Now into part four of this series of musings about how magical beans are going to usher in the millennial reign of Christ . . . well, that's not it exactly, but you know, something big and lofty and mission-y and such . . . I want to begin to muse specifically about the commodity of coffee. I hereby introduce a phrase sure to take the world by storm, "Great Commission Commodity" and ask:
Is coffee the perfect Great Commission Commodity for 21st century missions?
I will dedicate a couple posts to this question but begin today with a very intriguing image:
|Original image by Coffeeforless.com, modified by C. Lorance
Intriguing, isn't it? Or is it just me?
The "10/40 Window" has long been associated with the world's least reached peoples. If this is a totally new concept for you, please read up on it at Joshua Project here. Of course, one of the great passions of my life is to travel around and spread the news that God has "opened the window" and scattered unreached peoples from there to everywhere else in the world. And most of time time when I talk about this, I am addressing people in the West who need to be awakened to the presence of 10/40 Window peoples in their own cities and thereby mobilized to reach out to them with the hope and wholeness of Lord Jesus. BUT, it is also true that global migration occurs as much on a "South-to-South" trajectory as it does "South-to-North". What that means is simply that as much as the world's least reached peoples are moving to the great cities of the Western world, they are also moving to Manila, Bolivia, Lima, Accra, Dubai, and Nairobi. The Kampala skyline is now dotted with many Hindu temples, groups of Arab businessmen can be found in every major airport in Southeast Asia, and Addis Ababa is being rebuilt practically from the ground up by the Chinese. The reverse is also true, East Africans travel down the Nile to North Africa. Filipinos work as mariners on cargo vessels which travel to every port in the Global South. Girls from Indonesia and India are trafficked into China and elsewhere. And everyone seems to eventually pass through Dubai.
The phenomenon of South-to-South migration is an ever-increasing force in the world today that inextricably links the destinies of peoples of the 10/40 Window and those living in the Coffee Belt - the region of the world in which all coffee is grown. This geographic juxtaposition means, among other things, that the unreached billions in the Window have close, regular, normal commerce with scores of potential lay-missionaries living in the Belt.
If we have come to embrace the notion that we now live in the era of missions from everywhere to everywhere (and I know that many in my country have not embraced this) then we must begin expecting and planning for the raising up of countless missionaries from the majority world. Indeed this is already happening on a large, albeit difficult-to-measure scale. The Coffee Belt is home to most of these would-be missionaries as it passes through the most populated portions of Latin America, Africa and Asia. Here is a major "what if":
What if we found a way to pair coffee as a positive, sustainable and profitable business presence with not only evangelism and disciple-making but full-on mission mobilization?
This is what I mean by musing and pushing yourself to the "what if" questions. I don't know what those questions are for you and your mission context. I can only tell you where they are - further. And I can tell you that the Holy Spirit is waiting for you there.