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Coffee Break: A Short History

Maybe you have never heard of Coffee Break small groups and the Bible discovery method that is changing lives around the world. In 1970, members of a Christian Reformed church in a Chicago suburb started praying about how to reach out to their community. Since very few preschool options were available in their area, they believed God was leading them to fill that gap. They began a weekly program, Story Hour, for preschoolers. Through crafts, songs, and Bible stories, young children were introduced to Jesus and the story of the Bible. Soon leaders realized that the kids’ parents were also a captive audience. Again they felt God’s nudge in answer to their prayers. They responded by inviting the parents to learn about the same Bible their children were discovering. And Coffee Break was born. The name was chosen in order to convey an informal, casual setting for discovering what the Bible was about. From the beginning, Coffee Break’s goal was to reach people who had never studied the Bible before. Discover Your Bible materials were written specifically for that purpose. In a low key, small-group setting, many women came to know the God of the Bible for the very first time.

The first year ninety newcomers registered, half of whom were not Christians. Three year later, the leadership began to share Coffee Break strategies with other churches. Over time an organization was formed to provide leaders with training and resources. Coffee Break became a widespread and influential ministry of the Christian Reformed church and is now used in many churches and denominations.

Coffee Break has also been planted in other countries around the globe with exciting spiritual fruit. In 1990, men and women in Korea began Coffee Breaks. People in China, Japan, East India and Mongolia are reading the Bible in Coffee Break groups that are resulting in conversion and discipleship. New doors of opportunity are also opening to share Coffee Break in Africa, South America, Asia, and other parts of the world.

For a full history and more information see Leading Bible Discovery, introduction pages 3 and 4.