From the early days of Apple's president - Steve Jobs - until his death in 2011, Apple has always prided itself on being a closed system. Unlike Microsoft and the Bill Gates community, Steve Jobs and his Apple team set out to build an organization which controlled every end of a consumers operating system - from the iMac to the iPhone to the iPad. While Microsoft partnered with numerous different companies in providing software for PC's, Apple focused on creating their primary programs by themselves (E.g. Garageband, iTunes, iPhoto).
Gates always believed that the open system approach would win out in the end while Jobs claimed that Apple's approach would win out because it would produce a much higher quality of product (and in one sense I would agree as I write this from my Macbook Pro).
It is interesting to me that as a pastor, I am faced with the same choice that Bill Gates and Steve Jobs were faced with in life - just of a slightly different variety! I have had to ask myself this question: "Am I an open system pastor or a closed system pastor?" What is the difference between the two?
As I see it, a closed system pastor is someone who always does tasks by themselves because they fear to let others mess things up and reduce the quality of product produced. They are fearful to partner with other churches in the community for fear of what others might think and say. And they will attempt to create their own separate kingdom within God's kingdom.
On the other hand, an open system pastor is someone who is very open to new suggestions. They are quick to want to develop new leaders even if this means suffering some quality of product. They see other churches as allies rather than rivals.
While closed system pastors may be like Apple and create a very good product, they also have a tendency to be like Apple in terms of growth (Currently Apple holds roughly 6% of the global pc market share while Microsoft dominates the rest). They create a church that is suited strictly to a select class of individuals while not open to all.
I am reminded of the vision Bill Gates had when he stated Microsoft and that was to "put a personal computer on the desk of every family in America." In all reality, he has basically succeeded. And while some (like myself) would have problems at times with the quality of product produced by Microsoft and churches who might not quite be "up to snuff," I'll take a mistake filled church that impacts vs. one that is extremely polished but has little impact every day of the week! [Fortunately, at ELCC I'm blessed to work with an Apple team that possess a Microsoft mindset!:)]
With God's help, I want to be a Microsoft pastor!....................but not a Microsoft user :)