NACOS 4.7: #5 of 5: LAGGARDS

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 #5 of 5: LAGGARDS

QUOTE: Segment Five: Laggards or Skeptics
Pastor: There’s a light bulb burnt out in the sanctuary. Can you help?

Laggard: After a while, the truly faithful really begin to sense God at work in the dark. Perhaps God prefers the dark. When God wants a new bulb, He will change it Himself. Stop interfering with the will of the Lord with your devilish desire to change everything!


  1. Laggards are very local in focus; they don’t talk to outsiders and they tend to communicate only with other Laggards.
  2. Their point of reference is their own past experience, which they repeat without contemplation.
  3. This caution prevents problems that drain resources from being addressed, so Laggards rarely have resources to take chances; their caution is a matter of survival.
  4. It is important not to demonize Laggards; they will always be with us.
  5. Laggards function not only as defenders but as visionaries of the status quo. Laggards can serve to stabilize a system and have the ministry of preserving homeostasis. Once an innovation is adopted, Laggards will eventually preserve it in the system and defend it as “the way we have always done it here.”
  6. Laggards can provide a necessary balance, slowing changes that might have negative, unintended consequences or lead to chaos. Unforeseen problems can arise which make the innovation far worse than the original problem; now the innovation is the primary problem of the culture.
  7. Laggards cannot be persuaded. They will adopt or not in their own time.
  8. As change cannot be prevented, Laggards are under continual pressure from current reality and feel “pushed around.” They are therefore frequently chronically anxious and defensive.
  9. When pushed, Laggards become anxious; when cornered, they can become violent. Laggards would “rather fight than switch.” Laggards often feel disrespected and are concerned with their honor and insults to their self-esteem. They often feel as if they have no option but to engage in defensive behavior that can easily escalate.
  10. Laggards are the covert source of most church conflict.

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?

Image: Light Bulb Parable

This entry was posted in aaNACOS FB. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.