(by Christopher Fredrickson from Brutal Planet)
When I was young I remember my great aunt got me hooked on coffee by giving me coffee from a spoon, obviously my parents, being good parents, objected. But despite their objection I loved coffee from a young age, and my mother would say when I would ask for coffee at the breakfast eateries, my mom would say, "you can have hot tea". Later on I was able to get the coffee. I later managed many coffee places and even owned one for a period. I have always loved a good cup of coffee. Through the years I got to visit many specialty coffee roasters and I saw a major difference in your bigger roasters and your smaller ones, not only in their roasting but in the taste of their product. And this is something I wish I would have seen the parallel to early in my ministry work with Nazarene Media and my radio programs as well as my personal observance and application of things I had learned.
In visiting larger scale roasters, I remember noticing that there was a list of instructions for the roaster that consisted of making sure that the most amount of coffee was put out within a certain time frame and that the instructions were not really modified because of humidity or if the roasting was done during the morning or the afternoon. The roaster would not check the coffee beans very often to make sure the coffee was being roasted properly. Instead the larger companies would focus in on the oils that were used and making sure they had the best machines for mass production. The ideal was quantity and not so much quality.
The smaller roasters however, the experience was much different. The roasters were trained extensively and had a love for what they do and they took pride in their product. Every batch was tested by the employees to see if the roast was deemed worthy to put the badge of that particular company on the bag it is enclosed it. When these coffees were made it was with a loving nature and precision and a status of excellence that went to a person's pallet when they tasted the coffee.
What does this have to do with our faith and our observance of Torah? When we started Nazarene Media and YeshuaCast the ideal was to get the big names, get them involved. It was about building something big. In my own walk it was about learning more than the next guy. But not necessarily applying what it is I learned. Before Schtix and Stones turned into Brutal Planet, it was essentially that, we had a massive audience for a show that fueled the masses in the Hebrew Roots. But then, my theology started to change. No longer was it shows for mass consumption, no longer was it about "the paganism of...." but instead it became about, "lets learn to apply the Netzari faith and Judaism in our lives and lets make it real, lets put it into action, let's make the connection of the heart instead of only the mind". With that come challenges, the audience dropped off cause we didn't try and replicate what others were doing. Yet for the first time, real connections were made, lasting connections.
I listened to someone say today as a matter of fact, that a person influences on average 200 people in their lifetime, they impact the lives of 200 people in a real life changing way. I heard that and I said, "wow". Yeshua walked with 12 talmidim. There were many more who followed him but there were these 12 whom were his students. And I then ask myself, "what real changes are being made with hundreds or thousands?". Many want those big numbers, they want the mega-ministry, they want to be bigger than what it is they are. I say again, "Yeshua had 12 talmidim". The impact he had on those 12, changed the world. Like the small coffee roasters, I used to tell my customers, "you try Batdorf and Bronson's coffee in the french press you will never buy Foldger's again". I still run into some of my old customers and they tell me they have still, may years later, been ordering Batdorf and Bronson's coffee from their website every other week, because that coffee they cannot get at the grocery store and they have not had a better coffee. In a small way that coffee changed a part of their routine. It changed their coffee habits, which may not seem like much to others but for that person when the UPS guy knocks at their door and there is a package from Atlanta, or Olympia there is an overwhelming sensation within them that they got their favorite coffee.
Brethren, advancing the Olam Haba is not through how big your ministry is. And yes, you have a ministry, whether you know it or not. Your daily dealings with people, the way you treat people, the attributes of chesed (loving kindness) that is within you that is displayed in many ways is your ministry. For does not the Scripture say, "The body is a temple with the indwelling of the Ruach HaKodesh?". The casing of your body is where the Spirit of Hashem dwells, his Divine Presence is with you and the Bayis Hagmigdash that is your body is called to be in full sanctification in all you do. And the things you conduct with your hands and with your lips, are things that what are to give glory to Hashem and for others to see the God you serve within you. You have the ability to influence a small few that will in turn influence a few more, who will influence a few more and before you know it unknown to you, you have changed the world. Just like Yeshua and those 12 did. Hashem has put within you all a very specific brand of insight that is displayed through your own individuality. There are people that only you can reach that I cannot reach. There are people that someone else can reach that you yourself cannot because of what the Rabbis and Sages note as that "divine individual spark" that was put within each and every single human being that is obtained only by the one it was given to. There is something divine in you that give you the ability to reach some whom no one else can.
When we try and "reach the masses", we instead deny Hashem's divine spark and we see it as a puzzle of talking points that we need to regurgitate that should will someone into submission to Torah and Messiah. Yet, let us remember each person has a divine spark and not each person likes Foldger's coffee. The lasting impact will not come from the mega-ministry. And a note to the leaders in the "Messianic faith" the "Hebrew Roots" and the "Netzari Faith" don't be like the big coffee companies. Build lasting relationships, close relationships. It is not a one size fits all thing. Find that divine spark, find your message that Hashem has given you.....and make a lasting impact on your talmidim. It's not about numbers, it is not about fame, it is not about big buildings. It is about a lasting, and real impact. This is why one of the core elements of Judaism is finding your divine spark and what it is Hashem has put within you as an individual and your emphasis in the body.
Theological Insights from Rabbi Eved Banah at Beit Geulah in Morganton, NC (www.BeitGeulah.com)