Taste and See that the Lord is Good

Some 900 North American Presbyterians were urged to become a part of the future by taking hold of the “electronic revolution,” during the annual conference of the Association of Presbyterian Church Educators (APCE) at the Presbyterian Church (USA)’s headquarters in Louisville, KY.

According to the Presbyterian News Service, a “Methodist futurist” named Leonard Sweet lauded the educators to continue the legacy of Presbyterian reform by leading the “current worldwide digital transformation”

“Those who master the current media form to the greatest degree have the most trouble moving on to the next form,” he said. “Presbyterians have so mastered the book culture they seem now to be the most challenged by the electronic revolution.”

This electronic revolution, which is “changing forever the ways we learn and know” has four parts, according to Sweet: experiential, participatory, image-rich and connectional – “EPIC”.

Sweet took the example of “Starbucks” as the epitome of a brand that successfully took to this EPIC revolution.

“Why are we willing to spend $3 for a cup of coffee that we would only spend 50¢ for 20 years ago?” he asked the educators. “It’s because they’re not selling you a cup of coffee, they’re selling you the experience of coffee. As Americans have become more isolated from each other, Starbucks has willingly become the country’s “front porch” — a place where people feel they belong and can “just hang out.”

“You see,” he continued, “the culture has no problem believing in things. It just believes in the wrong things and is desperately hungry for an experience of the transcendent. The Bible doesn’t say, ‘Intellectually comprehend that the Lord is good.’ It says, ‘Taste and see that the Lord is good.’ Starbucks understands that concept. The church has forgotten it.”

Sweet also explained that images, not words, were the medium for connection in the current day.

“Every Starbucks cup looks the same, all the stores have the same look and feel — they don’t need to tell you anything with words. Same with Nike — you see the swoosh and that’s all you need to know,” he said, according to PNS.

At that light, Sweet said each church needs to adopt a logo so as to make an image statement of their own.

“Every church should have an image statement. There is no “logos” without the logo.”

And like Starbucks, Sweet said the church must go back into the connection business.
“When the church fails to provide that connection, the culture will surely find ways to do it instead of us. … Just look at Dr. Phil and Oprah,” he said.

Furthermore, he said churches need to give the right connection to the people.

“Ask your young people whether they find more meaningful connection in their Internet chat rooms on Saturday night or in the pews of your church on Sunday morning,” said Sweet. “God didn’t send us a principle, God sent us a person. God didn’t send us rules, God sent us a redeemer. And God didn’t send us a statement, but a savior who invites us all into a relationship and an experience of God.”