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Steve Jobs A Model For Preachers?

That headline pains me. I’m not convinced by the Apple fanboys. But … no-one can deny the effectiveness of Steve Jobs as a communicator. There is now a book out entitled ‘The Presentation Secrets Of Steve Jobs: How To Be Insanely Great In Front Of Any Audience‘. Now while the subtitle itself gives away some reservations I might have as a Christian – the purpose of a preacher is not to be great but to show the greatness of Christ – I read this article and thought that some of the key points might be worthwhile thinking for preachers. The author of the book, Carmine Gallo, lists five elements that are present every time Steve Jobs speaks in public. They are:

1. A headline – a short slogan present throughout the talk and the publicity.

2. A villain – from IBM in 1984 to Microsoft today, Apple sets itself up as a good guy in opposition to ‘evil’.

3. A simple slide – not wordy bullet points but a slide mixing minimal text with strong images.

4. A demo – he shows the new product working, and he has fun with it.

5. A ‘holy smokes moment’ – something incredibly memorable.

Do read the article and come back here to tell me what you think about the strengths and weaknesses of these ideas from the perspective of Christian communication.

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About Dave Faulkner

I'm a British Methodist minister, married with two children. I blog from a moderate evangelical-missional-charismatic perspective, with an interest in the 'missional' approach. My interests include Web 2.0, digital photography, contemporary music and watching football (Tottenham Hotspur) and cricket.

Posted on November 4, 2009, in ministry, Sermons, Web/Tech and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. I enjoyed reading the article, and I’m a closet Apple fan because at the moment, they are the underdog (although my loyalties with Linux are making clear that I think the penguin is the underdog). Anyway, yes, he puts on great presentations, but I’m more and more convinced that preachers should take more of a backseat status and facilitate more than lead (would the church body allow it though?). At any rate, this is the thing that Christ should be doing for us, but the fact is that a bloody body on a cross isn’t as exciting as a fruit on a keyboard with a bite taken from it.

    Now I’m just waxing poetic. Sorry!

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  2. Dave, there is no doubt in anyone’s mind that Steve has mastered the art of captivating an audience. I do think that his presentation steps have the desired effect, and may have the same effect for a minister, also.

    I’ve never been a minister, never felt called to preach/teach, so I’m limited in my authority to respond to this. But I will say this…..I think that if a minister puts too much emphasis on having the best and most effective delivery method they can come up with, they would risk trying to convey the message simply on their own strength, rather than that of the Holy Spirit. God’s Word will not return to Him empty. Even a faltering sermon will have the Spirit’s power within it, when the speaker has asked the Father’s will to be done through it.

    Just my humble two cents…….

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    • Yes, Owen, it can’t all be down to technique and ultimately it all depends on the work of the Holy Spirit. I guess I’m thinking of the distinction often made between gift and craft. You can receive a gift from God but you need to hone the craft. So I suppose I’m asking whether any of Jobs’ approaches would help with the craft side of the equation.

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