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What If Steve Jobs Made Disciples?

You have probably heard the news that the legendary Apple leader, Steve Jobs, stepped down as CEO last week. In many ways, Steve Jobs was an evangelist—the religious fervor he created for Apple products was something of biblical proportions.

Of course, the eternal significance of Apple—or any tech gadget—is zilch, but what if Jobs’ unorthodox leadership style was let loose on the church? What if Steve Jobs had a Damascus Road experience? How would he make disciples?

Here are 7 leadership thoughts about making disciples through the lens of Steve Jobs. Each of these thoughts comes complete with a Steve Jobs quote.

1. Well, for starters—Jobs probably wouldn’t do it like you (or me).

He would ignore current discipleship trends, go into hiding, and pray until he came out with a revolutionary way to make more and better disciples. He would likely start from the ground up (Acts 2) and envision a new way to connect people to Christ in a language this generation understands.

Who knows what Jobs would venture to try—Facebook churches, ministry bars with Bible geniuses, missional Skype communities—I don’t know, but one thing’s for sure, it would be different.

“We’re gambling on our vision, and we would rather do that than make ‘me too’ products. Let some other companies do that. For us, it’s always the next dream.”

2. Jobs would direct his staff to do one thing—spend 100% of their time engineering new ideas for disciple making.

He would expect his staff to stay up nights, work long days (and weekends) on this one endeavor. He would be a rogue to work for, but his passion and vision would ensure staff loyalty.

“I’m convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.”

3. Jobs would serve as a high-quality ministry filter.

He would encourage creativity and new ideas among his staff, but Jobs would also serve as a tough ministry filter. He would say “No” to many more ideas than “Yes.” In other words, Jobs wouldn’t collect ineffective ministries.

“I’m as proud of the products that we have not done as the ones we have done.”

4. Jobs would indeed cast a big vision.

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For certain, he would create a new vision meant to inspire a disciple-making movement that would probably break most (if not all) the current discipleship rules and principles. Information, growth, and transformation would all be redesigned and simplified to create simple and stunning ways to connect people to Christ.

“Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me…Going to bed saying we’ve done something wonderful…that’s what matters to me.”

5. Jobs would hire the best.

He would look for smart leaders, but more than anything, he would hire those with passionate potential. If you weren’t dedicated to the big dream of making more disciples, it’s not likely you’d make it on his team.

“When I hire somebody really senior, competence is the ante. They have to be really smart. But the real issue for me is, are they going to fall in love with Apple? Because if they fall in love with Apple, everything else will take care of itself.”

6. Jobs would innovate out of a slump.

When things weren’t working out, he wouldn’t necessarily ask for more money or shrink the budget to keep the church or ministry afloat. Instead, he would use prayer (the new innovation for Jobs) to create an alternate path out of a declining ministry.

“The cure for Apple is not cost-cutting. The cure for Apple is to innovate its way out of its current predicament.”

 7. Jobs would know when to pass the torch.

“I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple’s CEO, I would be the first to let you know.”

Steve Jobs spent years making Mac disciples—working tirelessly to come up with the next revolutionary tech gadget. There’s a lot we can learn from a man with an uncompromising vision like Jobs. We don’t need to break all the rules, like Jobs, to be successful—we just need an undying commitment to the cause of Christ—but it is important to keep a fresh perspective on disciple-making.

Besides, our job to make “real” disciples carries much more weight, and the power behind it, well, is truly capable of making today’s church…revolutionary.

How do you think Jobs would make disciples?

Share something new you’re thinking or dreaming of to make more disciples in your community.

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Brian is a writer and editor from Ohio. He works with creative and innovative people to discover the top stories, resources and trends to equip and inspire the Church.