Engaging the Adventure
Engaging the Adventure
> Motivated by the Heart of God for the Whole World

Contextualized Coffee

03.09.2023 12:46 PM By Adventure

Brewing Coffee in a Tea Culture

In Taiwan, I was sitting at a Louisa’s Coffee shop looking out the window at a Starbucks and a McDonald’s.  The latter two are American companies who have brought American products to Taiwan with great success.  How did they do it?  How are they sustaining their success?  McDonald’s and Starbucks have very different business plans and company cultures, and yet both have succeeded in making their product desire-able to their customers in Taiwan. 

The real proof of their success is Louisa’s Coffee:  a company rooted in Taiwan that blends coffee culture with tea culture, in a beautiful atmosphere – even with a bag of coffee beans on the wall, marked “Jamaica”.  This chain has taken the American products of McDonald’s and Starbucks and generated a uniquely Taiwanese product.  Imitation as they say is the best compliment. 

But imitation is only part of the story.  Each of these three has taken a product (e.g. convenience, fast simple service, coffee itself, a place to be seen, etc.) and adapted it uniquely to the market and culture of Taiwan.  This is more than imitation, each is an expression of contextualization, rooting something new into a local culture.

What about the Church?  How do we root the Hope of Jesus Christ into a local culture so that it “takes” and grows in that culture?  It’s not enough to imitate a Church from another culture (or even from across town) – we need Churches that will effectively understand their own context and culture in order for the Hope of Jesus to take root in that local community, to grow, to flower, and to bear fruit.  That is the goal of contextualization.