Steve Jobs & Youth Ministry

Okay okay. Much has been written and reflected on this biography about Steve Jobs.

I’ve been plowing through this much-too-long, but incredibly enjoyable biography about the founder and icon of Apple, and have some re-occuring thoughts.

1. Some off-kilter ways of doing things. Steve Jobs clearly had some sort of undiagnosed emotional/mental “disorder” (I’m not sure “disorder” is the correct word, because I’m not a doctor nor do I think it impeded his success; in fact, it definitely contributed to his success. But just read this book. You’ll see what I mean). Whatever the case, I keep asking myself: Do HUGELY successful, driven people need to operate in some other-worldly emotional/mental state? The way he pushed people; the way he obsessed over details; the way he focused so intently on a vision to accomplish something specific – I just wonder if these kind of people are successful because of this ‘off-kilter’ approach to life.

2. The obsession over details. Too often in the youth ministry and church world, we want to polarize the spiritual and the secular. We don’t care about typo’s or the way the lights hit the platform/stage/pulpit because God doesn’t care about those things, we rationalize. Or we say: God is bigger than those stupid details.

That’s true. God is bigger than those and does in fact work through our lack of excellence (Just ask Christians in South America or China). BUT, that doesn’t mean we can simply take the resources we’ve been given and put a half-effort out with those. The longer I’m in youth ministry, the more I realize how important the tiniest of details are. If I begin to let those slip, when does it stop? Steve Jobs probably had an unhealthy obsession over details, but one of things I gleaned from this book is to pay MORE attention to the small things.

3. Less is More. Simplicity. Less. That’s the beauty of the Apple brand. So often, we want to impress people with more scripture, more points, more programs, more, more, more. Less is more is an unwritten value of Eagle Brook, the church I’m currently at, but sometimes I slip into the More is More realm. This book served as a reminder that less is more, and simplicity is the way forward. If a student can’t come into our youth ministry and in one minute know exactly where she is, where to go, what is going on, and what we offer, then we’re doing too much.

4. Environments matter. We’ve always preached creating attractive environments for our Jr. High ministry campuses, but this book re-affirmed how important environments are. When Jobs began opening Apple stores, he spent six months designing the perfect environment. I firmly believe that environments express a culture and values of a youth ministry. If we aren’t willing to create environments attractive to Jr. High students, then we are letting other things get in the way of the Gospel than the Gospel itself. Steve Jobs knew that you can have incredible products, but without great environments to attract people to the products, then your products will go unnoticed.

5. Passion. Steve Jobs LOVED technology and computers. I mean, passion seeped out of his pores. He believed Apple could change the world. I had to ask myself: Does Steve Jobs have more passion for computers than I have for Jesus, the Church, and youth ministry?

In the end, Jobs lived a life I don’t want to live, but that doesn’t mean there were things he did others like us shouldn’t emulate.

 

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