Saturday, February 24, 2007

Starbucks & Worshiping God

On Saturday morning I went into my kitchen, picked up a bag of Gold Coast beans, ground them up in my Starbucks grinder and made a pot of coffee in my Starbucks coffeemaker. I like Starbucks coffee. Most of my extended family lives in the Mid-South and they sometimes make fun of me because of my preference for Starbucks. I used to send them Starbucks coffee for Christmas gifts but learned that they didn’t enjoy receiving it as much as I did sending it. Oh well.

Starbucks Chairman Howard Schultz circulated a memo throughout the Starbucks family February 14 warning top executives that the “Starbucks experience” has been watered down. He lamented that some decisions have resulted in “stores that no longer have the soul of the past. Some people even call our stores sterile, cookie cutter, no longer reflecting the passion our partners feel about our coffee.”

If you care anything about the “Starbucks experience” you can read more about it in the Seattle Times article.

More than anything I care about the “God experience” and what seems to me to be a watered down encounter with God at many churches. I’m not pining for a nostalgic experience in the church from the good ole days. Nor do I want to extol the virtues or complain about the empty practices of the contemporary church.

I just want a legitimate, life to life encounter with the living God. And honestly I experience that almost every time I go to worship with a church, whether it is the church where I have my membership or some other church. Yet, I would dare say the majority of people don’t experience God. Why?

The gathering of believers for worship on Sunday is not “THE” place of worship. It is “A” place of worship. Worship (showing the worth of God) is something that happens in my private devotions, my daily work at the office, my encounters with other people, and my family time with my wife and children. In other words, Christ followers seek to experience and worship God in every single thing that they do.

Therefore, the Sunday gathering becomes something of an exponentially greater experience of God as I get to be with God as I’m with other devoted and worshiping believers. And therein lies the problem. Most churchgoers are not daily worshipers of God.

Most of us treat life like a pie. We give a slice to work, a slice to family, a slice to recreation, a slice to God, etc. Instead, God wants the whole pie! He wants to be thoroughly involved with you in your work, family, etc. When we compartmentalize God He becomes one more thing that we add on to our life. God will not be an “add on”. He deserves and expects to be the “center” of your life.

Consequently many treat the Sunday gathering of worship like going to a movie theater. We pay our admission (offerings) and we sit back for the singing and speaking show. When it is over we respond like we do walking out of a theater, “That was good today.” “That was not as good as last week.” “I didn’t like the last song.” “I thought the message went on too long.”

Starbucks is concerned about becoming sterile, cookie cutter and passionless about coffee. What adjectives describe your experience with God?


christina said...

Hello Pastor Scott,
My sister-n-law sent me an article called "Why go to church"....I posted it on my blog along with a comment.
I found your article interesting and coincidental...since I was writing on this very subject today.
I hope it stirs alot of thought and conversation.

As I said in my blog. "People are searching for something and sometimes they don’t even know what it is. Perhaps that is the reason why Church’s have continually changed over the years with new denominations popping up all over the place.

I have my own thoughts as to what may be fueling so much diversity within the church....."

It's a positive article.
There is a whole lot more to Church....!

christina said...