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Brewing Coffee is like Discipleship

Written by Daniel Chun

Many of you know already how much I love coffee. The first thing you see when you enter my office is my coffee table. And some of you will enter my office seeing me make a cup.*

*If you ever want coffee and conversation, don't hesitate to stop by my office

Coffee has been a passion of mine since my college days. Probably like many of my coffee colleagues, my coffee adventurers started by drinking coffee provided by school mixed with a loaded amounts of sugar and milk because simply it was too bitter.

But what truly started my deep expression and love for coffee was when my old college roommate had a “chemex” set (see picture below). Seeing how good tasting coffee could be brewed using a glass container that looks like a chemistry flask (maybe that’s why it called chemex), I was simply fascinated. And over the years, I grown to understand and see how good coffee could be made through many diverse brewing methods.

This is a Chemex

What started with chemex became espressos, pour overs, aeropress, drip coffee, cold brew, and more still to learn. And on top of all the different brewing methods, I’ve learned how minute and detailed coffee is. I realized that every way of making coffee is determined by factors like grind size (fine vs coarse), water quality (the minerals in the water), water temp (how hot the water is), water to bean ratio, and even the beans itself. And one small change in any of these factors could be what causes coffee to be good or bad.

Drip Coffee, Espresso, Aeropress (from left to right)

Going into the details of each factor will be for another post, but the point is this.

Brewing coffee is extremely diverse but there is no “true” brewing method.

I don’t believe that there is a such thing as a “perfect” brewing method. If there was, then every coffee shop will be doing exactly that. But everyone will have preferences. Methods that one would prefer over others. And so instead, what I believe is that all of these brewing methods are very valid methods of brewing coffee. And if done right, will produce amazing coffee.

Which leads me to the main focus of today’s post. Brewing coffee is like Christian discipleship. Just like coffee, there are different methods of Christian discipleship. And if it is done right, it will produce amazing disciples of Jesus Christ.

Maybe I should first clarify quickly: “What does Christian discipleship even mean?”

Christian Discipleship at it’s simplest form just means how one teaches and leads someone to become more like Jesus Christ. In other words, it is the ways we lead someone to see and live out a life that Jesus calls us to.

And Christian discipleship comes in different shapes and form. Many pastors and leadership trainers will say that there is no “one way answer” to Christian discipleship. For example, discipleship can be done through small groups, bible studies, mentorship, and more. Like the diversity of brewing methods, there is a large diversity of how we can lead someone to Jesus.

Of course, this is not to be confused with “our core beliefs/core values”. There is no other Truth than the truth that Jesus Christ loves us and died for us. And, the gospel is like coffee beans. A very simple truth about brewing coffee is that if the coffee beans suck, it doesn’t matter how amazing your brewing methods are, coffee is going to suck. Likewise, the gospel which is GOOD cannot be unchanged. But how we disciple with this GOOD gospel can vary.

I would like to remind us that Jesus calls us to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28). Meaning it is part of our lifestyle as Christians to think about how we are leading people to Jesus Christ. And maybe it will help you today to understand that there are many ways out there. There is really no “one right way” to bring someone to Jesus. But rather, in the many ways of bringing people to Jesus, we can always fine tune our methods. Using the amazing gospel (coffee beans), the question I offer to us is:

How can we fine tune our method of discipleship so that it produces amazing disciples?

Curious to how we can do that? Well that’s for another time. Why don’t you give me a call or come to my office and we can dive into that together while we sip on some coffee.

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