Pastors Love Starbucks

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Pastors ❤ Starbucks

So, it’s been eight months since I’ve started writing full time. I know, supposedly, it’s a dream job, and I’m not sure I can disagree with that, but I am sure that I can tell you that typing at Starbucks has taught me a bunch of things. Let me share a few.

What I’ve learned at Starbucks:

1. I’ve learned that Starbucks has free refills on hot and iced tea and cold-brew coffee. You just get a happy little rewards card or use an app (sorry flip-phone users… wait, I’m the only one that still has a flip phone? Fine, then. Don’t be jealous of all of my T9 texting skills.) and refill away. Did you purchase a single cup of green tea at 9 am and five hours later you are asking for your 12th refill? Not a problem.

2. I’ve learned that my hands start shaking pretty good right around the third cup of cold brew mark.

3. I’ve learned that baristas are trained to try to remember your name. I know, that one may deflate your ego a little, but still, I pretend that some of them are really genuinely excited to see a pale guy with a thermos walking into their store every day. I can pretend.

4. I’ve learned that the darkest roast isn’t actually the espresso, it’s really the French Roast. I know, mind-blown.

5. And finally: Starbucks is a clergy magnet.

Bible and coffee cup.

I’ve met more pastors, youth pastors, worship leaders, and volunteer coordinators than I thought could even exist in a single city while I’ve typed away on my laptop. Since my headphones are “noise enhancing” I’ve also overheard my fair share of conversations about the church.
So, what have I learned?

Well, in a phrase: We’re in trouble, folks.

I don’t say this lightly, my heart burns when I say this, the majority of the conversations that I’ve overheard could have been spoken by a non-believer to another non-believer. And no, I’m not saying, “They talked about football, we’re all doomed!” it goes much deeper than that.
For instance, I heard a youth pastor trying to convince a sweet little old lady to serve in the position of “volunteer coordinator.” She was a bit resistant to working with another woman in the congregation. The youth pastor then tried to attack the issue from a different side. He said, “Let’s just leave the whole brothers and sisters in Christ thing alone for a moment and talk about her as an employee.”

What?

We can’t just leave the fact that we are Christ’s body, relatives, a family, and His bride, alone for any amount of time. We are new creations in Christ (2 Cor. 5:7) and that identity is the most important thing in our lives.
“But that’s just one example, that’s not the norm of what goes on behind the scenes of our congregations.”
It isn’t?
I’ve stood here for months at the same table, and I’ve heard conversations about websites, the need for new, video cameras, sound boards, stage lights, higher numbers in attendance, stressful parking situations, tithes, tithes, and tithes. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve also heard conversations about outreach programs, heard men struggling with addiction get prayed for, and learned a lot about theology, but those were the rare moments. The norm was all of those things that I mentioned above. That’s why I say, “We’re in trouble.”
I’m reading this book, it’s called the Bible, and in it I don’t find ANYONE being concerned about… Click To Tweet

A.W. Tozer said, “If the Holy Spirit was withdrawn from the church today, 95 percent of what we do would go on and no one would know the difference. If the Holy Spirit had been withdrawn from the New Testament church, 95 percent of what they did would stop, and everybody would know the difference.” If the Holy Spirit was withdrawn from the church today, 95 percent of what we do would go on and… Click To Tweet

This is a huge problem. At the very core of most of our church buildings is man. I once heard a pastor brag about the extensive research he conducted before building his church. He wanted to create the most welcoming and inviting environment that could possibly be created. Well, when I went there the church was full of people and they all looked happy. He had succeeded, but I wonder how many of them were there for the comfort or there for the Savior.He had succeeded, but I wonder how many of them were there for the comfort or there for the Savior. Click To Tweet

I wonder what would have happened if he spent all of that research time in prayer?

We won’t solve this one overnight. Nothing short of a complete systemic overhaul of the system, from the ground up, will result in any bit of lasting difference. As for me and my house, we aren’t praying for revival, we’re praying for holiness. Revival will follow, but God is pretty clear about distancing himself from the proud and unclean.

Unfortunately, I feel like a lot of our church buildings are full of both.
I think we’ve lost that whole pursuing God through holiness thing. You know, that pesky teaching that Paul seems to be obsessed with:1 Corinthians 3:17Romans 12:112nd Corinthians 6:14-18,  to name a few.
Or, as Jesus prayed,

I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. i do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sactify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you have sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also be me sanctified in truth. John 17:14-19

Anyway, I thought you should know. Until next time, lose your life!

 

Post Script:

My favorite old pastor, Leonard Ravenhill, saying with much greater clarity and passion what I just tried to type: Is Your Affection On Things, Leonard Ravenhill.

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