My affection for Starbucks coffee is well-documented and a source of great “ribbing” by many people. Most of you however understand that this is not a formal addiction, but merely a preference. Atleast that is my story and I am sticking with it.
I found the above linked story at the Seattle Post-Intelligener site. It describes McDonald’s attempt to compete with Starbucks over iced coffee. McDonalds has done well with their new premium coffee and I am sure will do well with their new offering as well.
The point I want to make is this: It is not so much about coffee as it is community. Starbuck’s key ingredient at this point in time is that they offer high quality products in the context of a neighborhood gathering spot. A place where people can congregate and comfortably have a conversation or get some much needed work done. The employees are universally friendly I have found, they are competent in their craft, and they seem to enjoy what they are doing. They go a long way in creating an environment that many people resonate with. And they have found that people are willing to pay a price for all of this.
Okay, okay, I am getting somewhere I promise. The church could learn a great deal from Starbucks in how to reach the young boomers, Gen X and Yers. They want an experience that they can connect with and count on from a quality perspective. They are drawn to a place where they feel wanted, be themselves, and be a part of something larger than themselves. They are drawn to a place that people honestly enjoy being together and are friendly to new persons. They are drawn to a place where people are so excited about what is going on that they “evangelize” (i.e. talk about it, BLOG ABOUT IT, invite their friends, become identified with it.)
On a global church note: We would do well to look around us and see how people are doing life. The Gospel is timeless truth and will never change. However, our conveying/preaching/sharing the Gospel must continually change and meet people in the center of where they are. No watering down or apologies needed!