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DMin, Leadership and Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

People Look For Answers Where They Wont Be Judged…

Written by: on November 29, 2018

What does The Four have to do with ministry? Well, if as a pastor, you live and work with people whose lives are affected by these companies, then a whole lot. Scott Galloway outlines just how much influence, these four have not only in our lives but in the world economy as well. As I was reading the outlines of each of the four and how they have changed how we do life, business, even religion I was struck by how much my young adult life was also shaped by these companies. I started working in the computer business when I was 22 years old. I worked for a company that provided PC’s, servers, and engineers to Fortune 250 customers. My first year there we, as a company, topped 1 Billion in sales for the first time. I remember in my training how Apple products were considered only good for Newspaper corporations, universities, and those in the creative industries. They were a very small part of what we sold. Our biggest sales came from Windows based PCs, IBM, HP, Compaq, and Acer were the big movers. In fact, I remember there was talk of Apple possibly folding its tent and no longer being a viable company. These memories came back in a rush when I read “Perhaps the most famous ‘theft’ in tech history is at the root of Apple, when Steve Jobs turned Xerox’s unfulfilled vision of a mouse-driven, graphical desktop into the industry-changing Macintosh.” [1] An interesting side note to this, I actually went through Apple training and had the trainer tell this story outright, of course, what is not in the book was that not only did Steve Jobs steal this tech, so did Bill Gates, Jobs just got it to work quicker. The trainer actually tried to convince us that because Macintosh did it first that Gates was subject to copyright law infringement. Which goes right along with Galloway’s discussion of the Cons that these companies run. “The first is taking–which often means stealing IP from other companies and repurposing it for profit, only to viciously protect IP once they’ve amassed a lot of it.” [2] 

I remember the beginnings of Google, we started using it to query information on tech specs for networks for customers, it was not long after that, we had to shut down most internet access for the company because of time wasted. I remember when Facebook first arrived on the scene (I was an avid Myspace user), I remember starting to get my books from Amazon.com because they were much cheaper than my seminaries book store, I remember the first time I saw the iPhone. I never thought these products/companies would change the face of the world, boy was I wrong.

So, again what does this have to do with me, a pastor. Well I Galloway summed up his book and really the reason it should be important for me, and really all who serve God in the following video.

Like his book, this video contains graphic language, viewer be advised. In his introduction to his TED talk, Galloway sums up why this discussion is so important. “most people, for most of human history, have believed in a higher power…The strongest signal for disbelief is internet usage, accounting for more than a quarter of America’s drift from religion”.[3]  In both the above video and in his book Galloway makes the claim that 1 in 6 queries to Google have never been asked in the history of mankind. That statement is staggering. If the internet via Google, FB, Amazon, is replacing religion, or through the ownership of Apple products I have put aside my need for belonging to a religious organization, does that say we as pastors, bible teachers, ministry leaders of all kinds have failed spectacularly. Have we done such a poor job as Christians that we can be replaced by machines?

I see this as the root of my problem. Why has North American Christianity become such a failed attempt at influencing people for God? We get to caught up in finger pointing, This or that is a catastrophic issue. Whether it is homosexuality/marriage issues, abortion, drinking, the failure of the nuclear family ad nauseam. We have focussed on what society is doing against what we are told from our leaders is damnable, and we have not loved our neighbor as ourselves. During my research, one of the things that keeps coming back is the online presence of Christians and how most of us are more likely to show our rear ends rather than our love of Christ.[4]  This really is just one of the many reasons the church is in decline but I think it is a big one. In my interviews of other pastors one thing that keeps coming up is the fact that see so much hatred online, whether it is racial, sexual, political, they all said the same thing. Christians online come off looking like hypocrites. That is why we as ministry leaders need to be so wary of how we use the technologies available to us. To many times I see people I know, small group leader, pastors, music ministers going off on whatever subject they go off on, and make no mistake, this comes from both the conservative groups as well as the liberal groups, that no one is going to take us seriously. They would rather Google the question, find their own answer and go from there. It really does not matter what side of the aisle you fall on, we are all guilty of doing this at one time in our online presence.

[1] Galloway, Scott. The Four: The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google. NY, NY: Portfolio, Penguin, 2017.160-161.

[2] Galloway, Scott. The Four: The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google. NY, NY: Portfolio, Penguin, 2017. 158.

[3] Galloway, Scott. The Four: The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google. NY, NY: Portfolio, Penguin, 2017. 126-127.

[4] Rainer, Thom. “Five Challenges to Healthy Church Growth.” May 08, 2017. Accessed November 27, 2018. https://www.visionroom.com/five-challenges-healthy-church-growth/.

About the Author

mm

Jason Turbeville

A pastor, husband and father who loves to be around others. These are the things that describe me. I was a youth minister for 15 years but God changed the calling on my life. I love to travel and see where God takes me in my life.

5 responses to “People Look For Answers Where They Wont Be Judged…”

  1. Great post, Jason!

    You tied Galloway’s text into ministry right away and challenged us to do the same. It’s imperative that we understand how to utilize these four companies if we want to speak the language of our congregants.

    It must have been such an amazing experience to walk through the technological change and be part of the transition. You assert that, “We have focused on what society is doing against what we are told from our leaders is damnable, and we have not loved our neighbor as ourselves.” What would it look like for Christian leaders to use these four companies to love others? How are some ways that we can tap into the platforms of Amazon, Apple, Google and Facebook to spread the gospel and show Jesus?

    • mm Jason Turbeville says:

      Colleen,
      The hardest part of being a ministry leader, to me anyway, is to watch those who are in our care do the exact opposite of what God has called them to do. I know this is nothing new, Peter pulled his sword, Thomas doubted until he saw with his own eyes. It just seems to come at us at light speed now.

      BTW the 90’s were crazy working in the tech industry, the explosion of technology must rival the industrial revolution and I was right in the middle of it.

      Jason

  2. mm M Webb says:

    Jason,
    Great introduction and personal background in the beginnings of computers. Like many other countries, stealing tech is just part of business, so they rationalize away the “theft” part and focus on how much they are helping humanity. Like there was help needed in God’s economy.
    Will robots become the next generation of missionaries and evangelists? With enough “AI” artificial intelligence, you can just about give them everything they would need, except the “soul” part, but hey. This is a class that comes up with some strange ideas, right?
    We are all guilty right. When it matters is when it damages our testimony to others. Chips under the skin is next…
    I’m like you. I prefer to stay immersed in what and how God says we are to live and lead.
    Stand firm,
    M. Webb

  3. Greg says:

    Interesting to compare the influence of these companies and the lack of influence of the church….I wonder if it has to do with the path of least resistance…these companies accept and even encourage the user to spend more time on worthless things and (hopefully) the church is calling for folks to change and be challenge to greater service. For many that are lazy and like life the way it is I can see this as being an easy way out….gratification be it a “like” or the thrill of hunting and finding that item you wanted. Thanks for bring me to the place to think through some of these concepts.

  4. mm Dan Kreiss says:

    Jason,

    Your connection with the topic of technology early on was fascinating to me. I think you brought the issues to a head in your concluding paragraph. I wonder what you think about Galloway’s introduction both in the book and the video? Which of the 4 human urges do you think the church is designed to satiate and why does it now seem that other entities, including ‘The Four’, are doing it better now – particularly for emerging generations?

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