It’s been such a joy to hear stories from women across the country about how they are sharing Isn’t it Time for a Coffee Break? with their friends. I’m incredibly humbled and forever grateful that you all are sharing this message with others. Some of these groups are meeting to discuss the book in coffee shops or in their homes. Some are inviting neighbors they’d like to get to know better. Others are connecting their circles of friends to each other. Each story brings tears to my eyes as I see how God is doing more than I could have asked or imagined, and He’s doing it through individual women who are stepping out and inviting others to their friendship table.
I’ve had a few women ask me recently how they could start their own coffee break group and use the book. Really, the sky’s the limit and you can be as creative as you want to be. Here are a few ideas that others have used:
1. Pray. Begin by asking God to show you who to invite and open yourself up to being part of His plan in bringing women together.
2. Invite. Several women have been doing this with their neighbors. Another woman asked me, “Who should I invite? I have so many different circles of friends – home school friends, church friends…” I encouraged her to invite all her circles of friends and see what happened. I had the privilege of joining her at her group’s first gathering and it was incredible to see the women figure out how they were connected through friends and various life events.
3. Pick your schedule. Some groups meet once a week for six weeks. Others meet every other week. One group is meeting once a month (in what one of their husbands calls “the longest book club ever”). Some of the groups have just started right up. Others have held a “get to know you” event first where they just introduce themselves and have coffee together. This can help break the ice before you dig into the first chapter, especially if not everyone knows each other. Each gathering typically lasts a 1 1/2- 2 hours giving you enough time to chit chat at the beginning and then go through the questions.
4. Determine your location. Some of the groups are meeting in coffee shops for a couple hours each time. Other have met in someone’s home. Whatever you decide, you can keep it low key and simple. The focus is on getting to know each other.
5. Pick up the books and start discussing. The books are available on Amazon ($8.99 if you’re a Prime member) and Barnes and Noble if it’s easiest for you to pick them up online. Parable offers the book online for $7.99 each if you buy 10 or more. You can also find it in stores (check Family Christian, Parable, Lifeway and in West Michigan Baker Book House). If the store doesn’t have enough for your group they can always order it for you.
Most of the groups discuss one chapter per gathering. The chapters are short, and each woman typically reads the chapter before coming to the group. Whether or not you answer the questions at the end of each chapter ahead of time individually is up to each person. I think it helps if the women have at least read over the questions first. As the leader, come prepared to share your own stories and experiences with the topics. That helps everyone relax and open up. If your group isn’t overly chatty the first meeting, don’t fret. It takes some women a couple meetings to get to know each other before they begin to really share their hearts. You just keep loving them and praying over your meetings.
Have an author chat. If you are interested in having a chat, either at the beginning of your group, or at the end, I’d be happy to work something out with you! If you are not in West Michigan, I can easily Skype or Facetime with your group for twenty minutes or so. I simply love hearing your stories that the book has prompted you to share with each other. If you are interested, please send me an e-mail at amelia (at) ameliarhodes (dot) com.
If you decide to host a coffee break party at your home, whether at the beginning or at the end, I’ve curated a few Pinterest boards with some fun coffee themed treats, drinks, and easy gifts. Feel free to check them out for ideas. But again, you don’t need anything more than a book and a place to meet and some glasses of water.