LeadingSmart

Practical Stuff for Church Leaders

Should the Church Have More in Common with Apple?

I have friends who are Apple evangelists. For them, stock in Apple is like gold, an iPhone is akin to a magic wand, and Steve Jobs is the messiah. I'd like to think I'm more balanced. I carry an iPhone, but use a Dell laptop. I like the Mac operating system--but actually prefer using Windows 7.

Regardless of whether you are on Team Apple or not, from a business model Apple can't help but garner your respect. I thoroughly enjoyed Apple Nation, a recent article in Fast Company magazine. Some interesting quotes...

Apple's engineers spend 100% of their time making projects planned by a small club of senior managers--and sometimes entirely by Jobs himself. The CEO appoints himself the de facto product manager for every important release.

Apple sets its own agenda and tunes out the tech wags--competitors, industry observers, analysts, bloggers, and journalists who constantly spew torrents of advice, huzzahs, and brickbats in its direction. Behind its doors, Apple can ignore us all.

Steve Jobs primary role at Apple is to turn things down.  Every day, the CEO is presented with ideas for new products and new features within existing ones. The default answer is no. Every engineer who has gone over a product with him has a story about how quickly Jobs reaches for the DELETE key. "I'm as proud of the products that we have not done as the ones we have done," Jobs told an interviewer in 2004.

So much of this makes sense for a for-profit company, and is the reason for Apple's success. But I have some questions about how it might translate in the church world...

  • If the senior pastor at your church was the primary creative director and had veto power for everything--is that a church you would enjoy attending? Would you want to work on a staff for that pastor?
  • I wonder if members/attendees at many churches think similar thoughts-- "Behind its doors, the staff/elders of this church ignore us all." In the church world--is that good? Or is that a weakness?
  • At Apple, the "default answer is no." Would churches run better if they said "no" to more opportunities? Do we tend to get so broad that we lose impact?

Your turn--what do you think?