As I continue to plow through the book “Onward” by Howard Schultz I keep seeing key insights for church leaders. Here’s another quote:
“As I locked up the Pike’s Place store I considered what needed to be done starting that day: muster a collective faith in the original Starbucks experience – our purpose and reason for being – and then refocus our company on the customers instead of breakneck growth. But that faith was not something I could demand. I had to ask for it and, ultimately, earn it, day after day.”
Schultz has a habit of occasionally going to the Pike’s Place store (the original store in the chain) early in the morning before any body gets there. It reminds him of where they came from. In this quote he mentions “the original Starbucks experience”. I was in a conversation the other day with Glenn Akins, Assistant Executive Director of the Virginia Baptist Mission Board www.vbmb.org. Glenn is a smart guy and real guru in the area of Multi-Site Churches. Glenn mentioned that Starbucks doesn’t sell coffee, it sells an experience. And he is right. Schultz mentions this throughout the book. There are certain sights, sounds and smells that combine together with taste that Starbucks intentionally built into this experience. Part of what Schultz began to do in 2008 was to try to recapture this experience.
He speaks about “refocusing” on this experience which is their “purpose and reason for being”. I am also reading Aubrey Malphurs book “The Nuts and Bolts of Church Planting” http://tinyurl.com/3e9onyg. In it, Malphurs states: “My experience in working with established churches over the years is that far too many don’t know where they are going. They’ve lost sight of their mission.” I have to say I agree with Malphurs (and Schultz) that occasionally we have to revisit our roots and rediscover why we are doing what we are doing. Otherwise we can focus on all of the wrong things.
Schultz also mentions a “faith” (interesting choice of words) that needs to be recaptured. This faith is “not something I could demand… but must earn it day after day.” As leaders, we can’t force our people to comply, to follow, to even trust our leadership. There may have been a time in church life where positional authority was strong, not any more. The Pastor must prove himself day after day to earn the people’s trust. This is particularly true in newer churches and churches with younger memberships.
I meet monthly with a group of pastors who are committed to revitalizing their churches. This would be a good lesson for them. To turn things around, we need to rediscover our purpose and mission. We need to focus our energies on that mission. We need to work hard every day to earn the right to lead our people. And then we need to lead!
Here is an assignment for pastors. Get to your place of worship early next Sunday, before everyone else arrives. Look around and ask yourself:
What kind of experience do we want to create for people here today?
What is our purpose? our mission? our focus?
What can I do today to earn more of the trust of the people in my church as their leader?
What does God expect from us today? What does he want to give us today?