Saturday, October 6, 2007

The Gospel According to Starbucks: Living with a Grande Passion

Book Review

The Gospel According to Starbucks: Living with a Grande Passion

Leonard Sweet (Waterbrook Press, 210 pp., paperback)

What makes people stand in line and pay a premium for a cup of Starbucks coffee? What does Starbucks know that the church doesn’t?

Leonard Sweet is a self-proclaimed Starbucks junkie who sees beyond the $4 price tag on a cup of java to a cultural phenomenon that helps explain the postmodern shift in today’s culture. He uses Starbucks as a springboard to explain a concept he has famously coined as EPIC – Experiential, Participatory, Image-rich and Connective. With each letter of EPIC, Dr. Sweet explains how Starbucks uses that principle in one chapter, then moves on to expand on how the church could use that principle in the next chapter. What emerges is Sweet stuff, if I might say so.

The basic premise of the book is that the church can minister in the world we’ve got, or it can minister in the world we wish we had (or the one we remember having years ago). People today are not longing for intellectual arguments or top-down declarations. What they are longing for is connective (relational) engagement in a meaningful experience. Dr. Sweet illustrates the way Starbucks has captured this desire and built an empire upon it, but he also uses that analogy to illuminate the path to effective ministry in today’s world.

The Gospel According to Starbucks: Living with Grande Passion is a fun and handsome paperback that gives a crash-course in postmodern, EPIC ministry for today’s world.

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