomplished on the cross for me? Is it more than just head knowledge or is the truth and power of the Gospel informing my everyday life?” Pray that each adult and child in your parish would have a full knowledge of the Gospel and a vital experience of the saving power of Jesus Christ!

  3. Pray that the fear of offending others by sharing the Gospel would be replaced by an urgency for the salvation of those on a road to perdition. Pray that the Lord would refresh our clear understanding of just how high the stakes are! Pray that the lies and disqualifying accusations of the enemy that hold us back from sharing would be finally silenced, and that our joy and delight in the Gospel would be attractive and infectious.
  4. Pray that in each ANiC parish there would be a fresh release of the Holy Spirit who is the only One who can make any of this possible. Human zeal and enthusiasm will not accomplish this monumental task. Only the Holy Spirit can convey the heart of the Father towards His people as revealed in Scripture and bring it to transforming life in the hearts and minds of a desperately needy humanity.

Bold Witnesses

The world increasingly thinks of Christians as angry, bigoted, against everything, unpleasant people who are to be caricatured but personally avoided at all costs. And yet, that young gal who served us in the café was anything but, and much more importantly, the life of Jesus within us will produce attractive, compassionate, joy-filled believers who truly care about a dying world because He does. 

Being Bold Witnesses is not an option reserved for the spiritually mature and ordained clergy. May the Lord give to each of us a new heart for the lost and a fresh motivation to do all that we can to become fluent in the Gospel for the sake of those who yet do not know Him. Amen.

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About the Author

Garth Hunt
Garth is an honorary assistant here at St. George's. He's also the National Prayer Coordinator and Canon for Bishop's Prayer Support for the Anglican Network in Canada. He lives with his wife, Margaret, in Campbellville, Ontario.
  • About the Author

    Garth Hunt
    Garth is an honorary assistant here at St. George's. He's also the National Prayer Coordinator and Canon for Bishop's Prayer Support for the Anglican Network in Canada. He lives with his wife, Margaret, in Campbellville, Ontario.
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