I recently watched Ikea’s promotional video for their latest revolutionary “bookbook”. Ikea was promoting their latest catalogue Apple-style—with the makings of a typical Apple product launch campaign, complete with the presenter decked in a black turtleneck shirt, a series of interviews with enthusiastic key Apple personnel as well as a hands-on demonstration of the “bookbook”.
As Christians going out there to preach the Word, we too can pick up a few tips from Apple.
“For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4 ESV).
That’s it. That’s the gospel.
Apple has often designed products known for their simplicity and intuitive usage—one button, instinctive gesturing, no frills. According to Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, the gospel message is also quite simple; it is essentially about Christ’s death and resurrection. There’s no need to get into endless debates over apologetics, or delving too much into the differences of different religions to the point of argumentation, nor examining too many theological concepts that would just leave a non-believer more confused about life than he was before wanting to find out more. (Disclaimer: There are times apologetics is needed and we need to dive into theology, but we need to discern when it actually spirals to become unconstructive debate.)
Apple campaigners often show how multi-faceted their products can be, being able to perform typical phone functions on top of surfing the net, reading the news, playing games, etc. When Jesus was at the well with the Samaritan woman who wanted to draw water, He met her at the point of her need—sharing with her about living water—before proceeding to tell her everything she ever did and that He was the Messiah (John 4). Before Jesus taught the crowd, He fed the multitudes with five loaves and two fishes, first meeting physical needs and then leading them to the One who will meet all needs (Matthew 14:13-21).
Some of our friends might have to go through rough patches in their lives before they are willing to find out more about God. It is hence important that we be sensitive to their needs, and perhaps even meet those needs first. Let’s not treat outreach as an end in itself, but as a process of building relationships and sharing our lives.
“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:13-16)
Apple campaigns would have been meaningless without live demonstrations. In the same way, we must demonstrate our talk by our walk. Our lives need to be consistent with the gospel we preach. When we walk the talk, our talk becomes credible to people.
Ultimately, the gospel is meant to be shared. It is like eating the best plate of chicken rice, and wanting your friends and loved ones to also have a taste of it. You’ve experienced a joy, and this is the joy you want others to partake in.
This is the Gospel, and “this changes everything.”