I was a Mac addict for as long as I can remember. When I attended college they would not support the simple, elegant and (far superior) platform, so for a time I used a PC. I wanted a Mac. Here are some ministry lessons from my love of all things Mac:
Form follows function, but it follows
Aesthetics mean something. While function is essential and a primary mover in what we do or develop, the form does not lose significance. In fact, sometimes the form is equal to the function. The form allows one to focus on the task at hand. God designed life with beauty of form, not just solidarity of function. Aesthetics matter. God is the originator of art and function and art can be one.
Simplicity and usability
The thing I love about Apple is they understand complexity and work hard to not pass that on to the end user. The minimalist philosophy of Apple develops into something that is usable. Less is often more. Apple does not shy away from complexity, but it understands where complexity should be and where simplicity should be. In ministry we often over complicate things such as the Gospel, a relationship with God, and worship. Less really does mean accomplishing more.
Build it well so it runs well
Mac’s do have a steeper price tag. The flip side is they are also built well. When asked why Apple doesn’t have an inexpensive entry level computer Steve Jobs quipped: “We don’t know how to build a cheap computer.” (At points a MacBook ran Windows faster than PC laptops.) Yes, there are Macs that have technical issues, they’re machines. Excellence is important. Sometimes in the ministry rush we stick on a temporary solution that really becomes permanent. Taking time to build a solid ministry with excellence is counterintuitive. Build well to create well. Be aware of the proverb: buy cheap, pay twice.
You act based on what you believe
The Mac platform took a change from a “best in technical specifications” approach to a “usability” approach. You can have the fastest machine in the world but if you can’t use it well, what good is it? Apple called the Mac strategy the “digital hub.” Apple endured a few years of criticism over this approach as their machines were technically slower. Their strategy still holds, and speed is now a non-issue for the platform. Heavy criticism doesn’t always mean you’re wrong when you stick to your theology. Just be wary of arrogance and not continuing to develop your theology.
Think steps not programs
Each step Apple took with their platform lead into the next step. Each step built the infrastructure needed to move to the next step. Apple innovated more than created, as there were digital music players, smart phones and tablet PC’s prior to Apples (brilliant) incarnations. The success isn’t just due to Apple’s form and usability. There was an ecosystem (infrastructure) to support each new development. In ministry focus on building a church vs a mosaic of programs. It may be a slower process of growth and development, but it will be sustainable and grow well in the long run,
The bottom line
Buy a Mac. People looked down on the strategy over a decade ago. Over a decade ago people would say that Mac would never go beyond 4 or 5% market share. Dell even essentially said Apple should just close up shop. Apple took its time revolutionizing the “computer” industry. In ministry perhaps we should slow down and be more theological and methodical in our approach. The urgency of the Gospel does not mean we have to rush in building churches. After all, ministry is a marathon, not a sprint.