churches ought to be like apple…

I just bought an IPOD touch. My fiance and I figured out that we could sell a couple of electronic things that we don’t really need and have enough cash to buy IPOD touches for each of us.

Ok, so i was messing around with it one night. I was downloading apps, reading my email, checking facebook, following sports scores, tweeting, chatting on aim, listening to music, seeing which of my buddies was on xboxlive, playing games, watching my youtube channel, etc (Do you get the point that you can do everything on it?!?!?). And this realization came to my head: If I only had a phone and camera on this thing, i wouldn’t need another electronic device. I’m a big proponent of the idea that buying things won’t bring us happiness, but this product is about as close as I’ve come.

So here’s the point. I was watching the new blackberry comercial and was thinking to myself, “Wow, everyone is trying to immitate the iphone.” In fact, everyone is trying to immitate the macbook and the ipod and the iphone and the imac and OSX. People try to make their programs look like Apple programs. They try to make their mp3 players look like apple’s mp3 players. They try to make their packaging look like Apple’s packaging. Everyone is trying to be like Apple.

And churches should be the same. Not because every church should be setting the trend (that would be impossible). But what Apple is doing is rethinking the way people come into contact with technology. I can get the same internet on my Dell Inspiron 9300, but for some reason I’d rather get the internet on a macbook. I can watch the same videos, i can listen to the same songs, but i’d rather do it on an ipod. I’d rather have the cool little icons at the bottom of my desktop, but my little windows start button does the same thing.

Apple is racking their brains trying ot provide people with an entirely new experience with the same technology. And they’re always changing. Ipod’s used to have sweet click wheel, but the touches are completely different. Both technologies were innovative, and I bet Apple does something completely different in 5 years. They’ll create a whole new music listening experience.

So you can stand up and preach every sunday. Your message is, hopefully, the same message that Jesus was carrying around 2000 years ago, but hopefully you really wrestle with how you can help people come into contact with that message.

Churches have always had “greeters” in one form or another. Some places they merely hand you a bulletin and other places they have an army of greeters, strategically placed throughout their building. They’ll stop you, shake your hand, ask you how your day is and offer some assistance. They won’t hand you anything and you’ll probably forget that they are greeters.

So Christians, sit down for an hour today. Or 4 hours. Or spend a weekend. Rack your brain. Pray. Ask other people. Figure out some new ways to engage today’s world with the same message Jesus was engaging his world.

And then realize that in 4 years. or 3. or 2. or 1. you’ll have to do the exact same thing, only in a brand new way…


5 responses to this post.

  1. Adam, Great Post.

    One essential element is making sure that the function is the same. Although Apple has changed the iPod over the years its purpose is still the same, to provide a portable music library.

    What I usually see is Christians/Churches either in stagnation because they are not trying to innovate and be in the world. Or, Christians who are innovating just because it seems cool, but they are drifting away from the purpose of the Church.

    Another thought, has iPod’s innovation been wholly positive? Do we need several generations of the iPod? Is their innovation customer driven or profit driven? Has the iPod actually lessened an appreciation and understanding for music? – Transpose those questions to Christianity and I think it beings up some pertinent issues.


  2. @blackwasp19

    good points. everything we do carries a message. we ought not try to “sell” the gospel by doing things that run counter to the “gospel.” ie. we don’t hold a sword to the head of non-christians and force them to “accept christ.”

    so yeah, the point isn’t to make a profit or even to be innovative, but the point is to get out of our “normal” way of thinking…

    great thought though: “has the ipod’s innovations been wholly positive?”



  3. I agree that apple has done some amazing things in terms of marketing. Its seems that they have changed peoples hearts and thinking before they even get to the store to buy a new mac book, or ipod. If we only try to innovate what happens inside the doors of churches we will loose the battle. Most people buy a mac product because they have heard great things about it from a friend or someone who has a mac…not by walking into a store for the first time and seeing the mac display. hmmm…Maybe its our job to build relationships with people. Love them and through that they will be ready to receive the gospel even before they walk through the arms of greeters. In a way we are the packaging that contains the greatest truth in the universe. Oh and I love Adam Lehman!


  4. i want an ipod touch


  5. I think what’s also interesting is Apple doesn’t really invent that much stuff. They just take what’s been there, and make it 10x better. The church doesn’t need to invent stuff, they just need to do things better than they’ve been done in the past.

    And along the similar vein, Apple stuff just works. No frills or bells and whistles and extraneous material, just the basics. But it works, and it works well. I think a lot of the time the church gets so involved with programming and numbers and budgets that we forget what God wants of us, to love him and to love others.

    Great post Adam, and Happy New Years!


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