Change can be halted at the transfer point between one diffusion category to another …

 “Innovators” and “Early Adopters” represent a “visionary minority” of 16% which functions as a reinforcing process trend for change; “Middle Adopters,” “Late Adopters” and “Laggards” are a pragmatic majority functioning as a balancing process to preserve homeostasis and control 84% of the system’s resources. Change can be halted at the transfer point between one diffusion category to another, and especially at “the chasm” that develops between the visionary minority and the pragmatic majority.[1] When the innovation crosses the chasm into the Middle Adopters, a period of rapid adoption known as the S-shaped diffusion curve “‘takes off’ at about 10-25% adoption, when interpersonal networks become activated so that a critical mass of adopters begins using an innovation.”[2] This S-curve pattern is a signature characteristic of the successful adoption of an innovation.[3] Once a critical mass is achieved after crossing the chasm, large-scale, rapid adoption of the innovation is inevitable. The great potential of applying the diffusion of innovations to evangelism is for a genuine Lordship of Christ to spread rapidly from less than 16% to more than 84% of a given people group, whether that people group is a Sunday School class, a United Methodist Men’s group, a local congregation, a small town, a denomination, or an entire nation. This is the third goal.





[1] The quote is a selection from David O. Kueker’s Fuller Seminary Doctor of Ministry project submitted in September, 2007, entitled Diagnosis, Dialogue, and Decision: A Threefold Process of Revitalization For the Illinois Great Rivers Conference.
It is shared here in recognition of its 12th Anniversary along with comments to update and provide perspective on the material. The original project was a Training Manual/Study Guide of three Seminars supported by three chapters of research and an Introduction. The material is available for download at In 2009 it was provided for purchase as a softcover book entitled Designing Discipleship Systems: Christian Disciple Making For Any Size Church, Any Theology through

[2][3] [4][5] [6][7] [8]

All Scripture quotations are from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Please review the page How and Why We Use Quotes.

[1]Geoffrey Moore, Crossing the Chasm: Marketing and Selling High-Tech Products to Mainstream Customers, Rev. ed. (New York: Collins, 2002), 5, 16-22, 55-59. Paul Wiefels, The Chasm Companion: A Fieldbook to Crossing the Chasm and Inside the Tornado (New York: HarperCollins, 2002), 34-41. These resources present a strategy for the market adoption of hi-tech or discontinuous innovations. Cf. Wiefels, Chasm Companion, 9-91. The gospel is a discontinuous innovation.

[2]Rogers, Diffusion of Innovations, 12.

[3]Cf. Rogers, Diffusion of Innovations, 313-324. Cf. Wiefels, Chasm Companion, 53-75. Cf. Christian A. Schwarz, Natural Church Development: A Guide to Eight Essential Qualities of Healthy Churches (St. Charles, IL: ChurchSmart Resources, 1996), 119. The S-curve chain reaction along human networks is described in church growth as a “people movement” where people “become Christians as a wave of decisions for Christ sweeps through the group mind.” Eddie Gibbs, I Believe In Church Growth (Pasadena, CA: Fuller Seminary Press, 2000), 117-119. For the same sociological event in epidemics and cultural fads, see Malcolm Gladwell, The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make A Big Difference (New York: Little, Brown & Co., 2002).

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