What If Starbucks Marketed Like the Church?

What If Starbucks Marketed Like the Church?

In early 2009, I started researching what church marketing is all about. I wanted to know how one markets a church when there is not a product or service to be sold, but rather an experience, or better yet, a relationship. I didn’t want to promote the “next best meeting” or the “coolest book since Purpose Driven Life.” I wanted to know how to meet the needs of the people in and around the church I worked for.

If Jesus thought it was worthwhile to spend his time around tax collectors, prostitutes and murderers, then surely there was something about Him that knew how to be culturally relevant to where they were at. So often the American Church expects the unsaved to come to them and be convinced of their need for a savior. But what we can be convinced into, we can just as easily be convinced out of.

Marketing comes down to managing perception–the perception of the church, the perception of the leadership, even the perception of what a typical church member looks like. So often the church tries promoting themselves as having the latest and greatest in fanfare and media when that is not what the world is looking for. Why go to church to see great light shows and bands when you can go see Muse or U2 with no offering plates or guilt and condemnation? Now, I am all for multimedia, light productions, and having it done professionally, but I am against making that the focal point of a church service.

Relevance is not trying to be like the world, but offering them something they can’t find anywhere else. Relevance is having answers to their questions. Jesus was relevant because He met their needs through signs and wonders before He ever tried preaching the gospel to them. Does Jesus even invite one person to church? He WAS the church.

In the path of my research on church marketing, I came across this video by Richard Reising entitled, “What if Starbucks Marketed Like the Church?” The truth presented in this short video is humorous, yet deeply convicting.

If you are feeling that your methods of reaching the unsaved are not bringing in the results you hoped for, ask yourself how you would feel if Target, Home Depot, or some other business tried contacting you the way you approach others. We’re not out to save nameless, faceless souls. We’re out to be a bridge between real people and a real God. The strength of that bridge depends upon our ability to be relevant.

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6 responses to “What If Starbucks Marketed Like the Church?”

  1. Hank says:

    wow, the best church parable video I have seen.
    When I was watching the vid I could not stop smiling as I remembered some of the churches I have visited in the past 🙂

    But then, even if I look at my game marketing, I can now see some mistakes I keep doing. This article + the vid is an eye opener.

    (btw, I just can’t resist but send this link to one of the pastors I know 🙂 )

  2. Morris says:


  3. cybermagnetik says:

    What a great web log. I spend hours on the net reading blogs, about tons of various subjects. I have to first of all give praise to whoever created your theme and second of all to you for writing what i can only describe as an fabulous article. I honestly believe there is a skill to writing articles that only very few posses and honestly you got it. The combining of demonstrative and upper-class content is by all odds super rare with the astronomic amount of blogs on the cyberspace.

  4. Hedgehoh54 says:

    this vid made me lough 🙂
    Nice article mate.
    I envy your writing skills.
    But as far as marketing goes, I am sure that marketing of a product is more important than the product itself. As far as the profits are cconcerned. Just take the big fast food chains. Some of them are hundread times more successful than some smaller fast food chains that actually sell better food. Why? Because they know their marketing well. They know how human brain functions. They know exactly what to say and what colours and sounds to use or where to place doors and how should the interior look….
    Social engineering I call it.

  5. Hazzle says:

    I really liked the example u have taken and video is spectacular. Thanks 🙂

  6. Janette says:

    Interesting points, I agreed with the majority except I felt it was important to mention that Christ is not the Church and the Church is not Christ. He is the Head of the Church ie leader, and the Savior of it. See Ephesians 3:23

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