What the Church can Learn from Apple [3of4]

Yesterday, Mac fanboys/girls across the globe stared at their twitters, facebooks, engadgets and newsfeeds waiting in breathless expectation for Apple to unveil their newest gizmo.  I will admit to being pumped as well waiting for the unveiling.

Apple, of course, produces electronic equipment (computers, iPhone, iPods, accessories, software, and now the iPad); the church couldn't be further removed from its business model!!

However, Apple also produces something else: anticipation. This week as the unveiling took place, every Mac-lover waited with baited breath on the "new" thing that Apple will release to the consumeristic masses.

Me? Not a Mac-head, no iPhone, not even an iPod. But still I got excited and read the news for the new wonder.

A while back, The Daily Saint had a post up on how to build anticipation. His site is gone now but it still exists in my feed reader (foreeeeeeever muhahaha), so here's his bullet points verbatim:
  1. Promise results...and deliver.  Stick to a plan and deliver the goods.  A deadline.  A report.  A presentation, whatever.
  2. Be a person of your word.  If you lay out a gameplan, stay with it even when times get tough. 
  3. Be a person who is passionate about follow up.  Write notes.  Make calls.  Pay attention to details.
  4. Cross your t's. Little things matter a great deal.  During your weekly review, double check the details.
  5. Organize weekly.  Don't just show up on Monday, bring your A-game as a result of planning for the week.
  6. Conceive powerful ideas.  Go public with your notions of change.
  7. Listen to those who've been there before.  There are folks in your workplace and in your industry who know things- tap into their insights.
For the church, I would submit the following ideas about building anticipation for your church's events.
  1. Do what you promise to do.
    • Apple promises something big, they deliver an iPhone. They promise it will rock the planet, and it does. While we accuse Steve Jobs of really overhyping and creating the reality distortion field, for the most part, Apple does deliver.
    • For the Church, don't pull the rug out from people. Especially in service project areas, we tend to scale it back after we see who has shown up. If you promise that you'll repaint a barn, repaint the whole thing, no matter how few of volunteers show up. Do it anyway.
  2. Integrate and connect areas of ministry.
    • Discipleship is not static, nor should our ministry areas be.  By creating a flow of people from one discipleship area to the next, you may find that (1) fiefdoms of ministry areas don't occur and (b) people are more well-rounded and think more holistically of the church's ministries.
    • This creates anticipation in that people can look forward to changing ministry positions every so often and engaging a new challenge.
  3.  Innovate and simplify ministry goals and celebration-points
    • One of the criticisms of Apple and Steve Jobs is celebrating tiny advancements as "breakthroughs" and updates of products as "overhauls."  While exaggeration isn't becoming, celebrating the little changes and advancements in ministry certainly engages and affirms people. Like wikipedia, small incremental changes result in big things, so celebrating them is essential!
Discuss: Thoughts on how the church can better utilize anticipation in the context of ministry?

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