The innovation must be adapted for the needs of each category.

E. The innovation must be adapted for the needs of each category. When the S-curve sweeps up Late Adopters, the innovation has reached 84% of the population. In church history, this reflects the era of Christendom. Late Adopters prefer the simplest, easiest way to fulfill God’s requirements and get to heaven. Late Adopters do not want to sacrifice, extend themselves in mission or work beyond what is necessary for salvation. The resulting theology can be characterized as one of cheap grace and minimal requirements, and eventually becomes the homeostasis controlling the institutional church.[1] The great spiritual concern of many Late Adopters is that worship end in time for them to beat the Baptists to the restaurant for lunch.

F. Late Adopters in mainline denominations, therefore, are more likely to be those within a church who attend only worship. If only 17% of church attenders attend Sunday School, bible study or any learning event other than worship,[2] it’s likely that few Late Adopters are beyond a newborn spiritual maturity level.

G. In an era when everyone was Christian, spiritual disciplines could focus on the spiritual needs of the individual. Contrary to the Great Commission, individuals were not expected to make disciples or teach them; this was the role of the clergy and not the laity.

H. Late adopter influence on church theology and praxis uses the balancing process to preserve the world view and practices of traditional Christendom.

I. Late Adopters are very anxious about breaking the rules of the tribe and the traditions of the elders. Therefore, they are also prone to prejudice and criticism of others who do not show respect to rules and traditions.  They are therefore likely, with the Laggards, to divide into schismatic groups that disapprove of others (1 Corinthians 1:10-12, 3:1-4.)

J. Late Adopters are more respectful of others than Laggards and more tolerant of opposing views. They are often very sincere in their desire to maintain the value of the traditions of the elders. It’s likely that the Pharisees were Late Adopters and Laggards, although not all Late Adopters are Pharisees.


[1]Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1995), 41-101.

[2]George Barna, quoted in Greg Ogden, Transforming Discipleship: Making Disciples a Few at a Time (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2003), 26.

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