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23 April 2009

What if Starbucks Marketed Like the Church?

From the folks at BeyondRelevance.com comes a video that is sure to inspire some sort of reaction in you. It might be, "That is so like us!" or maybe, "I can't believe they're compaing God to a cup of coffee," or, "Bwa-ha ha ha ha!" or "That's completely sacrilegious."

Me? I think it's an incredibly accurate comparison. Imagine that you're a first-time guest at a house of worship and haven't been to "church" in years, and watch it with those eyes. Watch, and then read the concluding paragraph.



Although I love this video and it cracks me up (in a "This is sadly true" way) I'm not totally on the same page. We put the cart before the horse so often that I think the church cart factory always builds the reins coming out the back. Are our "worship services" actually "worship services"? If the answer is yes, then why do we so often adjust our presentation in such a way that it appeals to the entertainment value of those who don't know Christ? These are people who couldn't possibly worship God, because they don't even know Him. That's not at all condescending; it's a simple truth. Is this our way of honoring God before the nations?

What does Scripture tell you?

(Oh yeah... who decided that we're supposed to spell "sacrilegious" in a way that makes no sense when compared to its root word, "religious"?)

9 comments:

Preston N said...

Now Dean, there you go again! :)

Seriously, I would agree that maybe the reverse is what is actually occurring here. I see churches taking pages out of the Starbucks playbook. If I see one more church that advertises they have a coffee bar or a cafe I am going pop a vein.

Again, the issue a church is faced with is they are trying to appeal to a broad range of people (from the mature Christ follower all the way to the non-believer). This results in somewhat of mutated service (and message/worship?). Again, this video is indicative of religion and not relationship.

Cecily said...

Are our "worship services" actually "worship services"? If the answer is yes, then why do we so often adjust our presentation in such a way that it appeals to the entertainment value of those who don't know Christ? These are people who couldn't possibly worship God, because they don't even know Him. That's not at all condescending; it's a simple truth.I've been struggling with the right words in response to this, because I know your heart and I *think* I know your intent in this question. However, I also think it's tough to answer this question without first having a definition for or explanation of what kinds of elements are being incorporated into worship that you consider "adjustments for entertainment value."

Is there only one way to conduct a worship service? Are there "right" and "wrong" elements to incorporate? On the surface, this seems similar to the arguments made by those who think the KJV is the only translation that is valid, and that the NIV is nothing more than an "adjustment for entertainment value." If the NIV makes God's Word easier to understand and leads people to a saving relationship with Jesus Christ, does that not lend it some validity (so long as it is not a distortion of Truth)?

Similarly, are elements like video, drama, creative movement, attractive screen backgrounds, graphics and other visuals that reinforce the concept of the message being presented, and/or a band that includes drums and an electric guitar considered "adjustments for entertainment value" ... or are they elements that bring the Word to life, provide a greater depth of understanding of the Word, and help people to recognize the relevance of God's Word in today's culture?

Maybe the real question is, what is the purpose for Sunday morning services? Is it only for worship? What does "worship" look like? Is it mainly for teaching/preaching, and if so, is this type of discipling considered "worship?" Is it for outreach, to help those who don't know Christ to come to salvation? Or mainly for inreach, to help those in the Church who already know Christ to develop a deeper relationship with Him?

Are all these things mutually exclusive? Can't we include them all?

Also... does it not honor God when we use our God-given creative talents to further His kingdom? Is that not a form of worship?

Maybe the real hang-up is merely a semantic one. If our Sunday morning services incorporate outreach, discipleship, creative expression, AND a time of worship, then perhaps the moniker "worship service" is too limiting, too narrow a description.

Just my initial random thoughts on this... sorry if they aren't that cohesive. Also, maybe I completely missed the point of your post, in which case ignore these ramblings.

Cecily said...

OK, when I previewed my comment, it did NOT combine that quote in italics with my first paragraph... I don't know why it did that when I posted it, but I can't go back and fix it now. Sorry.

Dean Lusk said...

Wow... Excellent words in both of your guys' comments. They get to the heart of what I'm talking about!

I'm on the road, so my full feedback will need to come from a bigger computer keyboard. I don't disagree with anything so far (or not much, anyway).

Preston N said...

Here is a discussion point regarding "worship" within the modern day church. I am of the opinion that worship is only possible by those who are in right relationship with God. In otherwords, sinners/non-beleivers are incapable of worshipping God. I have had worship ministers debate this issue with me saying that it is indeed possible for sinners to worship God. But according to scripture I think it's pretty clear that a person must have a right heart to truly worship God. After reading Isaiah 1 I get the real clear sense that God does not tolerate worship unless it is done by those who have a clean heart. He will not be mocked.

Therefore if worship is designed and is only possible to be conducted by thse who are truly saved, then why do churches so often orchestrate their services and worship to be appealling to what men desire rather than what God desires. I think all too often worship leaders set up worship services with the mindset "I wonder how people will feel or react to this", rather than "will this be pleasing and honorable in God's eyes?"

This brings me back to the question of what is the modern day churches purposes or intent with its worship service?

Dean Lusk said...

All of the things mentioned here are at issue!

I believe that, while the tide is changing and some churches are hungry to begin living Biblically, the standard method of operations is not for a church fellowship to say, "What are we doing here, and WHY do we have 'services' on Sunday? Who comes to them and why? What's the purpose of the meeting? Are we doing it Biblically? Are we not?"

The standard thing to do is to "do church." Just do it -- the Bible must say something about it. I mean, hey, we've been doing it for as long as I can remember! Sunday morning worship services included. Why is it taboo to step back and say, "What are we doing here?"

If we actually asked questions, then we might be able to get to those things Cecily talked about -- I believe she asks many of the right questions where our activities are concerned.

Preston said, "I am of the opinion that worship is only possible by those who are in right relationship with God." I'm not sure that's even debatable, is it?? At the very worst, worship is only conceivably possible by those who know God to begin with. And just knowing Him doesn't even come close to worshipping Him.

I hope that I've communicated my thoughts well here.

Dean Lusk said...

My second paragraph above is probably confusing. I meant it to be a bit sarcastic, with the last sentence breaking the sarcasm.

And I have to say that after re-reading the comment, it's probably the most fragmented set of thoughts I've ever typed.

At least I didn't combine any quotes in italics with my regular paragraphs like the dumb ol' second commenter did up there... :-)

(Heh heh... Kind of funny -- Cecily is a superfectionist, and I know that's gotta be annoying!)

Cecily said...

Hey, now... I resemble that remark!

(Yes, it bugged me. Note that I had to add another comment to explain what had happened.)

Leroy said...

Ha, ha, ha! I see it for the levity and the truthfulness it is.

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