A cup of coffee commits one to 40 years of relationship. Turkish Proverb.

In Los Angeles a couple weeks ago for a conference, I ducked into Starbucks for a pm-pick-me-up… Celebrate 40 years with us! I turned to the lady behind me saying, “Really?  It’s been that long already?” She said, “You bet it has…” and went on for a good few minutes about the early days in Seattle opening on March 30, 1971.  I think she was a fan.  Still I can hardly believe that so many years have passed.  I thought I was an early adopter… but I would have been six back then.

So today my mind wanders and wonders:  It’s been about 40 years since Vatican II… Starbucks sure has hit the big time… what about the church?  Compare and contrast.


  1. The #1 corporate success story in the last quarter century.
  2. Stock prices have risen 5775% since going public in 1992.
  3. Starbucks stores are ubiquitous!  There’s one on every block of the 16th street mall in downtown Denver.  No joke!
  4. Coffee shops have been cleverly integrated into communities all over:  bookstores/grocery stores/airports/neighborhood strip malls.  They’re everywhere!
  5. They are marketing and branding geniuses who have created a compelling desire in people for meaningful conversation and relationship.
  6. Starbucks demonstrates a passion for excellence in all that they do from their products to employees to the color/design of the coffee shop experience.

Catholic Church

  1. There have been some pretty big issues over the past bunch of years… not very flattering ones I’m afraid.
  2. The church doesn’t trade publicly on the stock exchange but if it did, the share value might be bottoming out about now.
  3. Sadly, parishes are closing all over because the hierarchy can’t figure out how to include talented lay people to act as business administrators.
  4. The church hasn’t always been disconnected from culture.  It used to be that faith identity permeated people’s lives but no more… we can get it back but the big question is How?
  5. Marketing and branding?  What is that?
  6. The church has a passion for conformity and obedience through imparting intellectual knowledge.

Starbucks has set the bar for independent coffee houses and gathering places of every kind… including churches.  The best litmus test of success is the age-old evaluation question:  Would you recommend us to a friend?

I’m listening… send me your thoughts.

Question of the day:  Would you?


About Elaine Menardi

Heading off on a new adventure! I solve problems and make ideas happen.

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