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

3.43 of 5 stars 3.43  ·  rating details  ·  269 ratings  ·  49 reviews
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 partic
Paperback, 224 pages
Published January 16th 2007 by WaterBrook Press
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The Gospel According to Breaking Bad by Blake AtwoodThe Gospel According to the Simpsons by Mark I. PinskyThe Gospel According to Peanuts by Robert L. ShortThe Gospel According to Starbucks by Leonard SweetThe Gospel According to Lost by Chris Seay
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This is one of those books that has a few great passages, but the vast majority of the text can otherwise be skimmed. The main thrust of the book is that the Christian life must be experienced through tactile senses, expressions of hospitality and an EPIC passion. These ideas are thought-provoking, but the book lacks concrete application to the individual life. I got tired of all the talk about Starbucks and why that company is so great.

Here's one of the best passages in the book:

“Authentic Ch
Jul 25, 2011 Nathan added it
Most books have both good and bad points in them. But every so often, I run across a book that has practically no redeeming value. This was one of those books.

Bluntly, it was one of the worst books I've read in a long time.

The essence of the book's message: Church should be E.P.I.C. (Experiential, Participatory, Image-Rich, Connecting). Starbucks does EPIC really well. The church could learn a lot from Starbucks.

The format takes each letter (E.P.I.C.) and covers a chapter on how Starbucks enacts
Robert Woodman
Dec 02, 2012 Robert Woodman rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: all Christians
Recommended to Robert by: Rev. Billy C. Reid
What can Starbucks teach Christians about presenting the gospel of Jesus Christ to the world? Plenty, as Leonard Sweet demonstrates in his book The Gospel According to Starbucks.

Dr. Sweet, founder and president of SpiritVenture Ministries, and a coffee addict (okay, let's be clear: a STARBUCKS addict) compared the way that Starbucks presents the coffee experience to the way most churches present "the Christian message", and he finds the church lacking. First, presenting the message without an ex
Robbie Pruitt
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. Sweet says that Starbuck's, “our cultures church,” is Experiential, Participatory, Image Rich, and Communal. Sweet makes the point that the church is supposed to be E.P.I.C. and was E.P.I.C. way before Starbuck’s was.

The E.P.I.C. model of the church is very much Biblical. Jesus taught experientially, called His followers to participate in
Brenda Register
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. We were born to be creative. The ability to be creative, not get stuck in man's traditions and the non-thinking status-quo, links us to others in revealing the important puzzle piece we are. The book was in the Borders bargain bin for $4. It was no accident that I picked it up. Like picking up a Geode in the desert, a ...more
Erin Goettsch
This should have been one quirky makes-you-ponder blog post, not a whole book. The premise here is kiiiiind of okay, it was enough to interest me. But his church/Starbucks analogy is fleshed out so far that it becomes too irritating to find anything helpful it might offer. And it is stretched beyond where it even makes sense anymore, which is insulting to both church and Starbucks. (I like both of them. I did not like this book.)
This book proposes a revolutionary idea: that the church become more like Starbucks. According to the author, Starbucks is a success because it is EPIC (Experiential, Participatory, Image Rich, and Communal). The church, on the other hand, is doctrine-based and not relationship-based.

The example that resonated with me was the freedom that came in being allowed to take coffee and donuts into the sanctuary, even at the risk of staining the carpet. "Here was the first church I had been in where th
Sweet takes this Starbucks idea, which would have made a great sermon or short series, and stretches it into a book. In my opinion, he takes the analogy too far. At points in the book it seems like he strays from the focus of the book in order to talk more about Starbucks.

At times Sweet comes across as someone who wants you to know that he is smarter than you are. It's as if he has all of the answers to the problems of the church, if only the church would listen to him.

However, with that said, t
Elyse Hill
The underlying theme of this book was great. It present a model for creating an active, engaging environment in church. However, it did a better job of convincing me that Starbucks has a great business model than it did convincing me of a better way of doing church. As someone who loves the idea of coffee Churches I had high hopes for this book. Sadly, it was boring and presented little applicable information or action points.
Picking this up in the airport, it seemed like a really awesome book to read. And in the first chapter, Sweet convinced me it would be. But what started out as extremely thought provoking ended up being stretched a little too far for me. I thought he had some really awesome points (my favorite was the E and C of EPIC [experiential and connected:]), but otherwise, I think he takes what could be a riveting series of Bible classes or sermon series and tries to make it into something it's not quite ...more
Very interesting. I was, at first, a bit irritated by the constant references to Starbucks, a coffee shop which I find over-rated, and vastly over-priced. It seems to me to bear little relationship to the Gospel message. However, the author argues persuasively that the aims of Starbucks, and its purpose, do reflect some of what the Christian life should be, although sadly the 'modernist' church of today has veered far from the friendly, active, participatory community of the first century. But t ...more
Sweet makes the point that as a church, denomination, or even follower of Christ we have missed the mark when it comes to understanding the Gospel. Ultimately, the Gospel is not about separation but rather connection with all. This basic premise although the not new I think is one of the most misunderstood roles as a Christian. Jesus lived a life for all. We must get back to that and allow it to transform our spiritual lives with a grande passion.
A little bit outdated but did have some great messages. I felt it was a bit repetitive though. Maybe not the greatest book but a decent read.
Jeremy Rinkel
Loved the history about coffee and the information about the coffee industry. I think the church can learn a few lessons.
Great book! Sweet's stuff is always worth reading.
I couldn't bring myself to read past the first three chapters. This book is bad. The writer is clearly obsessed with Starbucks and seems to use this book as an extended advertisement for the franchise. As a religious book, it contributes nothing useful to the Christian reader. There are a few cute analogies and good-sounding quotes, but you have to skim through mountains of praise for Starbucks and random facts about coffee. Theologically questionable and the few Biblical references are poorly q ...more
Am not sure if I ever would want to even spend the time to finish up this book. The references and analogies offered by Sweet is witty and entertaining.

Might be considered a pretty decent read for someone who isn't religious.

From a religious perspective, the book lacks solid content to render a serious read. Amusing but doesn't give you enough to really wanna think any deeper or further. The comparisons get too much and frequent, the result, not really something I'd spend the time on. :p
(Christian Spiritual Living) I got this book for free back when I worked at Willow Creek. I read it this past summer after I read two Starbucks themed books the year before. This turned out being the weakest one. It took me a long time to get through; even though the research was good and the connections were there, the writing just wasn't interesting enough for me. I would recommend this book to anyone who hasn't already read a book about Starbucks and who is beginning to seek Christianity.
I remember when Len was writing this book and having a conversation about the Starbucks experience. Reading the book not only takes me back to his passion for Starbucks and good coffee, but more so to his faith and the way he finds faith experiences in all places...including Starbucks. This was definitely a fun read for me. And I do think of some of his lessons everytime I go there!
Sam Grottenberg
Great exposition on what it means to be a church that's engaging the emerging culture. Sweet is a phenomenal thinker who grasps that Starbucks has captured something the church has missed—this idea of Experiential, Participatory, Image-rich, and Connective (EPIC) culture. We the church have much to learn from this coffee kingdom if we want to effectively advance The Kingdom in today's world.
The author examines some of the reasons Starbucks has grown to become such a successful corporation--and tries to draw out some lessons for Christians seeking to spread the gospel. He makes some good points, though this may be a bit too faddish for some. And non-Starbucks drinkers may not appreciate all of the references.
Informative look into how to have a more paticipatory experience with God instead of a faith built solely on reason. If you think the Christian life is more about sitting in a pew, this book is an interesting read. A bit heavy on the metaphors, but I was startled at the parallels between Starbucks and church.
In his picturesque way, Sweet likens the Christian life with a visit to starbucks. Of course the only way to do that is to uplift starbucks and simplify the Christian life. The EPIC principles he uses for comparison are good to remember. You will discover more about coffee than you ever thought was possible.
I found this book to be intriguing as it presented a new way to look at the church and how we do ministry and outreach. I found myself taking numerous notes and highlighting ideas throughout that are practical, no-nonsense methods of reaching people with a message that isn't easily forgotten.
Josh Ball
Good read on how the church has lost some of its way. This does not mean that churches "need" more coffee or market themselves better. Sweet explains that Starbucks is successful because it is EPIC (Experiential, Participatory, Image rich, Connective) and that Christians need to return to this.
Brent Hodge
Wow, Post Modern? Not even close. Len is an Emergent dude. I am conservative and I love it. He is easy to read, to the point and very challenging. He is not trying to engage anyone. He is trying to challenge all of us. He did this well. If you are a church leader you would do well to read this.
Wes Hunter
Jul 25, 2007 Wes Hunter rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people who like crappy books
don't mess with it. its a dumb metaphor, a classic case of someone who isn't a part of post modern culture trying to engage that culture and it completely doesn't work. there are plenty of books out there that do this well, this book doesn't.
Sean Higgins
I love and live for the gospel. I like Starbucks a lot. But this book was bad, totally man-centered, encouraging emergents to create and market church "experiences" like someone would buying a cup of coffee at Starbucks. Really?
Sep 14, 2008 DeAnna marked it as to-read
This book was a topic for a sermon where we go to church just before we began going there. I've heard a few people comment about it, so I want to read it based on the interest it's generated there.
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Leonard I. Sweet is an author, preacher, scholar, and ordained United Methodist clergyman currently serving as the E. Stanley Jones Professor of Evangelism at Drew Theological School, in Madison, New Jersey; and a Visiting Distinguished Professor at George Fox University in Portland, Oregon.
More about Leonard Sweet...
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