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.”  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.” 
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”. 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. 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.
 Galloway, Scott. The Four: The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google. NY, NY: Portfolio, Penguin, 2017.160-161.
 Galloway, Scott. The Four: The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google. NY, NY: Portfolio, Penguin, 2017. 158.
 Galloway, Scott. The Four: The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google. NY, NY: Portfolio, Penguin, 2017. 126-127.
 Rainer, Thom. “Five Challenges to Healthy Church Growth.” May 08, 2017. Accessed November 27, 2018. https://www.visionroom.com/five-challenges-healthy-church-growth/.