Coffee Break History

Background: For many years, we asked how we could help our North Campus neighbors have good and ongoing Bible studies. We prayed and were given these words from Isaiah:

“Surely you will summon nations you know not, and nations that do not know you will hasten to you, because of the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, for he has endowed you with splendor … so is My word that goes out from My mouth: it will not return to Me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:5, 11)

By the spring of 1984, an idea had taken shape–women from our church could provide a program that included something for preschool children using our church building where there would be a nursery, classrooms for a children’s program, and plenty of rooms for Bible study. The Ministry Grows: The Interfaith Bible Study began with 14 members using Neighborhood Bible Study materials. A nursery and a Story Hour program for 3 to 5 year olds was provided. Each week much time and effort was given to contacting the ladies to encourage them, to offer transportation, and to build friendships.

In September 1984, there were 23 women in the study group, 14 babies in the nursery, and seven children in Story Hour. In addition to the Bible study, the ladies had an opportunity to practice English conversation. In September 1988, the decision was made to use Coffee Break materials and the practice of having co-leaders for the study groups began. Coffee Break has continued to grow with an average of 100 ladies attending each year. While the women are studying the Bible, their children participate in the children’s program–some hearing of the love of Jesus for the first time. It takes a staff of about 40 women to make this ministry possible.

Why Do the Ladies Come: The question has been asked, “What draws women to Coffee Break?” The morning has been referred to as the highlight of the week for some of the women in attendance. It is their morning out to enjoy fellowship and Bible study while their children are well-provided for. The warmth, comradeship, acceptance, and freedom to be yourself draws some. Others come because they have seen prayer answered in the life of a friend and wanted to learn about God. God has sent many people from other nations and states to Ann Arbor because of the University of Michigan. We are thankful to God for bringing this important ministry about in our church. God continues to work in the lives of the participants of Coffee Break and staff members long after the good-byes and final parties are concluded.