Coffee: A Guide to Church Hopping

Written By Rene Astorga

Coffee: A guide to church hopping

I recently visited a church that had all the modern bells and whistles. They had lights, fog, and, at the front of the sanctuary, a huge video screen for showing both song lyrics and interesting pictures. The audio was clear and perfect. 

At the beginning of the service, the pastor said she prayed people would come from all over the county. She said that their style of church service was like a cup of coffee. As we all know, you can make coffee in many different ways. It can be brewed, prepared, and served to a very particular taste. Their church, she said, wouldn’t be everyone’s cup of coffee, but it would certainly be someone’s preference. And, if their church was brewed and flavored to that person’s preference, then they would take a sip, a second drink…and that particular church would fit them. They would belong.

I generally agree with this approach. However, conducting church this way begs a question: “Yes, but is that kind of church offering genuine ingredients?”

A long time ago, I toured a coffee factory. I saw the roasters, the bagging line, and the quality assurance process. The owner let me have a taste test. The taste test ended with a with a dab of artificial vanilla. Let me tell you, it tasted nothing like vanilla. While I find the taste displeasing, many people drink artificially-flavored coffee. In fact, we all regularly consume artificial flavors in many different kinds of foods. After a while, it becomes difficult to distinguish the artificial flavor from the real flavor.

Food and drink, artificially-flavored, can look, smell, feel and taste like the real thing, and yet it is a poor shadow. Despite that, we still enjoy what we consume. What are your favorite artificially-flavored things? Mine are pear-flavored Jelly Bellies. I can’t tell the difference. I can almost swear they taste better than real pears.

Church can also be like this.

This is a melancholy thought. However, my purpose in sharing it was simply to say that the Lord’s grace has brought us to St. Ansgar’s. Our church is a place where we experience the genuine gospel and fellowship of the saints. This is what God desires for those in His Kingdom. No artificial flavoring needed. I like other coffees and flavoring ingredients, but I want the real thing; genuine ingredients. I pray that as you continue to walk with us at St. Ansgar’s, that your eyes begin to recognize what the real thing is. Do you desire something that’s artificial, simply because it tastes good, or do you desire the genuine? 

~Rene Astorga

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