[Dee Andrews has published an interview with me on her blog. If you’re interested in learning about the inner-workings of Brad Palmore, check out http://www.deeandrews.net]
The comforts of flying first class from Miami to Brazil made it easier for me to get some long overdue reading done. I have a stack of about 30 books in my "to be read" pile, but occasionally I’ll come across a book that I have to move to the top of the list. This was the case with Len Sweet’s latest: The Gospel According to Starbucks.
There are a couple of reasons to move the book to the top of the list. First, I love Starbucks. It is no secret that Starbucks has successfully tapped into a method of attracting and attaching its customers that we could learn from in the church. Second, Len Sweet is one of the best academic authors about Post-Modern Christianity. We shall not hide it any longer… I am a postmodern. One of our new members paid me the ultimate complement Sunday when she said, "Wow! You are post-modern, aren’t you." Somewhere between Nooma, Blue Like Jazz, Fuel, and Flood, I just gave up and started riding the wave (a very postmodern concept, by the way).
The book is a quick read, and should be added to the reading list of everyone who wants to understand what post-moderns look for in a church setting. As a bonus, there is a 6 page history of coffee in the world. I dog-eared a couple of pages that I’ll share over the next few days, but first the basic premise of the book.
Chapter two is entitled "Life on an EPIC Scale" and sets the framework for the rest of the book and introduces the comparisons to Starbucks. Throughout the book, Sweet encourages us to live the "EPIC" life and to strive for "EPIC" churches. You guessed it, EPIC is an acronym. The four basic principles covered in the rest of the book are:
- Life is Experiential
- Life is Participatory
- Life is Image-Rich
- Life is Connective
As if by divine coincidence, our pulpit minister (now the Minister of Teaching) put on a very EPIC sermon. He used physical illustrations in the form of jars and olive oil. He had a replica lamp from the first century that he passed around the auditorium as he spoke. He asked response questions and received responses. He connected the ongoing lesson to involvement in our small groups program. It was very well done.
So, how many of you are a part of an EPIC congregation? What would be different if you moved to a more EPIC format?