Starbucks is closed! Could this mean the eschaton has arrived?
Like many people, I’m a Starbucks regular. If you notice my Facebook status on the right column, you may see that sometimes I’m “praying to St. Arbuck.” Sure, I know I should be drinking coffee that’s more ethical, but Starbucks is so, well, convenient. And yummy.
I was delighted to read, a couple of weeks ago, that Starbucks would be closing for retraining. Based on the drinks I get, many baristas could use it. But what will the caffeine-addicted masses do during the closure? If quality means less than a good bargain, you can get some cheap drinks elsewhere. Maybe you’ll get a free drink. Starbucks itself suggests some spring cleaning or a change in hair color. Here’s my suggestion: pray. Or give $5 to someone who needs it, since you didn’t get to buy the Venti four-shot soy vanilla cappuccino. There are also lessons for churches in all this.
At first, it seems crazy to close during business hours. Apple knows that closing during business hours stirs people into a frenzy. Maybe churches can learn something from this. Besides the buzz that we could generate, there is something to learn from the commitment to quality that’s embodied by a decision to close every Starbucks in the entire country for several hours. They stopped doing the same-old same-old to make sure that the basics were being done correctly. In churches, my sense is that we get so busy that we often fail to make sure that we’re doing the basics right.
Then, of course, there are the things we can learn about spreading the Gospel from Starbucks itself. If our churches served good coffee and didn’t look like museums of 1950s culture, perhaps people would want to hang out there. Maybe if we cared as much about the experience of our guests as Starbucks cares about its guests, people would come to churches more often to join us.
And, please, can we learn to serve tasty coffee?