Thursday, December 27, 2007

God and Starbucks Part 1

Let me start by telling you two things…I am a manager for Starbucks and I am pastor of a local church. So I have an insiders perspective on both. My last 2+ years working for Starbucks has taught me a lot that has helped shaped some of my views of the church. I want to share a few things I’ve learned about both on this journey.

LEARNING #1- Why Starbucks drinks are expensive and why that’s a good thing.

James told us that our responsibility is to take care of widows and orphans. He considered this “true religion” (James 1:27) Starbucks is doing a better job of taking care of people than many churches are. What do I mean by this? Starbucks offers affordable health care to even it’s part time employees. If you work 20 hours a week, you are allowed to have full health, dental, vision, all that. And they give you stock options, tuition reimbursements and other goodies. Starbucks is the first company in the country to do this. It really is incredible and I can’t say enough good about it. My family of 5 is fully covered and it costs me less than $300 out of pocket a month. Try to find that deal out there anywhere…(you won’t!) And here’s the strange part about the system. Starbucks just uses an HMO to manage our health care plan. The actual costs of our health care (hospital stays, exams, etc) are paid for by Starbucks corporate. Starbucks actually spends more on health care than they do on coffee beans.

Churches should think about this for a while. Historically churches have taken care of the sick, before there was medicare, social programs, HMO’s and all that. Christians used to put their faith in practice by helping the sick and poor. Now we let the government do that. And since the government doesn’t do a great job of this either, Starbucks is jumping in to help out. Now there are exceptions to this in the church world and I have been privileged to know and work in a few of those churches. But by and large, we probably not doing enough to help the widows and orphans out there, (or those without affordable health care).

Think about this the next time you drop $3.75 for a grande mocha at Starbucks. Sure there is about a 700% mark up on that drink. But that mark up paid for my baby’s bilirubin treatments when he was first born. Drink up! My family needs it!