Chicken Little & The Starbucks Sky: A Cautionary Tale For Church Leaders

There are those moments in time where the sky begins to fall on something..someplace…some idea…and the world is a little slow to notice. A moment when things have been status quo…uneventful…comfortable. It lulls us into a sleepy kind of twilight and false sense of security where we don’t really realize change is taking place…that the sky is beginning to fall…until it bumps us on the head. The most amazing part is that there is always that one person…that one "watchman"…that one Chicken Little that has been saying "the sky is falling" to no avail. He or she is the lone voice in the wilderness…dismissed…whispering warnings that fall on deaf ears. It is only later…after the sky has dropped…that Chicken Little is heard.

The sky has begun to fall for Starbucks. They haven’t seen it yet…not even really aware…but it’s starting to drop. They began with the idea of creating an "environment" for the customer…an inviting place…an experience…that would make the consumer come back again and again. It wasn’t really about the coffee or the cash flow…it was about the customer. However, in the past few years quality has taken a back seat to quantity…and the bottom line. The new Starbucks goal? Take over the world. The new Starbucks plan? Have a Starbucks on every street corner…in every mall…at every discount store that has access to running water and electricity. In the process the customer has become an after thought…the experience no longer valued…and that lulled, status quo feeling is starting to kick in for management.

The Chicken Littles of the coffee world have taken notice and have begun to declare that the sky is falling. Blog postings around the world have been popping up all over the internet describing "watered down coffee and burned pastries. The cry from the customer for free wi-fi has been ingnored for fear of offending Starbuck’s corporate bedfellows. Complaints about rude staff and shrinking environments have been met by erie silence from management wannabes. The sky is beginning to crack…a few pieces have fallen…Chicken Little is talking…but no one at Starbucks is listening…yet! By the time that Chicken Little’s roar reaches a fevered pitch…it will be too late. The damage will be done…the name will be ruined…and the customers lost will have chosen a new brand to stake their lives on. By then the Starbucks Sky will have fallen…and the only thing left to do is to write the cautionary tale for Forbes Magazine or the Wall Street Journal.

The sky has begun to fall for evangelical churches. They haven’t seen it yet…not even really aware…but it’s starting to drop. They began with the idea of creating an "environment" for shepherding people…an inviting place…an experience…that would make the person come back again and again. It wasn’t really about the style or the structure…it was about the sheep. However, in the past few years quality has taken a back seat to quantity…and "one upping" each other with attendance numbers. The new church planting goal? Launch big…whatever it takes. The new church planting plan? Copy every other church structure out there so you can have a carefully cloned video-venue satellite church on every street corner…in every mall…at every discount store that has access to running water and electricity. In the process the disconnected have become an after thought…the experience no longer valued…and that lulled, status quo feeling is starting to kick in for leadership.

The Chicken Littles of the church world have also taken notice and have begun to declare that the sky is falling. Blog postings around the world have been popping up all over the internet describing "watered down discipleship" and burned relationships. The cry for community has been ingnored for fear of disrupting the style, strategy or structure. Complaints about non-accessible staff and impersonal environments have been met by erie silence from mega-church wannabes. The sky is beginning to crack…a few pieces have fallen…Chicken Little is talking…but very few in church leadership is listening…yet! By the time that Chicken Little’s roar reaches a fevered pitch…it will be too late. The damage will be done…the inlfuence will be ruined…and the sheep lost will have chosen a new flock…outside of the church…to stake their lives on. By then the Church Sky will have fallen…and the only thing left to do is to write the cautionary tale for Rev. Magazine or the Catalyst Podcast.

Chicken Little & The Starbucks Sky: A Cautionary Tale For Church Leaders

One thought on “Chicken Little & The Starbucks Sky: A Cautionary Tale For Church Leaders

  1. I was talking with a friend a week or so ago who was asking – what’s next – after the “wal-marting” of the church? I think there is a pretty big guy in florida that is much like chicken little – im listening – watching – wondering – I just hope I move before its too late and I get bonked on the head.

    Like

Comments are closed.