of coffee and church…

i reference other bloggers every now and then.   here’s one that’s worth reading.   it’s by michael kelley, a speaker and author from nashville.   you might want to check out his blog sometime.   pretty cool writer.

Dunkin’ Donuts  is creaming Starbucks right now.  Dunkin’ Donuts won the taste test, it’s three times cheaper, and the company is actually expanding, whereas Starbucks is closing stores every day.  Dunkin’ Donuts is about to roll out a $100 million marketing campaign to trumpet the results of the taste test and try and put the dagger into the heart of Seattle.  Some people are saying that Starbucks has seen its better days, and that this is just the beginning of the downhill slide.

I would propose that the church has something to learn from Dunkin’ Donuts.

The reason we have something to learn is that we have tried to be Starbucks.  We’ve tried to be slick, trendy, and hip.  We’ve tried to be a place that is non-threatening and easy to come to.  And when you walk in, you see beautiful people in holey jeans and black glasses,  all looking very intellectual and hair-frosty.  Additionally, we have tried to make church a low-demand environment, much in the same way Starbucks is.  It’s low demand in that even though the basic premise of the store is selling coffee, some people don’t even go there for coffee at all.  And nobody’s going to pressure them about the coffee.  That sounds familiar, too.

But guess what?

People like Dunkin’ Donuts.  They like that it’s not trendy.  They like that it’s not hip.  They like that it’s not cool.  You know why they like it?

Because it’s simple:  It’s good coffee at a reasonable price.

It’s not frou-frou, latte, grande, frappa-whatchamacallit.  IT’S COFFEE.  And at Dunkin’ Donuts, they call it what it is.  Coffee.

Seems like there’s a lesson in there for us as Christ-followers somewhere.  Now hear me say this – I’m all for contextualizing the gospel.  But I’m also for simply proclaiming what we have to “sell” rather than trying too hard to add to it.

And you know what else?  The thing that we have?  It actually tastes good.  Maybe the problem is that we don’t really believe the gospel tastes good.  We don’t believe it tastes good, so we feel the need to pile a lot of stuff on top of it to make it more palpable.  Maybe if we really believed it tasted good, we would have the courage to let it speak for itself, like Dunkin’ Donuts did, rather than trying to help out the product so much.

great article.   there is a lot to be said about contextualizing the gospel.   we’ll talk more about this in the future.   but for tonight,  i have this question:

if  slick,  trendy,  hip  churches = Starbucks…and unhip,  uncool,  untrendy churhes = Dunkin’ Donuts,  then what’s   North Point in this little church culture equation?



10 thoughts on “of coffee and church…

  1. I would definitely say that we are not Starbucks. Far from it. I like the fact that a bunch of misfits with not much in common can worship together. It’s SIMPLE!!! The way church is supposed to be. We don’t sugar coat anything. With that said , we aren’t Dunkin Donuts but we definitely not Star Bucks. Hmmm maybe we are the dunkin donuts coffee you buy at the grocery store.

  2. We are like Quiktrip. You can get a cup of coffee, soda, bag of chips, weird corny dog thing without a stick, or just about anything you are willing to pay the price for. In the end it doesn’t matter where you buy your coffee it all ends up at the same place.

  3. Our nephew and his wife visited last Sunday. They are from a large church that they loved, loved. I visited there and definitely liked what they had to offer and would have to admit that, just by virtue of sheer size and cool gadgets, their presentation was a lot slicker than ours. The message was the same – true and straightforward.

    I was pretty blown away by what Ian observed about North Point, however. The single thing they were most impressed by was the fact that “everyone seems really tight” and “it seems easy to fit right in.” They were quite surprised when I told them how many new people we have – that really many of us could be categorized as somewhat new.

    So, I think, maybe, we are emerging as neither, Starbucks nor Dunkin Donuts. Maybe we are more like having a cup of coffee at the neighbor’s – which I do think would be the best model of all.

  4. I don’t like when someone speaks for my faith. I don’t include myself in the ‘we’ that this man speaks of. I also don’t like guilt trips and thinking that we should be more like anything except Jesus. Especially Dunkin Donuts. Does this guy work in marketing for them or something?

  5. Scott, dude, it took me a while to figure out where you were getting the “we” from.
    I get it, and I see why this set you off. Now I am mad as well.
    From my point of view as a musician at a church: I get bent whenever I tell people our set list and the first thought that comes to their mind is that’s trendy music. The songs we play are not traditional modern worship songs you normally hear at other churches. We don’t play this stuff because we are trying to draw a crowd or fill seats, we play to worship God, and we just do it with cool music(my stab). We found lyrics and rhythms that most of the time, complement our church. Also, I would never want the term “slick” to be used when I play my instrument when I worship. Many times I get deep into the words and context in the music we use to worship. This is not a game I play or an act. It’s me and God.
    My worship, faith and participation in church had never been a sell out to being trendy for God.
    This dude also mentioned attire with the frosty hair and glasses. Who cares what we look like at church. I think he want to see a sea of Docker’s and Golf shirts. I haven’t read anything else from this guy’s blog, but I am going to take this excerpt close to face value.

  6. Well, my personal interpretation was’nt quite down the lines you guys took it. i dont think this writer was speaking on behalf of anyone one persons faith. i think he was merely making an observation of modern christianity as a whole, and why so many non believers view the christian church with disdain. and on some level i agree with him, and maybe even a step further. i dont think any christian would argue the overcomplication that is rampant in modern christianity. the word religion has mutated from a basic definition of faith to a whole new monster has it not? . hundreds of different denominations, views and interpretations and all falling under the umbrella of a “christian”.. i think what he was trying to convey is that common christian thinking needs a shift, and i couldnt agree more. it needs a shift to become less complicated.. i think what he is trying to convey is the fact that our faith was never meant to be done up with a bunch of make up and face lifts to conceal the realitys behind it. i think he is getting at something much deeper than “what songs we play” or “what clothes we wear” or whatever it may be. he isnt calling anyone person out, he is stating the reality of christianity today, and its alot more polluted with things that shouldnt be there. christians are the churches biggest problem. and i have to agree

    my take anyways

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