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5 things Starbucks can teach the Church about effective evangelism

Greg Stier
Greg Stier

DSC_7579Currently there are about 12,000 Starbucks stores across the United States.* These 12,000 stores are strategically located in high end strip malls, busy corners and Target Store entrances. They are designed to draw us in and give us the coffee (and snacks and atmosphere and, did I say coffee?) we love.

Starbucks has done the best job of any coffee company in existence of penetrating the market and saturating the nation. Their green and white circle sign of deliciousness draws us weary travelers in like a bee to a honey flavored Frappuccino (is there such a drink? Just wait and I’m sure there will be!)

So how can Starbucks saturate the physical cravings of decaffeinated Americans and the church cannot satisfy the spiritual thirst of Americans with the living water? After all, there are only 12,000 Starbucks coffee shops in the United States and there are over 300,000 Protestant churches! That’s right! We outnumber Starbucks by 25 to 1!

So, with this as a backdrop, here’s what Starbucks can teach the Church when it comes to evangelism:

1. Train more “Baristas” to serve excellent drinks consistently.

Too many times the pastor is the only Barista in the church. You have to go to church to get served the good news. Of course the pastors should be sharing the Gospel in their sermons but the primary job of the pastor according to Ephesians 4:11,12 is to “equip God’s people for works of service.” Part of this is equipping their congregations to share the Gospel with their friends, family, neighbors, co-workers, classmates and teammates.

Do you have a plan to train your people to share the Gospel? Check out Dare 2 Share’s two free faith-sharing mobile apps to help you do just that! You can also check out our brand new adult small group curriculum that will help you “gospelize” your entire congregation!

2. Only buy the best beans.

Starbucks takes great care to buy the best. We need to make sure we are serving the best Gospel! As Paul wrote to the Galatian believers, “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed” Galatians 1:6-8.

Too many times too many churches preach a “gospel” which is no gospel at all. It is a works based “turn, try, cry” gospel which robs the cross of it’s power and make salvation about what we do for Jesus instead of what Jesus has done for us. This kind of Gospel is accursed and will leave a bitter aftertaste in the soul’s of the thirsty sinner.

Preach a #SolaFide, faith alone in Christ alone message of hope and redemption through the finished work of Christ and the empty tomb. This too-good-to-be-true message is too good and true too. It is the kind of message sinners will line up for like customers in a busy Starbucks on a Monday morning.

3. Focus on the thirstiest demographic.

Young people are more likely to trust in Jesus than older people. Of course that doesn’t mean that we forsake the older for the younger but if we are serious about saturating a community with the hope of Jesus Christ then we need to put our best drinks forward with the children, teens and twenty somethings.

At Dare 2 Share we are seeking to mobilize 30,000 Gospel Advancing ministries (churches, youth groups, etc) which will saturate entire communities in teen-centric Gospel conversations. Why 30,000? Because according to the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute if you can get 10% of a demographic 100% committed toward a vision, cause or set of values they will inevitably influence the other 90% (Source: July 26th, 2011 Edition of Science Daily.) Because there are 300,000(ish) churches in America our goal is to get 30,000 of them who will choose to be Gospel Advancing with the young people in their community. For more information about what it takes to join this growing movement click here.

4. Create an above-and-beyond culture of love in your store.

“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” Acts 2:42-47

There will people line out the door of the early church (so to speak since, technically, they had no buildings!) Why? Because of the good news message and the good news people! There was such an attractive setting of love, hope and selflessness that people were drawn into their numbers daily!

5. Stay connected to Headquarters to get the latest and greatest.

Starbucks stores stay tuned to HQ to get the latest drinks, designs, campaigns, etc. Usually this works out really well for every store in the field. But once in awhile even Starbucks stumbles with their ideas (#RaceTogether).

Our HQ (aka “heaven”) never stumbles with the latest and greatest initiatives. We must continually be communicating with our heavenly Father to get the wisdom we need to run these initiatives with prudence, precision and power! Our access to God through prayer is what creates this line of communication.

Sure there are more ways in which Starbucks can teach us about evangelism (personalized drinks, clean stores, friendly service, etc) but these five stand out to me. May these ideas spur you on to saturating your community with a lot of good news lattes.

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