Working on a Dream




Monday, April 11, 2011

Starbucks vs. The Church: The fight for The 3rd Place.

If you and I were to go back in time, say 25 years ago, and I were to ask you these two questions what would you say. 
1.  Would you believe that people would be paying 5 dollars for a cup of coffee in the year 2011?
2.  Would you believe that this company would be successful?

I know that my answer would have started off with a hearty laugh and then a solid NO.

Fast forward to the year Starbucks.  This place is so popular, that it does not even need its name attached to its logo.   

There has to be a reason for this hugely successful coffee shop.  Right??
Lucky for you, I found it.  --It is in the little quote below:

The inspiration behind this quote is found in a book titled "The Great Good Place" by Ray Oldenburgh.  It in, he explains societies 3 places of social interaction. 

The "first place" is your home.  This is where you spend the majority of your time.
The "second place" is your workplace.  You spend a lot of time here too.
The "third place" is that special arena where you go get away and relax.  It may be the coffee shop, your favorite restaurant, the bar, (remember the theme song from Cheers?  "I want to go where everybody knows your name...)  And so on.   

A key ingredient that The 3rd place provides is connection & community. In a world of social connections (facebook, twitter, cell phones, texting, etc...) that leaves us more isolated than ever, the 3rd place steps in and gets me and you in the same place, interacting face to face. 

Why am I even writing about this subject?  Good question. 
Ever since I first heard of this concept, I cannot shake the lingering quake it left behind. 

Which is this question:  Where does the Church fit into all of this?

Could it be that God created the original 3rd place? Affectionately called The Church? 
And if this is true, will the Church to wake up and smell the coffee?  (pun intended)

I can't help but wonder if The Church would see itself as the 3rd Place in the community ---what other 3rd Places would go out of business. 
Don't get me wrong, I like coffee shops, but not all 3rd places are good, some are breeding grounds for very bad things.  (A gang is a 3rd place for many of our youth)

So I leave you with this:  Starbucks has filled a void in our community around what is basically 90 percent water & they charge a lot of money for it. 

Can the Church do better than Starbucks?

Our Leader was raised from the dead.
Healed the sick, gave sight to the blind.
Is Coming again.
His followers gather in is in His Name. 
That means we should act, think, and look like our Leader. 

And that is way better than a cup of coffee...especially at 5 bucks a pop!

No comments: