The Coffee Grounds Can at Starbucks

I frequent a couple of Starbucks Coffee places and there is a bronze bucket next to the “condiments bar” that the baristas put bags of coffee grounds into for the guests to take home for their garden. The sign associated with this bucket says, “Grounds For Your Garden.”

One of the problems that the staff at Starbucks face with this bucket is that customers often mistake it for a trash can. In my 1 hour stay at Starbucks this morning, at least 5 customers dumped their trash into it with items ranging from banana peels to empty sugar packets. The trash will normally “marinate” in there for a day and then one of the staffers “gets” to empty it out.

I’m sure that the barista who draws the shortest straw loathes this duty. But, let’s give the customers a break, it looks like a trash can and the trash can that Starbucks has available is under a small whole cut in the “condiments bar”, which is hard to locate. If Starbucks would like for people to not use the Grounds can as a Trash can perhaps a different location and container is needed. No amount of passive aggressive suggestions or wishful thinking will help the situation. Starbucks needs to rearrange the furniture for any hope for change.

This menial situation helped me think about ways to be a better pastor… Yeah, really.

For instance, our sanctuary space is shaped like a concert hall or a lecture hall. Imagine if I screamed from the pulpit that Sunday morning service is not a concert or a lecture, all-along keeping our space situated to be just that. Our space proves our theology, as well. We need to rearrange the furniture to create a different expectation.

Or imagine a person who is finally trying to have a friendship/marriage/dating relationship not be about self-serving ends, but nearly every value that they hold props up self-serving practices. There is no other way for people to act within that system but to get whatever they can for themselves and then to move on when the supply has dried up. We need to rearrange the furniture to create a different expectation.

Or if we do not want our churches to be seen as judgmental and harsh, but we continue to give our people reasons to be judgmental and harsh. It doesn’t matter what we might dream for our people to do in that system, the people interacting with that system will sit in the seats as they are arranged. We need to rearrange the furniture to create a different expectation.

So, perhaps pastoring is a lot like interior design, creating a space for people to commune with God. G.K. Chesterton once said, “The more I considered Christianity, the more I found that while it has established a rule and order, the chief aim of that order was to give room for good things to run wild.”

Above all, may good things run wild among us.


Published by joeskillen

I'm a husband, dad of 2, Pastor at Eastminster Presbyterian Church in Wichita, KS.

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