The Starbucks Church Retools

Barista Parking

Heralded as the “coffee shop to end coffee shops,” the Seattle giant that spews the caffeinated liquid may be seeings signs of decline.  It would seem that the company known by some as simply “Starbucks” is seeing a loss in market share.  Stores are closing. 

Here in Indianapolis it is obvious that several well-positioned locations have closed.  In at least one case (near the intersection of 96th Street and Allisonville Road), the store operated by the behemoth is now a locally owned small business whose main income is the selling of a drink that is made by grinding beans and steeping those grounds in hot water.

This may be an early warning sign for those church leaders (you know who you are) who have bought into the Starbucks philosophy hook, latte, and sinker.

What is next for Starbucks?  It seems that they are attempting to reinvent some of the stores in the Seattle area and experiment with a few ideas.  They plan to completely remove any and all branding of the Starbucks name and logo for a local name.  Live music may also accompany cappuccino from machines rather than being brewed, steamed, and created by hand. 

In other words the new Starbucks strategy is to no longer be Starbucks!

Don’t let this moment pass you by.  If Starbucks is no longer going to be the same guiding light then what will that mean for your church leadership?  Could this be the opportunity to get ahead of the curve and step out with a new level of relevance by retooling and reinventing the church?

One more thing: if you have not heard, I am very into talking about relationship.  With the new experimental strategy, Starbucks is in essence changing from a national/global perspective in designing their stores, but instead creating an environment “in conversation” with local flavor and color. 

Perhaps to lead a church like Starbucks may mean to not lead church like any other church, but instead it may mean to lead a church like the people of the community are looking for.  Quite the concept!

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About Aaron Gardner

Aaron is a counselor and student of the Bible, passionate about sharing the good news of Jesus Christ. He lives in central Indiana with his wife, one-year-old son and their two dogs. View all posts by Aaron Gardner

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