Quicken the heart and stimulate the mindThe Lesson of the Colombian coffee bean
by Jonathan Lamb, Langham Preaching
First introduced by the Jesuits, the famous Colombian coffee bean is rich in flavour and aroma! The landscape around the city of Armenia, one of Colombia’s main coffee growing areas, is dominated by lush coffee estates, huge banana trees and beautiful rolling green hills. Langham Preaching country coordinators from across Latin America gathered in Armenia recently, staying in a lovely home called ‘Lamparita’ where coffee was grown and roasted. They met to discuss how training for preachers could be deepened and extended across the region, but they were stimulated in their discussion by ‘Lamparita coffee’. They even had the chance to roast some coffee from the garden.
In one of his books, Ramesh Richard tells the story of meeting a sculptor in Africa, who explained that God had made the wood, and the sculpture was what he made from what God had made. So with sermons: the Bible is God-given, and a sermon is what we craft from what God has given. The team in ‘Lamparita’ couldn’t help think the same about the delicious coffee: God made the beans, and the rich, bright, aromatic coffee is what we make from what God has given.
Across Latin America there are now many Langham Preaching movements(1), with sustained training for pastors and preachers, equipping them to serve the growing number of churches across the continent. Many of the huge churches in the region are dominated by prosperity preaching, which distorts the truth and is in danger of deceiving young believers. But there is an army of committed women and men who are now engaged in equipping people to proclaim the truth with faithfulness and relevance.
There are many small groups (‘escuelitas’) meeting each month to work on Bible passages and to craft powerful and attractive sermons. Just like Colombian coffee, good sermons quicken the heart and sharpen the mind; they prepare us for action, and they are compelling and motivating, diffusing the aroma of Christ! There are limits to the analogy of course, but as the coordinators discussed the challenges facing churches across the continent, they acknowledged the urgent need for preaching that is faithful to scripture, passionate in its expression, rich in content, bright in delivery, and motivating in its force.
No decaffeinated sermons, please!(2)
(1) Langham Preaching delegates came from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Peru and Puerto Rico. We are also working in nine Central American countries.
(2) An encouraging comment from Juan Stam, specially for our Spanish readers: ‘pero sin café es imposible agradar a Dios’.
(Nelsa Zolezzi, Peruvian Country Coordinator)
|Latin America Langham Preaching Coordinators|
Jorge Atiencia, Colombian Preaching Facilitator