The second goal of the project is to bring about adoption of evangelistic innovations by a critical mass of the clergy, then from clergy to a critical mass of laity in a critical mass of the churches of the Illinois Great Rivers Conference.

This entry is part 37 of 118 in the series Diagnosis, Dialogue, Decision: A DMin Project

The second purpose is based on research from the Diffusion of Innovations whichindicates that when a critical mass of a people group has adopted an innovation, it will rapidly overcome resistance and its full adoption is inevitable.[1] Rapid adoption can “take off somewhere between the 5% and 20% level of adoption” among interdependent participants in a relational network.[2] The second goal of the project is to bring about adoption of evangelistic innovations by a critical mass of the clergy, then from clergy to a critical mass of laity in a critical mass of the churches of the Illinois Great Rivers Conference. This could fuel a conference-wide transformation as a critical mass within each group begins to make disciples. As clergy are transferred from church to church, the innovation of making disciples will spread, creating a homeostasis of church growth rather than church decline.

            Something must be done with the majority of churches in the Illinois Great Rivers Conference. The large churches have financial resources to hire nationally known consultants. The health of the mid-size tier is critical, and will require many of the resources of the Office of Congregational Development to reverse declining trends. Hopefully this project can make a significant difference in the 77% of churches that make up the small church tier. It is likely that these seminars may be the only consulting support these small churches will receive.

            A systemic change process utilizes information communicated interpersonally through a human relational network to get the snowball rolling. As the diffusion of an innovation reaches critical mass, the new innovation rapidly spreads throughout the formerly resistant system. In this way, innovations that make disciples that make disciples that make disciples can spread throughout the marginal churches of the Illinois Great Rivers Conference so that the entire system might once again thrive on the prairie.

QUOTE [1]

NOTE


DISCERNMENT QUESTIONS

RESOURCES

[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 www.disciplewalk.com/Resources.html. 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 CreateSpace.com.

[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]Everett M. Rogers, Diffusion of Innovations, 4th ed. (New York: Free Press, 1995), 313-330.

[2]Ibid., 324

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