My wife and I have had an ongoing irony in our marriage from day one. She has a passion for coffee and loves Starbucks and has even worked at at least three different stores in two states. But I never really “acquired the taste.” This has been much to the frustration of my wife and many others. Still, I have sat on the sidelines intrigued by the success of Starbucks even though it was never my thing. Recently, I read a book by Howard Shultz, CEO and Chairman of Starbucks, called Pour Your Heart Into It. It has changed my tune.
Like many other critics of Starbucks I always viewed it as a viral infection taking over the world one store at a time. Every time I sneezed I looked up to see another store even closer to me than before. But after reading Shultz’s book I realize that many people don’t know the true Starbucks story or just how great a leader Howard Shultz really is. The book tells all about the many oppositions that he has faced in the life of the company. The thing that stood out to me the most was just how passionate he was for what he was doing. And I started to reflect on what this would look like in the church. For example, read a few of these exerpts and then apply the thinking to church.
“I had never heard anyone talk about the product the way Jerry talked about coffee. He wasn’t calculating how to maximize sales, he was providing people with something he believed they ought to enjoy. It was an approach to business, and to selling, that was as fresh and novel to me as the Starbucks coffee we were drinking.”
“What we proposed to do at [Starbucks], I told them, was to reinvent a commodity. We would take something old and tired and common–coffee–and weave a sense of romance and community around it. We would rediscover the mystique and charm that had swirled around coffee throughout the centuries.”
The last passage is especially intriguing to me. Imagine reading something like this about the church. “We will take something old and tired and common–the local church–and weave a sense of romance and community around it. We will rediscover the mystique and charm that has swirled around the church throughout the centuries.” It sounds like the church in Acts 2. I wish half of the Christians today had the same amount of passion for seeing people meet Jesus and experience Him in community that Starbucks has for something as trivial and fleeting as coffee. Keep it brewing Howard.