What the Church Can Learn from Apple: Enriching Lives
To some computers and technology seem cold and non-relational. One of the first questions I would ask people who were purchasing a new computer was, “What did you use your computer for in the past?” From PC users I would get answers like, “Just for email and writing documents.” I just smiled knowing that if I could help them decide on a buying a Mac, their lives would change. Some of you PC users are smirking now but honestly I saw people’s lives being changed as a result of buying a Mac. We had an older gentlemen who built a website for his bowling team. Another wrote a book on his World War II experiences all on a Mac with Pages. Computers can change people’s lives.
Apple Retail is driven by their credo which is “to enrich lives.” We used this statement to motivate team members who became discouraged and felt like they were just selling computers. Everything we did revolved around this statement of enriching lives. It helped us realize that we were part of something bigger than just selling the newest tech product. The fact that I was enriching lives kept me working in a retail job for two and half years. I loved talking to a Special Forces member about to be deployed to some exotic location and selling him a Macbook knowing that he could Skype with his family at home. I got teary eyed as I saw a father hug his son as they walked out of the store with a new Macbook Pro for college.
In a church, it is so easy to focus on a lack of tithing and shrinking budgets, while forgetting what a church is all about. What is the vision of your church? If someone sat in on your church board meeting, what would be their sense of what motivates you to keep going? Is it money, new buildings or the number of people in the pews? It is essential that a church know what their credo or vision is. How many of your church members and employees can articulate the vision? Is it memorable and simple?
I think many churches work hard to come up with a vision statement that makes them feel good and then they just put it on their letterhead. It is never infused in the life of the church. Stories aren’t told of how lives are being changed as a result of the vision and credo. Quickly the focus goes back to getting people in the pews so the bills can be paid. These are the kind of places where Jesus would have stormed into and started chucking tables and pews.
One thing we can learn from Apple is to come up with a dynamic vision of why we exist and then to infuse it into everything that is done. Tell stories of lives that are changed as a result of the vision of the church. Allow the vision of the church to come from the grassroots level instead of some outside church consultant that is paid the big bucks to tell you what to do. This will motivate your members to change the world instead of just focusing on a lack of tithing or a shrinking budget. It saddens me that a computer company can change lives better than a church can.