I absolutely love coffee! “According to research by the National Coffee Association, 56 percent of adults living in the United States drank coffee every day in 2006, about 112 million people (Source).” However, there is a difference between loving coffee and simply drinking coffee. For example, I refuse to drink Folgers, Maxwell House, Dunkin Donuts, McDonald’s, or other such brands that people typically buy in the grocery store. This may make me a little difficult to deal with at times but it’s a standard that I am unwilling to bend. While I typically buy Starbucks, which is still not a great option, I prefer buying from roasters that I know such as Alabaster Coffee or Rosetta Coffee Company!
Beyond just drinking coffee, my wife and I love creating quality crafted cups of coffee. We are now the proud owners of an Aerobie Aeropress, a French Press, a Clever Coffee Dripper, a Keyocera Cermaic Burr Grinder, and a Cuisinart Grind and Brew (a Chemex is next on our list). Alicia and I are even getting ready to start roasting our own coffee at home! I love our Grind and Brew, but when we have time (or make time), I love to play with our other coffee brewers. There is something about controlling all the elements that make a phenomenal cup of coffee. The fact is, the best cup of coffee I can drink is not going to come from the drip coffee pot in my office.
The best cup of coffee takes time. If I have 10 minutes I would much rather have a cup of coffee from my Clever (this is currently my personal favorite). If you want flavor profiles you are not going to grab that bright red Folgers can, scoop a few scoops of coffee in a filter, and wait anxiously for a delicious hot cup of coffee (if you’re like me, that statement may have just made you cringe). Flavors take time to develop, to steep, to draw the best flavors out of the beans you’ve purchased.
In much the same way, drawing the best out of students takes time. Granted, you could take Joe High Schooler, give him a task, and he could successfully complete that task. However, is that student growing and developing, or are they simply getting the job done? If you simply want the task of getting your caffeine fix, then Folgers can accomplish your task. However, what if you took your time investing in Joe High Schooler? What if once a week you started pouring into your kid and doing a weekly devotion and accountability with them? What would Joe’s impact look like if you took the time to pour into them? I would dare say that the task would not only get done, but Joe would walk away a better student, person, and Christ follower.
Student ministry both in the home and in the church takes time, but then again all of the best things do. The question to all of you parents and leaders out there is, are you willing to take the time or are you willing to settle for less?
Coffee and leadership go hand in hand. Sometimes, the best leadership advice that I could give you would be to drink a cup of coffee. I don’t know if there are any leadership books out there that revolve around coffee but I firmly believe that I could be the first to write an entire leadership book based on the principles on coffee. I’m what you would call a coffee aficionado or some would harshly label me a coffee snob.
I am “that guy” who refuses to drink Dunkin Donuts, Folgers, or Maxwell House type coffees made with low quality poorly roasted coffee beans. I know that the majority of people out there drink McDonald’s coffee as their main source of Heaven’s Nectar (coffee) but that doesn’t mean that it’s “good” coffee. I am also “that guy” who once answered a Starbucks’ customer’s question because the employee didn’t know the answer themselves. The fact is that in my spare time I like to experiment with coffee brewing, coffee blends, and other such coffee related things. However, for the sake of this post, I want to talk about what making a high quality pot of French Press coffee and leadership have in common.
Most people who really love and take the time to appreciate coffee would tell you that there is nothing like a pot of French Press coffee. The next time you go into Starbucks or your favorite local shop and have time to sit and enjoy a cup splurge and buy a pot of french press. If you’ve never had it, but you love coffee, this cup will rock your world. However, french press take more time, effort, and investment than a simple drip coffee maker. While the coffee quality is much greater, the investment for your yield is also much greater. In the same manner people who want to be really successful in their ministry and life value leadership. However, building leaders who are worth having takings time and investment. In order to make a really good pot of french press you have to invest in the right things, and our leaders are much the same way.
1) The Right Equipment –You can’t make french press coffee without a French Press. I guess you could try to make French Press in your drip coffee pot, but that will end up a mess and a failure. Your basis for leadership should always be God’s word. Before you can lead people you have to allow God to lead you. You can lead under your own power for a while but at one time or another, your power WILL FAIL. Strive to be able to tell your leaders, just like Paul did to, “follow me as I follow Christ.”
2) The Right Beans — Having good quality coffee beans is critical to a good cup of coffee. The difference between Folgers and 100% Kona Coffee is in the beans. Kona coffee is only found in one region of the world, Hawaii. The cost of Kona is much higher because it’s more rare, but the flavor that these beans have is unbelievable. Kona coffee is so smooth, so rich, and so full. It is like getting a McDonald’s cheeseburger or eating a Filet Mignon steak, there is no comparison! The right people are critical to your ministry! You have to put the right people in leadership and great leadership is rare. There are a lot of people out there who can do the job, but great leaders are hard to find. When you find the right people snatch them up and train them up.
3)The Right Grind — In order to brew a french press, your beans have to be ground coarsely. The reason here is simple. If you have finely ground beans then when you press the filter down, you are going to have a lot of leftover grounds in your cup of coffee, and nobody likes to chew their coffee (Except maybe Turkish people. Turkish coffee has lots of grounds in the coffee). What I mean here is that you need people who have the right skill set for your ministry. Finely ground coffee is great for espresso, but not for French Press. In much the same way, someone may be great in children’s ministry, but that doesn’t mean they can work with the youth. When you are doing ministry with a purpose, you see your leadership voids, and seek to fill them with people who fit the right skill set.
4) The Right Time — Everything in ministry takes time. Sermons take time to plan, trust takes time to build, and a vision takes time to establish. The ideal amount of time for a French Press is between 4 and 5 minutes. If you steep it much less that 4 minutes you will have weak coffee and more than 5 results in strong coffee. Now some people may life their coffee on one end or the other of the spectrum and that is fine because just as each of our ministries look different, everyone likes their coffee differently. Jesus took his first year and a half of his adult ministry to invest in his disciples before they ever began to do ministry. Take the time to invest in your leaders and build the vision and trust that you need in order to be successful over the long haul rather than settling for short-term gains.
The reason I love French Press so much, is because it brings out all the flavors that coffee has to offer. Many times we miss the subtleties of coffee because we guzzle it by the pot rather than taking time to note the hints of chocolate or citrus that the blend has to offer. In order to extract the most out of your leaders you have to take time and make sure you have the right elements in place.