Simplicity

A few weeks back, I posted a few general observations concerning the Apple Store and some of the lessons we could learn from them.  One of those lessons was simplicity.  Technology shopping can be a bit overwhelming to people who aren’t technologically savvy.  Apple has a way of putting you at ease because of the simplicity of their products.  By and large, they offer a handful of products, all with a simple name.  For instance, iPod, iPhone, iPad, iMac, and MacBook are the basic products available through Apple.  Notice that there’s no serial numbering or insider language.  Just simply named, clearly focused products that help the consumer filter through to what they want (you can read more about this here).  Once the consumer finds what he wants, the product is simple to use.  Everything is elegant and advanced, but very, very simple.

In church life, we tend to complicate things.  We overburden our churches and our message with so many “products” that sometimes people can find what they really need because of all the clutter.  Our programming, our language, and even how we do church can really distract people from what’s really important.  We need to work hard to keep the gospel (that is the hope found in Jesus – who He is and what He’s done) at the center of all that we do.  That’s the one “product” people really need.

Believability

A few days ago, I shared an overview of my experiences at the Apple Store.  After a recent visit to our local store, I began thinking about how these stores did business, and what lessons they could teach us as believers in Jesus in regard to how we do church and in regard to how we live personally.  One of these lessons is believability.

When it comes to the Apple Store, it really seems that everyone working there enthusiastically embraces their products. They really believe in them. The associates don’t spend a lot of time tearing down other products. They just promote theirs (Apple’s television commercials do the same thing). The enthusiasm of the Apple employees is a little contagious. They’re believable in their presentation because they believe their presentation.

Contrast that with many professing Christians today. We worship…we serve…we believe…sort of. We don’t want to get too crazy about any of this stuff.   We’re content to be just ho-hum about Jesus. We believe who He is and trust in what He’s done, but we just don’t think He’s all that life-changing. We’d never admit that for fear of sounding unspiritual, but that’s where we are.

Sadly, however, even though we don’t admit it with our words, our hearts and lives shout our tepid belief loudly.  Our lethargy about gathering to worship and serving Jesus says volumes. The lack of love we have for one another reveals far more than we’d ever admit out loud. Is it any wonder then that no one wants any part of the Jesus we promote?  How can they believe what we have to say about Him when our lives don’t show that we even believe it ourselves?

The Bible tells us that even though Jesus is God, He willingly gave up the glory of Heaven to become a man in order to redeem us from our sin (Philippians 2:6-8).  The forgiveness Jesus offers impacts us both now and forever.  He makes it possible for us to have a relationship with the God who created us in His image.  He is a life-changing savior.  He gives us purpose, direction, comfort, and hope.  That’s a message…a savior in which we can believe. May we believe in Jesus in such a way that our presentation of Him, in both word and deed, is believable.

What I Learned from The Apple Store

http://ts1.mm.bing.net/th?id=H.4709170893098728&pid=15.1I’m the first to admit that I’ve kind of caught the Apple bug. My son calls it “drinking the Apple juice.” It started innocently enough with an iPhone and then proceeded to the iPad and then to Apple TV. Now, I have visions of a MacBook running through my head. So, it was hardly an imposition when I had to go into the Apple store recently to replace my phone. Shortly afterwards, I had to return with my wife. It was really her first encounter with the store and she was amazed at how easy it was to take care of what she needed to do. All of this got me thinking about what the church can learn from such a place.

Clarity – When you walk in the store, you’re immediately greeted and guided to where you need to be.  There’s no wandering around aimlessly.   The associates see themselves as guides to get you from the door to the product or help you need.  How well do we do as believers helping people find what they need?

Believability – Everyone working at the Apple store enthusiastically embraces their products. They really believe in them. Thus, the associates don’t spend a lot of time tearing down other products. They just promote theirs (Apple’s television commercials do the same thing). Their enthusiasm is a little contagious. They’re believable in their presentation because they believe their presentation.  Are we believable when we share about Jesus?

Simplicity – Apple doesn’t overwhelm you with a variety of strangely named products.  They have  a handful of simply named, clearly focused products.  Not a lot of fluff or diversions.  They do a great job making the object of your search easy to find. How clear and focused is our programming when it comes to our mission?

Quality – While I know some may debate this, the thing that keeps people coming to Apple is that their stuff delivers.  It meets the need of the consumer and holds up over time.  Their products are well-designed, well-made, well-packaged, well-promoted, and well received. Do we put our best foot forward in our service and ministry?

As life changing as technology is, it is nowhere near as life changing as Jesus.  If phones, tablets, and computers can be handled in such a manner, shouldn’t our Savior? In the days ahead, we’ll look a little more closely at each of these areas and see how we can do a better job sharing someone who’s really life changing.