PT. 42 – Division

Feb 23, 2023

When I worked at Starbucks as a Barista, I learned so much about the dynamics of team work.

And I helped to open the Starbucks on Graham Road on the border of Stow and Cuyahoga Falls in the Akron area of Ohio, back in 2008. We had a manager, Robin George, who was probably the most ambitious Starbucks employee I had ever met. We had a killer team of baristas who were experienced and great at customer service. At one point we were the number one Starbucks store in our area.

During peak times of busy-ness, we had positions where people worked- one person would be working the cash register at the cafe, handling customers walking in to get stuff, bussing and cleaning tables in the dining room area, and making sure fresh coffee was brewed on time. Two people would be working on the bar, with the first person reading drink orders on cups, adding needed syrups and condiments, and pulling espresso shots. The second person would be steaming the needed milk, pouring the milk, finishing off the drinks with whipped cream and toppings, then handing them off to the drive through or cafe. There would be two people working the drive thru, one would hear a “ding” on their headset, greet the customers who were driving up, take their order, punch it in the register, give the order total to the customer and ask them to pull up, send the order through where a sticker would print out for the bar to make their drinks, and then make sure other items and drinks were staged and in order for the second drive through person. That drive thru worker would greet the customers as they pulled up, take their payment, give them change if needed, banter with them while waiting for the order if the customer desired, then hand off everything out of the window when the order was ready. We also, during the busiest times, had a “floater” who would just roam around behind the line helping wherever they were needed most, and keep the cafe and back line clean and stocked.

When everyone was doing their job, we at Starbucks in Graham Road were a collective machine. We got to the point where we could work drive-thru rushes and from the time people ordered at the menu to when they received their order would be consistently between 2-3 minutes! People loved our customer service, friendliness and speed!

Then in came a barista that changed our flow. This person spent the time they should’ve been working talking trash about the manager. They moved slowly. They made numerous mistakes while taking orders. And when held accountable for the job they weren’t doing, they made excuses and blamed everyone but themselves. When this person was “working”, the whole flow that we had as a team was disrupted and destroyed. Customers weren’t happy, drinks weren’t as good, speed went down, and morale plummeted.

It really only takes one person to cause this kind of disruption in any team or community.

When it comes to the Church, some unrepentantly refuse to reflect Christ. They refuse to be humble and open to correction in areas where they’re destructive, unhelpful, immoral, and/or unwise, all the while maintaining that they’re following Christ when all their actions and results glaringly point to the fact that they’re not. Folks like this have existed in the Church community for two thousand years. It’s nothing new. In our current context they’ve been everything from attenders, to volunteers, to committed members, to staff pastors and lead pastors. We as Jesus followers need to be able to avoid becoming like them and also to be able to identify them.