“Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another–
and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:25
WHERE HAVE ALL THE STARBUCKS* GONE?
I never knew how much Starbucks had influenced my life, until I wasn’t around them any more. Oh, that luscious aroma… those warm maroon and beige walls… the soothing music. It does not hurt that my house is less than a mile away from our nearest location, and yes… we know our barista by name- his name is Josh.
I always had thought that I was just an occasional brewtotaller, able to live without my morning drip. However, when we traveled to Atlanta, Georgia you can imagine my surprise when there were NO Starbucks in sight! Amazed at this non-Starbucks phenomenon, I called my husband and half jokingly said… “Um, where are all the Starbucks in Atlanta?” He reported to me (after doing a google search) “Hey babe, yeah there’s five in Georgia.” WHA?! The entire state!
As you can see, there are quite a few brew houses in the San Jose, Ca area…
WHERE HAVE ALL THE CHURCHES GONE?
Astonished by the significant lack of Starbucks (didn’t see one my entire trip), I did however notice that in Atlanta churches were EVERYWHERE! More frequently spotted than 7-11, in Atlanta there are row after row of churches! Methodist, Baptist, all types of churches! I would venture to say that if you didn’t like your Pastor’s Sunday message, you could just go next door and finish the service from someone else. It was amazing!
It was during this time in Atlanta, as I was noticing no Starbucks = all churches, that I recognized that in California we have no churches = Starbucks. Hmm… have we in California, and as a society, replaced churches with coffee houses such as Starbucks? I am beginning to think so!
DO WE HAVE TO GATHER IN A CHURCH?
So the question I am asking today is… do we have to assemble in a “church”? After all, we are the church. We must assemble, more and more, but if we desire to sip on a slow brewed cup-of-joe as we contemplate the goodness of God… is this wrong?
Friday at one of our nearest Starbucks answered my question. After dropping my husband off at work, I went to the closest Starbucks Coffee house, and as I walked up to the door I saw two men deeply studying their laptop on which read “The Illustrated Sermon”. I walked inside and the place was packed! In addition to the two youths out front studying, there was another group face down in “Spirit-led Christian” literature, and even our barista was wearing a cross around his neck. It felt as if I had walked off the street and into church! Hallelujah!
CHURCH HASN’T GONE AWAY, WE JUST “CHURCH IT” MORE OFTEN!
In case you haven’t noticed, the next generation Christian isn’t the same as before. In these last days, we are seeing more and more boldness of faith and desire for the “Spirit-natural”. Christians are fed up with being “quiet” and as Body we are stepping out and turning out in record numbers. The church we belong to, for example, has 25,000 local members and at least 13 satellite locations! We too host a web-recast church service in our home on Thursday nights- no building required! Just assembly!
It isn’t that we have stopped going to churches- it is that we have started “churching it” more often! Praise God! We as 21rst Century Chrisitans listen to messages via iPod and iPad, we watch sermons on our DVR’s, we attend LIVE web-streaming broadcasts, we know how to watch archive messages, we listen to MP3’s of our favorite sermons! It is a smorgasbord of Word knowledge ready for the whole life experience! There is no excuse anymore for not being in the Word and as we embrace this innovative technology, we as ministers of the Gospel need to lose any preconceived notion of “How it should be”.
Bake sales have been traded for coffee bars, pot lucks have gone ‘lo-cal’, nurseries come complete with security check-out systems and most modern-day churches have replaced the iconic cross symbol with the knowledge that you look to Jesus and He lives INSIDE you.
CHURCH IS OUR SAFE HAVEN
Going to church is pivotal to a Christian’s walk, as it is a safe haven. Submitting yourself to a Pastor and his leadership is not only required, it keeps us accountable. Churches are locations were we as the workers of the Word can go and visit, commune, worship, fellowship and meet other believers. This aspect of Christianity has never changed. However, as scripture tells us, in these last days we must “not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another– and all the more as you see the Day approaching”… and I am here today to encourage my brothers and sisters to get on board and relax in knowing that it is ok if some of this gathering is done in a leather recliner, sipping on a non-fat skinny vanilla latte.
May God bless you friends in ALL your gathering,
*I cannot write this article without addressing the fact that there is an association of Christian’s who believe that companies like Starbucks support Non-Christian organizations and agendas. This article is not intended to promote any coffee house in specific, this coffee goer however, prefers to write from experience- and I have chosen to experience Starbucks… a lot. My suggestion (as always) is to do your research, and pray and obey for God’s direction in WHERE you should spend God’s money He has given you.
If you are in need of prayer, you can always reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We agree with you the the Lord has His will, purpose and plan for your life! If you have never completely surrendered or asked Jesus to be your Lord and savior, invite Him in today- you will never be the same! “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” 2 Cor 5:17
CONGRATULATIONS JESSICA! Jessica Heilman the winner of the Taffi Dollar 2011 RADI Award for her video entry in representation of living a radical and redefined life in Christ. You can learn more about this award and watch her WINNING video HERE.
You can keep in touch with Jessica and Wholehearted Minisrties at wholeheartedministries.com, on twitter, via facebook, through email subscription to articles, and directly through email at email@example.com. Thank you for your support!