Adoption of an innovation (acceptance of change) flows from left to right across the five categories of the diffusion of innovations adopter framework. All cultures and cultural groups respond to a reinforcing trend of change by segmenting into five groups based on their openness to change.

Category #4 of 5: LATE ADOPTERS

QUOTE: Segment Four: Late Adopters (Late Majority) or Conservatives
Pastor: There’s a light bulb burnt out in the sanctuary. Can you help?
Late Adopter: Are you sure we need a new bulb? There’s nothing wrong with the old bulb. Give it a chance. My mother gave that bulb to the church as a memorial to my grandfather; see the plaque next to the fixture? Have you tried praying for healing for the bulb? Where is your faith?


  1. Late Adopters come to adoption through economic necessity, increasing network peer pressure, and not until most others in their system have adopted.
  2. They are cautious and careful, and influenced by their feelings.
  3. Late adopters are nostalgic and prefer the comfort zone of “the way we have always done it before.”
  4. Late Adopters are cautious and will only adopt through recommendations from people they trust; once there is the momentum of a band wagon, however, Late Adopters will want to get on board.
  5. Late adopters rarely adopt until uncertainty is gone; the innovation must be entirely safe, guaranteed and a “sure thing.”
  6. The innovation must be easy for an uninformed person to operate without training. Late adopters don’t want to learn or read the manual; they just want to use the new tool.
  7. It must be a turnkey solution, with few choices or options.
  8. Late adopters want reliability and simplicity of operation, like a toaster.
  9. Late Adopters are often keepers of the rules and historians for the tribal culture. “We tried this 30 years ago and it didn’t work then. Nothing has changed since then.”

ASSIGNMENT QUESTION: (in the comments on Facebook)
Who do you know who’s an example of this kind of thinking and approach to a problem in your ministry context?
How would you minister to them?

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