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Photo: darkensiva (Creative Commons license)

Photo: darkensiva (Creative Commons license)

There have been several humorous comparisons between church and Starbucks. If you haven’t seen the YouTube video, “What if the Starbucks Marketed Like the Church?” come back to this link after reading this post and check it out.

Now let’s turn it around. What if the church behaved more like Starbucks? What I’m suggesting has nothing to do with coffee…and everything to do with something called The Green Apron Book.

The Green Apron Book is a booklet that Starbucks gives its baristas. My stepdaughter worked at Starbucks for a while, and passed along the booklet. It outlines Starbucks mission: “To provide an uplifting experience that enriches people’s daily lives,” along with 5 Principles for doing exactly that:

1. Be Welcoming: Offer everyone a sense of belonging
2. Be Genuine: Connect, discover, respond
3. Be Knowledgeable: Love what you do. Share it with others.
4. Be Considerate: Take care of yourself, each other, and the environment.
5. Be Involved: In the store, in the company, and in the community.

Others, like Jeff Myers of the Slumdog Disciple blog, have already picked up on the notion that The Green Apron Book might have something to teach us about the experience we create for people (whether we claim that aspect of ‘church’ or ignore it). Darrin at the Hands and Feet 2.0 blog wrote a series of posts. Both Darrin and Jeff also mention the book, The Starbucks Experience by Joseph A. Michelli (McGraw Hill, 2006) for a more in-depth look at the 5 principles. But if you don’t want to go into that much depth, Jeff says The Green Apron Book is yours for the asking at Starbucks.

Here’s what I’d like to add. These 5 principles are a good guideline for Christians and churches when it comes to social media. Think about it. As Will Boyd of 3StoryChurch has pointed out in past posts like this one, there’s a lot more you can do on Twitter, Facebook, and other networks than just promote your programs, classes, sermons, and worship services.

We live in a world with abundant information. What people seem to be looking for are authentic, positive experiences. If your presence online and in the realm of social media is about creating that for them, even in small ways, they’ll be more likely to come to your website to see what else you have to offer.

And of course, follow through is important. If someone who connected with you or your church via social media shows up on Sunday morning, they should expect an in-person experience that matches the online presence. [For more on that, click the link to the YouTube video at the beginning of this post].

So how about it? Would you take a copy of The Green Apron Book to your next church board meeting, elder’s meeting, or small group discussion?


For the past few months, we at DisciplesWorld have been refining our focus. Like many publications, our print circulation has been declining. Visits to our website have increased, but we haven’t really integrated print and web as much as we would like to. With 6 years of publishing the magazine, it was time to ask ourselves, how well are we serving our readers? What are they looking for, and what can we provide for them? After a process of evaluating and re-defining our mission to better reflect what we believe DisciplesWorld is all about, we are now ready to begin rolling out some new projects and telling you about the changes to come.

First, we have a new blog. Publisher and Editor Verity A. Jones, and Managing Editor Sherri Emmons will be talking about these changes, and inviting you into a conversation about them, over at the Between the Lines blog.

Second, we have launched an email newsletter, the DisciplesWorld Dispatch. If you would like to receive it, please click here to sign up. Through the Dispatch, we’ll be able to keep in touch with readers, advertisers, and supporters, and let you know what’s happening with us.

We’ve also launched a new community site called The Intersection. Here, you can engage in discussions with Disciples and others; post blogs, photos, videos, music, and podcasts; create a personal profile; and more. The site is free to join. Even though we created The Intersection, the site belongs to the community of members. We hope you’ll join and help us develop it. The Intersection also has its own Twitter account: @faithmeetslife.

Later this year, we’ll be making some changes to our main site,, and to our approach to web news. We’ll keep you informed about those changes.  The NewsMuse blog will probably undergo a re-focusing and eventually, a re-launch. For now, I’ll be posting infrequently as much of my time is being spent on getting these new projects off the ground, so if you would like to be a guest blogger, just let me know.

Lastly, while we’ve done a lot of thinking and talking (internally and with some of you) up to this point, we don’t want the conversation to end. So let us know what you think, and what you’d like to see from DisciplesWorld and how you’d like to be involved in making it happen.

It’s been a long week with much to blog about. Not surprisingly, the California Supreme Court’s decision to uphold Proposition 8, which defines marriage as between one man and one woman, tops the list of blogged-about topics. While some argue that the church ought to get out of the civil marriage business, Bill McConnell wrote (actually last week) that it’s the state that ought to butt out.  Steve Kindle, of the Open Hearts, Affirming Pages blog, posted several items this week. And Danny Bradfield, over at Field of Dandelions, mentions it in this Pentecost-related post.

Photo: ptrktn (Creative Commons license)

Photo: ptrktn (Creative Commons license)

In a tangentially related post, The Prophet Joel asks whether the “Open & Affirming” designation adopted by some LGBT-friendly churches puts politics before Christ. His post before that one is good Friday afternoon reading: Television Characters Who Are Seminary Drop-Outs.

We also began the week with Memorial Day, when we remember those who have lost their lives serving our country and protecting our freedoms. Charlie Cochran blogs about God and fireworks. And Pastor Bob Cornwall shares A Prayer for Memorial Day on his Ponderings on a Faith Journey blog.

I also missed a great post last week, from the Field of Dandelions blog: “Beer, Revisited.” I won’t try to explain. Just read it.

Shortest post of the week: found on the Ageing Xperience blog.

My favorite post this week comes from Keith McAlliley who writes the Blogging from Bridgeport blog. Keith calls us to really give some hard thought to what we mean, as Christians, when we talk (obsessively, sometimes) about the need for building “community” in our churches. Do we just want social time? A support group? Or is it about something else altogether? Read what he has to say, and share what you think with him.

Got a blog post you’d like us to feature next Friday? Don’t be shy. Email us: news AT disciplesworld DOT com. Have a great weekend.

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