What I Learned About Ministry At The Starbucks Reserve Roastery 

If you want to improve the way you reach teenagers it’s important to look at successful models. However, sometimes that means going beyond the church and looking in the corporate world.

When non-coffee drinkers recommend you go to a coffee house you go. The Starbucks Reserved Roastery in downtown Seattle is unlike any place I’ve ever visited. It’s a coffee lovers dream and for those of us in ministry, you can learn a lot. What the Starbucks Reserved Roastery taught me about ministry is:


When I walked into the facility I was immediately greeted by a smiling barista wearing a leather apron. He was able to diffuse any overwhelming feelings by showing me what I needed to know and do.

There was clear signage and everyone there was in a good mood. As a visitor, I didn’t feel smothered but wasn’t ignored. My first impression was so positive I immediately thought about people I’d like to bring with me the next time I was in Seattle.

How this applies to ministry:

Not everyone who walks into your ministry for the first time is going to know what to do. How they are greeted and encountered is going to impact whether or not they come back. The question you need to answer is:

Are we ready for first timers?

While you can’t be perfect every time a few steps you can take to make sure first impressions are positive experiences is by:

  • Greeting them at the door.
  • Asking them if they have any questions.
  • Providing them with any information that will enhance their experience.

When you prepare your volunteers and staff for first timers you’ll not only help them feel welcome but give your regular members pride about the place they worship.


Every single person that I encountered at the Roastery was not only pleasant but they were passionate about coffee and Starbucks. They:

  • Invited me to sample different flavors.  
  • Helped me find the answers to my questions. 
  • Shared how working for Starbucks has positively impacted their lives.

Their passion was contagious and I wanted to learn more.

How this applies to ministry:

Passionate people are attractive.  The men and women that you invite to serve in your ministry need to:

  • Be passionate about their faith and their church.
  • Articulate how serving and being a part of your church has impacted their life.
  • Invite others into the experience.

The passion needs to be authentic. To cultivate that passion you need to share with your volunteers why your faith and serving others matters to you. Lead by example. For more on getting the right people on board check this out HERE.


While the equipment at the Roastery was amazing and reminded me of a scene in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory it was the organization and cleanliness of the facility that impressed me the most.

While I really didn’t need to spend more than 25 minutes there I could have spent the whole day just hanging out. It was a warm and engaging environment.

How this applies to ministry:

Your environments can enhance and they can ruin someone’s experience of church. If your space is messy and disorganized it communicates that you really don’t care.

To create an irresistible environment make sure your space is clean. Every piece of furniture, all your resources and materials should be strategically placed. Pay attention to lighting and temperature.

If someone is physically comfortable with their environments they’ll be less distracted. The more engaged they are in their experience the more likely they’ll commit to coming back. For more on irresistible environments check out this post HERE

If you want your church to be a place where people attend regularly and bring their friends you need to look at where that is already happening. It might not be another church and that’s okay.

People are looking for environments and experiences that will impact their life. While there is nothing better than a relationship with Jesus Christ we need to make sure we consistently looking at ways to lead people closer to Him.

Question:  What non church organization has impacted the way you operate your ministry?  You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Colleen Vermeulen

    I haven’t synthesized the implications yet, but I think the Tinkergarden start-up and Goldfish Swim Schools models have good lessons for understanding how families choose, use, and relate to time.

    • Colleen thanks for sharing I haven’t heard of those but look forward to learning more.

  • Jeff Kacala

    Have you visited a big box store lately? On a recent visit to a home store I was confronted with no free shopping carts to hold the multiple items I intended to purchase, a service desk attendant who voiced her displeasure with having to work that day, and yet another employee that derided a fellow staff member for the “misinformation” that they imparted to me. That short visit told me I was not welcome at that establishment….and reminded me that it is easy and fatal to do the same in ministry.

    • Jeff, sorry you had that experience but what a great reminder not to do the same. Customer service is key.