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The Gospel According to Starbucks: Living with a Grande Passion [Kindle Edition]

Leonard Sweet
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $13.99
Kindle Price: $9.78
You Save: $4.21 (30%)
Sold by: Random House LLC


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Book Description

Introducing the life you’d gladly stand in line for

You don’t stand in line at Starbucks® just to buy a cup of coffee. You stop for the experience surrounding the cup of coffee.
Too many of us line up for God out of duty or guilt. We completely miss the warmth and richness of the experience of living with God. If we’d learn to see what God is doing on earth, we could participate fully in the irresistible life that he offers.
You can learn to pay attention like never before, to identify where God is already in business right in your neighborhood. The doors are open and the coffee is brewing. God is serving the refreshing antidote to the unsatisfying, arms-length spiritual life–and he won’t even make you stand in line.
Let Leonard Sweet show you how the passion that Starbucks® has for creating an irresistible experience can connect you with God’s stirring introduction to the experience of faith.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Studies show that fewer Americans than we thought attend church, and Sweet, popular author (Soul Salsa) and professor of evangelism at Drew Theological School in New Jersey, thinks that the church should take cues from an institution that isn't suffering a lack of customers: Starbucks. For all his hip cultural sensitivity, Sweet hasn't shed one standby of church-growth books: the acronym. His is EPIC, which stands for Experience, Participation, "Images that throb with meaning," and Connection. Starbucks has mastered EPIC living, and the church can, too. The successful coffee corporation recognizes that people are drawn in through visual icons, and it beats competitors because its design sensibility is superior—indeed, its imagery is shot through with "spiritual significance." The church should take a hint and, instead of focusing solely on its written mission statements, devote some energy to design. Starbucks understands that people hunger for "authentic experience." Finally, just as people like to drink coffee together, people seek community and connection in religious settings. Sweet's bottom line? Christianity must move beyond rational, logical apologetics, and instead find ways of showing people that it can offer "symbols and meaningful engagement." This whimsical and insightful book offers a fresh approach to a topic of perennial interest. (Apr. 17)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Praise for
The Gospel According to Starbucks®

“Cultural barista Leonard Sweet serves up a triple venti cup of relevant insights to wake up decaffeinated Christians. Careful, the book you’re about to enjoy is extremely hot.”
–Ben Young, pastor, author of Why Mike’s Not a Christian

“Reading this book is a caffeine jolt. Get ready to be accelerated into the future, with Jesus a central part of the experience.”
–Dan Kimball, pastor, author of The Emerging Church and They Like Jesus, But Not the Church  

The Gospel According to Starbucks® inspires us to quit playing safe and mediocre lives and to fulfill our God-given potential. Leonard Sweet uncovers God’s purpose for people not just as individuals but also as communities. An outstanding and thought-provoking book.”
–Paul McGee, international speaker, best-selling author of S.U.M.O. (Shut Up, Move On®)

“I have a massive passion for passion. It’s my favorite spiritual topic. And I have a nominal coffee obsession, Starbucks being my ritual more often than not. So what a treat to read Leonard Sweet’s extra-shot weaving together of the two–all in the hope that each of us will drink in the meaningful and passion-filled life we were designed for.”
–Mark Oestreicher, president of Youth Specialties

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Product Details

  • File Size: 351 KB
  • Print Length: 224 pages
  • Publisher: WaterBrook Press (May 21, 2008)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000SEGR78
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #528,079 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
72 of 89 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Praise the Latte! January 26, 2007
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is like a grande cup of foam with a shot of espresso at the bottom. If you slurp your way through the froth, you'll find a taste or two of genuine wisdom along the way.

And, Sweet does get a few good "shots" in.

Page 33. "And in a worst-coffee country, where were you served the worst of the worst? The church."

Right on! Many churches could benefit from being places that just served a decent cup of coffee on Sunday morning. Still, many church leaders don't seem to understand this.

Or, better yet, let people eat donuts and drink coffee in church! Great idea! (page 145).

Page 57. Great shot at Thomas Kinkade paintings! Why are they not beautiful, only pretty? Sweet tells us why.

But oh the frothy foam of verbiage I had to pour through my skull to get those little tastes of cerebral stimulation!

At times I wondered if Sweet and I lived on the same planet. On page 104 Sweet writes, "Every Starbucks store is different, but the Starbucks image is the same wherever you go..." Really? Actually, I've lived in the Starbucks' homeland all my life and I've been to a lot of Starbucks restaurants, and I can tell you they're mostly all practically identical. Starbucks is the McDonalds of espresso.

Some of it was just plain embarrassing, like on page 24 where Sweet really wants to use the word for excrement that starts with "S", but he substitutes the dog breed Shih Tzu. So he uses the word without using the word. This guy is clever!

But most of the rest was the same stuff that many Christian authors have been writing about for years. Yes, Christianity is something that is supposed to be experienced, not "gone to" on Sunday mornings.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Flawed Analysis June 21, 2008
As with many who are in the emergent movement they know there are issues within the church and often are correct in their identification of them. (Though you wonder how so many of them could have the same, incredibly bad experiences - I have seen and participated in some real authentic, Christ following fellowships and would think there has to be a few more out there). Anyway, my issue is with their solutions. Instead of returning to the Bible for how to do church (Acts, Pastoral Epistles), they turn to modern thinking and strategies for solutions that will only lead the church into more error and problems. In fact, I find it interesting that though the book was written not that long ago that today Starbucks is in trouble as a company and looking to find their magic again. Not sure how to fix Starbucks, but scripture gives us clear understanding of how a church will prosper.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars EPIC BREW March 3, 2007
I found this book to be outstanding! In our book study we are promoting each partcipant to review one of the Being Real Engages the World thought provoking questions daily to help them in their spiritual journey. Our class has gone from 5 people to 14 people because the original five liked it so much. There are 2 more discussion groups, one for over 70years and the other for 15-18years of age, being formed for a 6 week series to experience a different way to grow into Christ.

Sweet puts growing spiritually into a format that appeals to many people whether they drink Starucks or not. We are finding many points from architecture, space, service, mission to prayer and images coming up from remarks Sweet has made. Our discussion group is participating fully and meeting to combine our thoughts (provoked by our discussions) to find ways we can reach out into our neighborhood to help make our church connecting to others.

Sweet certainly has put out information, comparisions and questions that have helped us realize we need to put as much energy into growing ourselves spiritually, as we spend "talking" about how to this and that.

Sweet really has put into a small book a way to experience God and connect with our neighbors. Our group is having an irreistible faith experience with Jesus as the center.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
A while back I stood on a street corner in a major U.S. city and counted five Starbucks stores within my limited range of vision. I wondered what on earth they were thinking; weren't they concerned all these stores would cannibalize each other? Well, no, they weren't concerned at all, and their reasoning sheds light on the company's phenomenal success --- and what the church can learn from the Starbucks knack for engaging the culture and transforming it in the process. THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO STARBUCKS offers a delightful romp through the world of a company that changed the way we take our cup o' joe. And along the way, the book offers a wealth of insights that will help the church engage the culture --- and maybe, just maybe, help transform it, changing the way people relate to God and express their faith.

But first, to the author. If Leonard Sweet's contribution to the literature of the church was limited to his academic, theological works on postmodernism, that would be enough to earn our gratitude. The fact that he also remembers the masses makes his writing a doubly valuable asset. This is one of his books for the masses, and for reasons I can't quite pinpoint, it's one of his best of that kind. Maybe it's the fascinating tidbits about Starbucks's history and corporate culture that pepper the book; maybe it's the oh-so-familiar behavior of caffeine-addicted consumers like me; maybe it's the dots he connects between extreme sports and karaoke and reality TV and a chain of coffee houses. Whatever it is, he brews up a whole lot of fun and pours out his best blend of information, insights, wisdom and casual writing style.

To help us "get" the Starbucks culture, Sweet uses the acronym EPIC: experiential, participatory, image-rich and connective.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Not for me
I should have known by the title, but because I've heard so many good things about Leonard Sweet over the years, I thought I'd give this book a read. It just wasn't for me. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Jeffrey B. Wright
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking...
This book is well researched and written. Finding passion in life, regardless of pursuit, is the key to successful living!
Published 7 months ago by Tim Tibbals
5.0 out of 5 stars Bringing the passion back
Passionate employees = greater customer service, referrals, return customers, higher sales, future growth opportunities, increased market share, etc. Read more
Published 7 months ago by jennifer snyder
5.0 out of 5 stars EVEN IF you do not like coffee you will love this book!
I was blessed to hear Mr. Sweet speak in Longwood, Fl at The Church on the Living Edge -- he writes as well as he speaks!
Published 10 months ago by Richard Karampatsos
5.0 out of 5 stars This one is a keeper!
A customer of mine was reading the book, he offered to let me read it when he was finished. I read two chapters and knew I had to purchase my copy. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Anita Zahnd
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Insight
Good book, with some helpful insights. I would recommend it even is you do not drink Starbucks or any other coffee.
Published 14 months ago by Pastor Jay
5.0 out of 5 stars Creativity spells Grande Passion
This book rocked my narrow mind and set me free. Read it, you won't want to put it down. It kicks out any idea of being religious so you can have the liberty Jesus came to give us. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Brenda Register
4.0 out of 5 stars E.P.I.C.: The Gospel According to Starbuck's
Leonard Sweet, in The Gospel According to Starbuck's, says that the Church should be like Starbuck's in that it should be E.P.I.C., like Starbuck's is E.P.I.C. Read more
Published on August 14, 2012 by Robert Pruitt
1.0 out of 5 stars Pointless, incoherent!
This book is pretentious, disjointed, incoherent, scatter-brained, thesis-less. Tacked together references to give the mere appearance of learning. Read more
Published on July 8, 2011 by S. Doty
5.0 out of 5 stars Purchased as a Gift, received in such a short time
I actually bought these as gifts and was really surprised when they arrived so quickly and in great condition too. Thanks so much for your service.
Published on November 29, 2010 by Joyce Newton
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More About the Author

Len Sweet ( was born of a mixed marriage: his mother was a fiery Pilgrim Holiness-ordained preacher from the mountains of West Virginia and his quiet father a Free Methodist lay leader from the Adirondack mountains of upstate New York. After a deconversion at 17, when Len set about less sowing wild oats than planting prairies, he became an atheist intellectual and scholar dedicated to exposing the nincompoopery and poppycockery, if not tomfoolery and skullduggery of all religions. After this seven-year period of liminality, Len came back to the faith of his ancestors, where he has been ever since, exploring the "insterstices" and "semiotics" of religion, culture and history. He uses two words to describe himself: semiotician and interstitial. In other words, he is obsessed with two questions: "Where have you been?" and "Where are you going?"

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