Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A Morning in Starbucks

In my continuing research and preparation for a presentation later this year, I spent an hour at the local Starbucks. Even though it's only a couple of miles from my home office, the experience of being in a different, welcoming environment is always helpful for the creative side of my brain. I took along the Bronx Bethany journal to continue writing that story; I also took along Will Mancini's book Church Unique for on-going dissection and application to the church consulting work I do.

Settled in a comfortable chair with a White Chocolate Mocha and a warm apple fritter (both very tasty on a 23 degree day), this was my hour:

  • Mike and Zach, a father and son from my church, came in for a hot beverage. Mike is a biology professor at Davidson College; Zach is his young son who is one day going to amaze the world with his creative zaniness. Mike was fortifying himself for an afternoon's work standing in a marsh - in below freezing weather!

  • Tammy stopped by for a beverage to go as she went from home to school to work. Her company is our vision care supplier - 3 of the six in my family have glasses, so her work is important to us. Does your eye care center deliver? Mine does! She is also a part of my itinerant bike team for the 24 Hours of Booty - a Lance Armstrong charity ride. By the way, she goes to my church.

  • Donna came in to pick up a friend's favorite beverage to take and visit. She had had a recent medical scare, and Donna just wanted to spend some time with her at home. Everything is going to be okay, but friends still do that kind of thing. She also followed up on a phone call she made to our home, asking my wife and I to consider doing a devotional at an upcoming Upward Basketball game. Yeah, she goes to my church too.

  • At least a dozen other customers came in; all were warmly greeted by the barista crew. Children were made to feel especially welcome - pretty unusual for a traditionally "grown-up" place.

  • At least two small groups of some sort were going on - prayer was definitely a part of the time together; Bibles were also out and visible.

  • In between all of that, I did get three journal pages written and 2 chapters outlined and annotated.

On the way out, I spoke briefly with the store manager, to set up future conversations about what I'm up to, and how great her store is.

I started this project going to this Starbucks because it was nearby, and fit my need for research.

I go to my Starbucks now because it's a place where I can relax, think, create, connect with others, and be a part of a community.

It's not about the coffee - it's about the experience.

What do you think this short story says about the church in general, and your church in particular?

1 comment:

g-force said...

Hi Bob,

I'm not a coffee person, my "Starbucks" is Panera- my husband and I often go there to talk, along with enjoying great food & a wonderful tea assortment... and, frequently, some stranger will come up to us and say, "Bronx Bethany?". We've learned that there's no such thing as a private lunch in a public space!

P.S. I loved your recent blog on the weather and the way of the Spirit- preach it, pastor! :-)