What if Starbucks marketed like the church?

What are your thoughts? Should churches be marketing themselves in the first place?


  1. Damn, that's some scathing satire. Awesome.

  2. I guess if the church was supposed to be a business, or wasn't, but the video showed the similarities rather than the differences, it would hit harder. The point (the church alienates) is valid, but comparison to a business muddles the jokes.

  3. 'java-lujah' is brilliant
    & the whole thing brings
    a cold chill to my spine.

  4. I think it works. Why do we have to advertise? Because nobody believes our "product" is as good as we say it is. They haven't experienced seeing satisfied customers, just hucksters shilling for an inferior product.

    No, it doesn't work on every level, but I think there's something to be taken from it.

  5. I do get your point, mattmm, but I think the point of the video is to show how those strategies, which are based in poor marketing, are completely awful. I don't necessarily think the answer is to market like Starbucks since Christianity is not a product, though they do seem to understand how to appeal to the public.

  6. I think this is my problem with conventional christianity. You know, in Late-Victorian England there were some Christians like William Booth, Octavia Hill, and Samuel Barnett, who were perplexed by the lack of relevance/impact the church was having in lieu of the social problems that industrialism had introduced to English society. They weren't the only ones either. If you read Charles Dickens' Hard Times, you'll notice the criticism Dickens' dishes out to the church in chapter 5, entitled "Key-Note", where he points out that the existing model of the church no longer has any real impact on the people who need it. The model of Christianity England had been using was established to meet the needs of Medieval Villages. Booth, Hill, and Barnett were among the few who were asking, "Should we be using this style of Christianity anymore?" After asking, they changed things and didn't do Christianity in the conventional way it had always been done. Because of that, many poor people benefitted.

    I'm wondering, especially after getting a little of satirical perspective, whether or not we should ask ourselves the same question in lieu of the challenges that a Globalized world brings with it. Is our model of Christianity bringing forth a force of goodness and impact that is comparable and sufficient to the needs of a Globalized world, or instead are we just going with what our fathers and mothers gave us?

    These are just some of the thoughts that have been rolling around in my head lately. And they came up again in lieu of this little movie. In regards to whether or not churches should market like starbucks, I'm not a fan of the idea (nor do I think anyone else on these comments are) of treating Christianity like a "product." Because whatever scheme you came up with, you'd eventually have to come up with a new idea. We should move away from marketing schemes/campaign. People become highly skeptical of that. But if we're okay with that, or that's what we're aiming for... then I guess, go right ahead.

    It just seems like the worst idea ever.

  7. Nice post. I can't wait to read more, and from the looks of things, you've got a lot of good material. Keep up the good work.

  8. the cold, sad irony is that it is all true.

    sad, but true.

    i think delaney is right in that the belief that our "product" can change people has lost value--so much so that we feel we need to give it a boost, or little push in the right direction as if its a little blind deer stumbling through a dangerous forest.

    in response to the original question, I think that we spend too much time "changing" and, well, marketing God's church.

    shouldn't we strive to be like Christ and trust that the spirit will guide the church, no matter how successful our society's standard says it is?

  9. I think this only demonstrates the worst problems of an "attractional" approach to little-C "church". So long as we expect/aim for the primary initial impression to be formed by people visiting a Sunday service, then we naturally become concerned with how people perceive the trappings of that visit (building, decor, music style, greetings, sermon accessibility, etc). Yes, it is often done horribly, as this satire so aptly skewers. But why are we doing that at all? Why are we making any effort to market Sunday worship, sermons and sacraments or to make them "seeker-sensitive"? Is that really what is best for the flock already there? Is that really that helpful in leading people to Christ? If there's anything it's good at, i think it would be ideal for attracting large numbers of people who enjoy hip, entertaining churchianity and then, hopefully, pushing a few of them to the deeper things from there. But for most other things, it seems like a terrible approach.

    More and more, i believe that we need a radical change in our approach to Sunday. I think we need to make it focused on discipleship, not conversion. If visitors come, great! Be friendly, not a clique. But don't gear things for them. Don't advertise Sunday services. Heck, you don't even need a big sign out front, or maybe any sign. No marketing for Sunday. Instead, make sure your discipleship pushes people to live and share their faith. Have Sunday serve the believers and have the believers evangelize the rest of the week. If there should be anything centrally marketed by the church group, then let it be service events, where we invite others to come do good works with us, or artistic events, where we share the creativity and beauty that "proclaims the handiwork of God".

    So long as Sunday is seeker-centered, it turns faith into a product instead of a relationship and encourages us non-clergy to leave evangelism to the clergy and one day a week. We should not be inviting people to come and sing praise to God before we have invited them to faith in that God.

  10. Well said, Nathan. I couldn't agree more.

  11. I wish there was actually a starbucks employee who cared that much about making good coffee...