Subway in the House of God

September 27, 2004 by

Speaking of business ventures as church advertising, how about opening a Subway in the house of God?

Seems a bit more commercial than many of us prefer, though it also sounds just like the stories you hear of a church opening a Starbucks in the foyer (is that just urban legend, or has it actually happened?).

Can the church piggyback on other businesses to draw in “customers”? Is that effective brand synergy, or is it just diluting God?

What’s better: A perfectly blended triple-shot espresso from a corporate behemoth, or a bland cup of black joe from Mrs. Gunderson who has made the church’s coffee for thirty years? Not being a coffee junky, I’m apt to side with Mrs. Gunderson, but I don’t know if there’s a right answer. I think it might come down to what fits a particular church better. Are you a home-grown, do-it-yourself bunch, or a no-nonsense, let’s get to work crowd with impeccable taste?

Either option says a lot about your church. The important thing is to ask the question.

As a side note, it’d be interesting to plot the marketing impact of food for the church, from coffee hours to potlucks (someone has already compared the liturgy to Starbucks).

Post By:

Kevin D. Hendricks

When Kevin isn't busy as the editor of Church Marketing Sucks, he runs his own writing and editing company, Monkey Outta Nowhere. Kevin has been blogging since 1998, runs the hyperlocal site West St. Paul Reader, and has published several books, including 137 Books in One Year: How to Fall in Love With Reading, The Stephanies and all of our church communication books.
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7 Responses to “Subway in the House of God”

  • djchuang
    September 27, 2004

    A megachurch in Tacoma Washington has a Starbucks on site, according to
    and McLean Bible Church in Northern Virginia (local to me) does have a cafe serving Starbucks coffee, as well as other megachurches like Champion Centre . These are probably not official corporate-owned Starbucks franchises, but they do serve Starbucks coffee and display the familiar logo and brand. :)

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  • Sock
    March 14, 2005

    There is a church in Dayton, Ohio that has an actual Starbucks in its lobby. And, as far as I know, it is only the Starbucks in the north of the city.

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  • Billy Barton
    April 20, 2005

    Starbucks in a church is not an urban legend. I don’t remember the name of the church but I visited it once and the Starbucks was in the lobby. The church is located in College Station Texas, the home of SMU. I thought if a little odd but why not? Keep the money in the family.
    Billy Barton

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  • Nate
    June 5, 2006

    If you want to be more credible, get your facts straight. SMU is in Dallas, College Station has Texas A&M.

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  • Sue Kahawaii
    June 21, 2006

    The purpose of having a coffee shoppe in the church is to simply provide one more place and venue where people can connect with each other before or after services. It has nothing to do with deep spiritual truths or meaning, its just a service we provide to those who attend…and by the way, they love it. It’s always busy, always full, and always has people smiling. I am the children’s pastor at the Champions Centre church, and we must be doing something right because we continue to grow and reach thousands each week. No one here has a problem with us serving Starbucks. Why not serve the best?

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  • Ross
    July 19, 2006

    Has anyone actually thought about the fact that those huge Starbucks logos being displayed feature a pre-christian myth figure commonly known as a “Siren” or by Martin Luther as “Succubus”. Both of these terms make reference to a demon that takes the shape of a women to seduce men into sexual acts. In my own humble opinion I do not want a mythological pagan figure on display within my place of worship. I highly encourage everyone to do their own research and will even provide some helpful links.

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  • methuselah
    September 4, 2006

    you’re probably right, but I just think it might be more consistent, as long as we’re serving addictive substances that are purchased for below poverty-level wages from disenfranchised south americans (while disallowing them from using their own land to grow food for themselves as enforced by international trade agreements) if we just took all that “love thy neighbor” and “whatever you do to the least of my people” stuff out of the bible. I mean, just in the name of consistency.

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