When the gospel of Jesus Christ is considered as a cultural innovation …

I. The diffusion of innovations is a fourth approach.[1] Diffusion is the sociological, scientific study of  “the process by which an innovation is communicated through certain channels over time among the members of a social system.”[2] Diffusion research originated with the study of the adoption of hybrid seed corn by Iowa farmers during the American Great Depression. As articulated by Everett Rogers, it is the most influential multidisciplinary understanding of cultural resistance to change and how new innovations spread throughout a culture. When the gospel of Jesus Christ is considered as a cultural innovation, the relevance of this research to church growth and evangelism is obvious. This project utilizes the diffusion of innovationsto overcome resistance to disciple making and church growth in the ministry context.





[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]The basic resource is Everett M. Rogers, Diffusion of Innovations, 4th ed. (New York: Free Press, 1995). A good introduction to the theory is Marianne S. Hornor, Diffusion of Innovation Theory, under http://www.disciplewalk.com/Resources_by_Others.html (accessed June 15, 2007).

[2]Rogers, Diffusion Of Innovations, 10, 5. Emphasis in original.

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