There’s an app for…

In recent years, Apple has become the icon of simplicity for many churches.  In numerous books about church simplification, sections or even chapters are devoted to Apple and their infamous product line of sleek, simple design and focus.

However, should Apple be teaching the church about the simplicity of design, or the complexity of customization?  In reality, Apple speaks more towards the trends of customization, offering products like the ipod and iphone that allows the user to tailor their own music or software application experience.

In some ways churches are saying, “Be like the sleek and simple ipod,” but are only offering one cassette to play like yesterday’s Walkman.  They are saying, “Be easy to navigate through like the iphone,” but are offering only three standardized apps for their people to experience.

Will we continue to transition our people through three easy steps towards spiritual success, or provide them with multiple tools, programs (yes, I said the word), and mentoring options for personalized modification, while consistently tied to a communal foundation?

Should churches become more simplistic (or a better word being, “focused”)?  For many churches with nonstrategic ministries and limited resources…yes!  However, not at the expense of forgetting about the complexity of spiritual growth, the unique position of each person’s place on the spiritual path, and that freedom in adaptation is a sign of servant leadership.

Build the simple systems and strategic ministry platforms…but also seek to incorporate the complexity of customization to best honor your flock.

Further questions to wrestle with:

  • We have seen what simple systems can look like with a process from the worship service to small group to serving.  What does it then look like to incorporate the customized approach of multiple “growth apps?”
  • How do you mix the felt or tailored needs of your flock with the prescribed ministry pathways of scripture?
  • When does customization develop into accommodating consumerism?

~ by Dave Smith on May 30, 2009.

One Response to “There’s an app for…”

  1. Neat article, Dave.

    But to really make the analogy pop, you should have used Linux, not Apple 😛

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