What's the first thing you think of when you hear the word "Starbucks"? Well, for many, you think "expensive". Yes, for the most part it is more expensive than Tim Hortons. But I suspect in your top three responses would be the word "coffee". Starbucks equals coffee. Starbucks is the Tim Hortons of America. It has over 12 000 coffee shops in the U.S. alone. When the recession hit in 2008 one of the first things to be cut from people's budgets was things like "going for coffee", and the company faced an unfamiliar task. They had to close many stores and lay off workers. They had never closed a store up until this point. They had only grown. It was then that the previous CEO Howard Schultz came back to lead the company. Schultz felt that the company had lost it's way and was going in too many directions. Their menu had expanded rapidly and they were even getting into other businesses like music and publishing. The "main thing" was getting crowed out by other stuff. Schultz led them back to their roots. I know it sounds a bit grandiose, but Starbucks mission is "to inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time." It's really all about serving a good cup of coffee. The rest is secondary. You can like Starbucks or not. But you can't deny their success.
I think there's a lesson here for us, the church. Surely the mission Christ gave to us is much more important than any company's mission. "Go and make disciples". But just as Starbucks did, we can get distracted. I love the verse we talked about this past Sunday. Galatians 6:2, "Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ." I have found we can get consumed in the church with stuff that's not the main thing. Oh, they may be important, necessary things. They may even make us feel good or look good. They may even be biblical and truthful. But they're not the main thing. And when difficult times hit, they are not eternal things. Jesus focused on people. He taught us to store up treasures in heaven. The mission of the church is all about people. That's what should drive everything we do.
Howard Schultz said this, “When we love something, emotion often drives our actions. This is the gift and the challenge entrepreneurs face every day. The companies we dream of and build from scratch are part of us and intensely personal. They are our families. Our lives. But the entrepreneurial journey is not for everyone. Yes, the highs are high and the rewards can be thrilling. But the lows can break your heart. Entrepreneurs must love what they do to such a degree that doing it is worth sacrifice and, at times, pain. But doing anything else, we think, would be unimaginable”.
Are we like this entrepreneurs described? Is our love for people the answer to the question "why"?
Starbucks equals coffee. What does Laurentian equal?
On the journey,