J Walking

J Walking


10 Things Churches Could Learn from Apple

posted by David Kuo

Ok, so we are here in line waiting outside an Apple store in a mall. It occurs to me that my piece on Apple as a religion may actually be true. ;-) Apple employees are bringing people bottles of water. They are thanking people for waiting in line. So, my thoughts on the 10 things churches could learn from Apple (Note: there may not actually be 10…I am just freestyling here)
1. Be innovatve – This was actually once true of the church. The early church changed the world by being totally original – caring for widows and orphans, caring for the graves of the dead, caring for discarded babies. Churches need to be original again – not just reflecting popular culture but driving it in compelling ways.
2. Be excited – Apple is unabashedly excited about being Apple. Churches need to be more excited about being loving, caring, original, important representatives of God.
3. Excel in marketing – Jesus was the greatest marketing genius to ever live. He played to peoples’ curiosity. He answered questions with questions. He was mysterious. Apple gets this. I went into the store a few minutes ago and not one of the people have touched an iPhone yet…Apple excels at mystery.
4. Ok, I’m done with 3 for now. :-)



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Thinker

posted June 29, 2007 at 2:01 pm


Religion comes from the word religio – the binding together – what binds us together? In my church – we are bound together in sacrament, living in Trinitarian relationship, Jesus as the center and yet people get real upset over celibacy, the details of liturgy (shall we have girls as servers) and whether or not people believe women should be ordained. In my diocese literally a couple of dozen people who had served the diocese for many years were fired because they had – at one time or another questioned an all male clergy.
In my sister’s little Texas Baptist church, – a family was forced to leave when they stood up against the war and captial punishment. My neighbor quit being a practicing Muslim after being threatened by a rather pompous little Iman because his family had joined a local swimming pool. There’s something in common here – all the violence comes out of the silly and the center that is God – is lost in the silliness.
Hate the idea of marketing Jesus – prefer the concept of “living” Jesus.



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Doug

posted June 29, 2007 at 4:20 pm


May I try to help?
5) Thrive on word of mouth. Let the message be carried by disciples more than leaders.
6) Trust that people know their own needs. Let the ministered lead the ministry.
7) Remember what you’re good at and do it.
8) Resist jealousy- listen to those outside the church with genuine curiosity, as Apple does with ideas that originate outside the company.
9) Resist arrogance- embrace change. As Jesus teaches, let the dead bury their dead.
10) Come with cool accessories.



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Thinker

posted June 29, 2007 at 4:53 pm


Darn Doug, that’s great!!! I’m currently taking a graduate class in ministry and will attribute all ten to my blogging buddies – David and Doug.



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Doug

posted June 29, 2007 at 9:19 pm


Why, thank you, Thinker! You made my day.
I keep checking back to see if David got his iPhone. Pray for me, please.



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Pacific231

posted June 30, 2007 at 10:40 am


Hate the idea of marketing Jesus – prefer the concept of “living” Jesus.
Quote of the week winner right there. Well done.



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Nathan

posted July 1, 2007 at 2:12 pm


This conversation is pretty exciting conversation & a great list all around. I think the new generation of churchgoers is perhaps more interested in service and innovation than the last one… And culture change happens so fast these days that one person really can make a big kingdom difference.
5) Thrive on word of mouth. Let the message be carried by disciples more than leaders.
I agree. I think one of the best two ways to do this is are:
Exist in the middle of the marketplace—the alternative is retreat. Second, (and more importantly) living out the love of Jesus in service. This transcends just big events like 9/11 and Katrina, to include the day-by-day random acts of kindness. I think the church as an organization to could do a better job of sharing best practices and creative ideas in a more open source format.
6) Trust that people know their own needs. Let the ministered lead the ministry.
I think the idea is small groups here. I go to a 1000+ person church in DC and small groups make all the difference. Although could certainly include a lot more in the direction of church facilitated self-organizing groups.
(even though that sounds like a bit of double-speak)
7) Remember what you’re good at and do it.
Be authentic. Be real. Push for the stars. Steve Jobs comes out to do his keynotes in casual clothes.
8) Resist jealousy- listen to those outside the church with genuine curiosity, as Apple does with ideas that originate outside the company.
Listening is HUGE. Listen to successful companies, successful non-profits, and successful churches and adapt them to serve God in your context.
9) Resist arrogance- embrace change. As Jesus teaches, let the dead bury their dead.
If everything is experiment and beta then failure isn’t as much a possibility. If people criticize beforehand, “its just an experiment.” I think constantly updating iTunes and the iPod are an example of this. Seth Goodin calls this phenomena “zooming”
10) Come with cool accessories.
Cool bibles, t-shirts, arm bands, and other sweet schwag? I think that genuine relationship, community, and convesations are the killer app in both church and life. Period. I think the aforementioned are only good in so far as they facilitate those three core principles.
I would dare suggest:
11) Collaboration
12) Stay positive & Learn from your failures
Apple hasn’t been known for doing the best job here, their early partnership with Digital didn’t exactly do anywhere. However, since the failures of the Digital deal, even partnering with Intel and Microsoft has proven to be incredibly successful. In fact, their partnerships in the area of desktop publishing made them what they are today.
Peace out,
Nate



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Kat

posted July 2, 2007 at 11:15 am


“Hate the idea of marketing Jesus – prefer the concept of “living” Jesus.”
Wow! Great quote! I think we can get so caught up in the packaging, we lose sight of the substance.



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