A good cup of coffee is one of my daily indulgences. Brewed at home or grabbing a cup at the drive-through, it’s a given that this caffeinated beverage is part of the start to my day. But every year, just after Labor Day, it’s guaranteed that a local Starbucks will gain my business almost daily for the next several months. Why? It’s those three words that make my taste buds sing—Pumpkin Spice Latte. For me—and thousands of other coffee lovers—the drink immediately makes it feel like Fall; cooler weather, falling leaves, football, and holiday celebrations that are just around the corner. It’s not just about how great a Pumpkin Spice Latte tastes—it’s also about the feelings and events that coincide with the drink’s limited season availability. Ask any Starbucks barista and they will tell you that it’s one of their most popular drinks—even though it’s only seasonal.
The Pumpkin Spice Latte is sticky—it’s a product that with a few shots of flavoring, makes Starbucks irresistible this time of year. In chapter three of the book, The Tipping Point, the Stickiness Factor is revealed and explored. Author Malcolm Gladwell specifically looks at two preschool television shows, “Sesame Street” and “Blues Clues,” to demonstrate what makes a product naturally infectious, memorable, and successful. Gladwell points out that it’s often the simple way something that’s packaged, under the right circumstances, that makes it irresistible to customers. So what does this business concept mean in terms of ministry? How can we assure that what we offer is “sticky” to children, students, and families?
Here are several ways we can create ministries that are irresistible:
- Uniqueness—What sets your ministry apart from the many choices that kids and families have today? What do you offer that is different from anything else that competes for their time?
- Excellence—Are you providing opportunities and programs that are done with quality and excellence? Do people feel like they are a priority in your ministry?
- Engaging—Do kids, students, and families feel like their part of something important? Are people building relationships with leaders, each other, and with God?
- Value—Is your ministry something that families believe is adding value to their kids’ lives, to their families, and their relationships? Do they feel valued by your ministry and your leaders?
- Functional—Are your helping people meet their own goals of personal faith growth? Are you providing families with tools to help them grow in their faith together? Are you providing opportunities for kids and students to live out their faith in service to others?
- Influential—Are you making a difference in the lives of kids, students, and families? And then are these people, in turn, making a difference in your communities and in the world?
Through the research studies shown in chapter three, specifically those relating to children’s television programming, we can glean ideas and wisdom on how the church and our ministries can be “sticky” to the kids, students, and families we serve each week.