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

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Length: 226 pages Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

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: 576 KB
  • Print Length: 226 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1578566495
  • Publisher: WaterBrook Press (May 20, 2008)
  • Publication Date: May 21, 2008
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000SEGR78
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #599,171 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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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?"

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

75 of 92 people found the following review helpful By lighten_up_already2 VINE VOICE on 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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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Engram on June 21, 2008
Format: Paperback
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 By M. T. Kohanski on March 3, 2007
Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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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