By Mark A. Taylor
On the day after Steve Jobs died, his name was at the head of every newscast, the subject line on scores of e-newsletters and blogs, the stuff of conversation among his fans around the world.
“I think I’m the only one who has NOT posted something about Steve Jobs today,” wrote a friend on his Facebook page. One of those posts linked to technology columnist Walter Mossberg’s memories at WSJ.com.
“He was a genius, a giant influence on multiple industries and billions of lives,” Mossberg wrote.
The coverage that day and since said nothing about Jobs’s faith, although at least one article did mention his legendary temper. Despite his accomplishments, Steve Jobs was no angel. But Christian leaders can learn leadership lessons from a leader like Jobs. The passion he devoted to computers and phones and other digital gadgets is so much more needed among those touching souls for eternity.
Consider Mossberg’s further evaluation:
He did what a CEO should. He hired and inspired great people; managed for the long term . . . ; made big bets and took big risks. He insisted on the highest product quality and on building things to delight and empower actual users. . . .
What if something similar could be said about every local church minister, every Christian college president, every head of every parachurch ministry we know?
He hires and inspires great people. He’s not intimidated by staff members and volunteers with more experience, greater knowledge, and different skills than his own. He knows they will only help make their shared ministry better.
He manages for the long term. He has a vision of how that ministry will touch lives and impact culture for years to come.
He takes big risks. He’s not afraid to fail because he realizes that learning what works is more important than protecting his ego.
He insists on the highest quality. He doesn’t preach his first draft or settle for improvisation. He does his work “as unto the Lord,” a higher motivation than Steve Jobs ever mentioned
His focus is on actual users. He’s always asking, “What are the crying needs of those we’re reaching?” He serves not out of a need to be needed or a desire to be up front, but pressed by the problems of the people around him.
Media coverage is full of speculation about how Apple will fare with Steve Jobs gone. Meanwhile we can wonder how the church could thrive with Christian leaders following the best of his example.