Apple, Your Church, and Building a Community

Apple Retail

I love Apple Stores. I remember making my first visit to an Apple Store in Seattle, Washington while I was on vacation several years ago. About two years ago, Arkansas got its first Apple Store in Little Rock – I was pumped! If I’m ever in that part of town, I try my best to make a stop to see what’s new, to look at the hundreds of iPhone accessories, and to simply be there.

Apple’s former Senior Vice President of Retail, Ron Johnson, revealed recently that only one of every one hundred of those who walk into an Apple Store worldwide actually make a purchase.

Yep, 1% of every person who walks in the door actually makes a transaction.

At first, that might be a scary statistic for Apple. The other 99% come in a check email on the iMacs, listen to music on Beats headphones, come to a training event, attend a music concert, or make a visit to the genius bar.

But here’s what Apple realizes: it’s better to create community members than to create simple consumers.

  • Community members stay connected, simple consumers follow fads.
  • Community members get friends involved, simple consumers don’t replicate.
  • Community members become invested in the platform, simple consumers are minimally involved.

Apple makes simple consumers into community members.

The process is longer and has less immediate results, but it builds a lifelong Apple devotee.

This begs the question, what are we building as a church: community members or simple consumers?

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