Editor’s Note: The recent launch of a new Apple(R) product created a huge news event around the world. Here David Bryant reflects on the “Apple phenomenon” and applies Steve Jobs’ marketing strategy to fostering Christ Awakenings right where you live. Photograph of Steve Jobs is courtesy of Creative Commons by SA 3.0.
Last week the Apple Corporation premiered its newest smartphone, the iPhone(R) 7. Featuring a dual-lens camera capable of taking SLR-quality photos, the device also offers four LED flashlights—two in cool colors and two in warm colors—and an ambient light sensor. The rich legacy of Apple’s marketing savvy lives on.
For decades, founder Steve Jobs provided the driving genius behind one of the most successful multinational technology companies, valued at over 700 billion US dollars.
Steve Jobs’ Sales Secret
His secret to success? It’s the marketing principle he adhered to above all others:
People don’t know what they want
until you show them.
Until you show them. Showing leads to knowing.
Allow me to expand on Jobs’ intriguing observation, reshaping it for Jesus followers everywhere:
Christians don’t know how much their hearts truly are longing for more of God’s Son,
until someone shows them how much of his spectacular supremacy they have not yet seen.
Until someone shows them. Showing leads to knowing.
I’d like to take a moment to survey how Jobs applied his principle to the business sphere, because the Christian version of the same insight offers exceptional promise for the Christ Awakenings we all so desperately need right now.
Here’s How It Works
First, Apple uncovers unmet desires in potential customers; they search out hidden hungers waiting to be exploited by brand-new technologies tailored to meet those unsuspected “wants.”
Based on these findings the company sets about creating specific products—whether iPads or iPhones or Apple Watches—designed to fulfill pressing (though frequently unconscious) “needs” identified by market research.
Step three: An advertising campaign is put into motion on TV and across social media, alerting consumers to the upcoming launch of the latest device, “teasing” them with its exciting new features.
Finally, the novelty goes viral. News broadcasts show long, snaking lines at Apple stores crowded with eager buyers determined to be one of the first to own one.
Thirty years of remarkable sales vindicate Jobs’ profoundly simple marketing maxim: As consumers we don’t know what we’re wishing for—we may be thoroughly unaware of what’s missing in our lives—because we’re in need of someone to step up and start showing us.
Showing leads to knowing.
Now, let’s apply this wisdom to encouraging Christ Awakenings among us!
First We Must Get Honest About the Real Need
Earlier we said Christians don’t know how much their hearts truly are longing for more of God’s Son until someone shows them how much of his spectacular supremacy they have not yet seen.
First of all, this requires that God’s people become fiercely forthright with each other that something truly is missing in most of our lives—something crucial, something essential.
We need to act like the little boy who informed the parade that the king had no clothes on.
It requires us to muster a stronger dose of uncommon courage until we finally confess to one another—boldly, frankly, openly—that:
- something is lacking in our Christian walk, which we can’t seem to fulfill
- we feel short-changed spiritually, even when we don’t know why as yet
- we face persistent longings we’re helpless to define, yet unable to dismiss
- we’re stirred inside with a spiritual restlessness that simply refuses to be stilled
- we’re benighted by gnawing hungers which we can’t seem to satisfy
- As believers we sense there’s a whole lot more for us to experience in our daily walk with Christ than we currently do
Bravely, we pull back the covers. Candidly, we expose to one another our secret heart cries toward heaven—the unmistakable aching in our souls for spiritual realities, without which many have languished for far too long.
Can we not become daring enough to come clean with one another? To be willing to admit out loud how often we’ve found ourselves desperately digging for meaning in life but coming up empty-handed? To admit to each other we’re hunting for something better, something grander, something to fully and fervently invigorate our following of Christ?
At some point God’s people must become willing—I must become willing—to openly declare to one another how we believers suffer a common craving for more of Christ; that our deepest, most fundamental “felt need” as believers is to know, incontrovertibly, how we can become increasingly satisfied with Christ—with Christ alone.
We may not grasp it yet, but for many of us our parched spirits are yearning to drink more deeply of Christ—more about him, more in him, more of him. All three.
Showing and Knowing: The Way Forward
Yet how blessed we are! That’s because revealing and then quenching this thirst is precisely the mission for which the Holy Spirit was sent to the Church.
His assignment is to awaken our sense of “need” and then to fully meet it—to help us know our real need by how he shows us more of God’s Son, sometimes in surprisingly breathtaking ways.
Steve Jobs would understand.
From the birth of the Christian era the Holy Spirit—the third person of the tripersonal God—has made it his business to steadily stir up God’s people by introducing us to greater depths of God’s Son, beyond what most of us have explored so far, and certainly beyond what most of us have experienced so far.
This is precisely what the Master highlighted in John 16 when he clarified for his followers the Spirit’s prime agenda throughout Jesus’ current reign:
The Spirit will honor and glorify Me, because He will take of (receive, draw upon) what is Mine and will reveal (declare, disclose, transmit) it to you. Everything that the Father has is Mine. That is what I meant when I said that He [the Spirit] will take the things that are Mine and will reveal (declare, disclose, transmit) it to you (Amplified Bible).
In a sense, the Holy Spirit is Heaven’s Holy “Showman.” Regularly, he draws open the curtain to show to us God’s Son, face to face as it were (see 2 Corinthians 4:6), so that we come to know the greatness of Jesus far more intimately, so that we never cease pursuing him for more of the “inexhaustible riches” (Ephesians 3) we have in him.
Maybe we should revise Jobs’ motto even further so that it reads:
Christians don’t know how much their hearts are truly longing for more of God’s Son
until the HOLY SPIRIT shows them how much of Jesus’ spectacular supremacy they have not yet seen.
However, God’s people aren’t merely meant to be passive spectators of this process.
Cooperating with the Spirit in fulfilling his revelatory work, we are called to become “showmen” too. For us it is also showtime!
Every time we alert each other—inform and inspire each other—about more of the glorious prospects awaiting believers in our union with God’s exalted Son, we become Jesus Show-ers that make others need to be and want to be better Jesus Know-ers.
Every time we share with one another the wonders of the person and works and reign of Christ—so as to build up one another in our relationship with him—we become Jesus Show-ers that make others need to be and want to be better Jesus Know-ers.
This is the role the Bible urges every believer to play within every congregation:
Let the message of [about] Christ dwell among you richly
as [all of] you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom
(Colossians 3, NIV, emphasis added).
Do you long to experience Christ Awakenings in your life and in this generation?
Then, show we must. It’s showtime!
Far too many believers know too little about Jesus, and therefore seek too little from him, savor so little of him, share so little about him.
So, show we must. It’s showtime!
Far too many believers remain haunted by longings for Christ they can’t deny but as yet cannot define or describe.
Show we must. It’s showtime!
At this very moment multitudes across the Body of Christ are being prepared by God’s Spirit to be reintroduced to God’s Son and to the vastness of his majesty. In other words, the time for an abundant Christ Awakening is at hand. One key to this renewal is found right here:
Christians will start knowing how much their hearts truly long
for more of God’s Son
wherever God’s people join with God’s Spirit
to start showing one another
how much of his spectacular supremacy we have not yet seen.
Anybody up for a little “show-and-tell” next Sunday?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: David Bryant
Known as a proclaimer of Christ and Messenger of Hope, David Bryant is the founder and president of Proclaim Hope!, an outreach whose goal is to serve a nationwide Christ Awakening. David is the author of many books, including Christ Is ALL! Join in the Joyful Awakening to the Supremacy of God’s Son. David and Robyne have been serving Christ together for over 40 years. Their most important ministry, however, remains centered on their three adult children and their spouses, and their four grandchildren.