Supposedly the culmination of years of research and development, the iPhone X certainly offers some exciting new features, such as a new camera system, facial recognition advances, wireless charging and a vastly improved screen. You can read more about the specifics on Apple’s website, but here are three lessons that the iPhone X can teach creatives in the church.
1. Intentionality is Vital
Apple scrapped the home button and focused heavily on the front camera to enable some serious facial recognition capabilities, including a streamlined Apple Pay functionality. It seems as though every recent iteration of the iPhone removes a button or input. Why? Simplicity.
Whether you’re an Apple fan or not, it is easy to see the intentionality in their actions. Everything points towards a natural, simple, singular experience. There is no sense of Apple simply throwing everything and the kitchen sink into their product for the sake of it. Buttons are removed to return the focus to the super-retina screen, in order to improve the user experience. Facial recognition helps speed up core processes like unlocking the phone and paying for things…to improve the user experience. Wireless charging cuts away yet another cable-riddled step that has become an accepted part of 21st-century life…to improve the user experience. You get the idea. With the iPhone X, there is a clear sense of purpose and intentionality to each decision to deliver the final result as a whole. It’s not so long ago that products threw in every possible feature in thinly veiled attempt to win by quantity, rather than quality. Not so here.
Is there the same sense of laser-like focus and intentionality in your creative endeavors? You may love flashy lights, epic videos or synth-heavy songs. That’s fine. But do they truly serve a singular, unified purpose within your church? For me personally, a unifying question I have to be intentional with is this: “does this collection of songs, media, and other creative content genuinely draw attention away from us and towards our Saviour? If I can’t answer with a wholehearted “yes”, then even if I have the coolest song or the funniest skit, it’s just not worth it.
2. Emphasise Interactivity
Apple has really gone to town to make this an incredibly interactive phone. From its clear emphasis on the screen to its push into facial recognition and augmented reality, interactivity is clearly a focus of the company. One of the most striking new features to the Apple experience is the addition of Animojis. iPhone X users will be able to map emojis to their own facial expressions in real time. This opens up a whole realm of new possibilities for communication with friends and family. There is so much more to the user experience than simply pressing touch screen icons and a keyboard now. Times are changing.
Creatives, how can you make your congregation’s church experience more interactive? We want people to feel like they’ve engaged with the church community on a Sunday; more like they’ve participated rather than consumed. Whether it’s as whacky as a smartphone light show or as family-friendly as a photo booth; an interactive survey, a magazine or any other of the countless ideas that are floating around the ether (or your own ingenious thoughts), get creative in finding ways for your congregation to interact with the service, other church goers on a Sunday and most importantly, help people to find powerful ways to connect with each other and with God.
3. Don’t Underestimate the Power of Visuals
Apple’s new iPhone screen commands attention. It covers the front of the device almost entirely and has a higher resolution than ever before. Why? Because in today’s world, people are more focused on the visual experience than ever.
If you don’t believe me, just take a look at Facebook. It’s now significantly more rare to see a post without an image or video than with. Instagram is about images. Snapchat – about images. The growth of Netflix, YouTube, and other streaming services. Younger generations process information with more visual resources than ever.
How can we harness this trend for the Gospel? Of course, we will never seek to replace the truth found on the pages of Scripture. However, good graphic design is more important than ever. Visual communication is more important than ever. Creatives in the church would do well to focus on the visual experience in the same way that the iPhone X clearly has. Well produced slides, attractive flyers, and high-quality video is becoming more and more important in the church today. Lots of people now read the Bible on their phone. Rather than fight these changes, we should seek to make the most of the exciting opportunities that are presenting themselves.
Do you have any thoughts? What else can we learn from the unveiling of the new iPhone X? What would the church do well to ignore?