The Perfect Shot

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On February 2008, at exactly 5:30 p.m., Starbucks closed all its 7,100 US stores. The reason? To “retrain their 135,000 baristas to pour the perfect shot of espresso.” (Howard Schultz, “Onward: How Starbucks Fought for Its Life without Losing Its Soul.” Emphasis added.)
The sign posted on the locked doors of Starbucks all over the US of A explaining why they closed that afternoon. Image credit

Headlines about the closure screamed such as “A World Without Starbucks?” Competitors gloated about it, predicting that the move brought the brand down. To top it all, Starbucks lost approximately US$6 million. But for its CEO/Founder, it was one of their best investments. It was a strategic move, not a stupid one. Schultz explained why they took the risk: “Pouring espresso is an art, one that requires the barista to care about the quality of the beverage. If the barista only goes through the motions, if he or she does not care and produce an inferior espresso that is too weak or too bitter, then Starbucks has lost the essence of what we set out to do 40 years ago: inspire the human spirit. …  Starbucks has always been about so much more than coffee. But without great coffee, we have no reason to exist.” (Ibid, emphasis added.)


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Without the Great Commission, we have no reason to exist. When our Lord Jesus launched the Church 2,000 years ago, He spelled out the essence of our mission: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:19-20a, ESV) 


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Thus, we are to be concerned about the quality of Christ followers that we make. If a mere coffee shop could put so much effort into pouring the perfect cup, so much more we the church should really work so “that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.” (Colossians 1:28b, NKJV) (The word “perfect” in that verse means “mature,” not “without fault, error or sin.”) 


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In his classic “The Master Plan of Evangelism,” Robert E. Coleman wrote, “Here is where we must begin just like Jesus. … We must decide where we want our ministry to count—in the momentary applause of popular recognition or in the reproduction of our lives in a few chosen people who will carry on our work after we have gone.” It’s now up to us whether to go and make disciples or just go through the motions.

Brethren, let us make disciples.

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