A preacher friend of mine sent me an interesting interview by Erwin McManus.
I was brought onto the team at Christ’s Church (www.ccontheweb.com) to start an alternative service targeting 20-35 year-olds, so the following portion of the interview caught my attention:
Now, I think one of the cultural dilemmas in Christianity is that for the last 50 years, Christianity has been dominantly led by people on the far right end of the spectrum – the Nostalgics and Late Adopters. I just met with Larry King. I mean, I didn’t meet with him but I was at an event where I got to talk with him. And the first thing he says to me is, “John MacArthur. He can’t decide whether it’s 1936 or 1937.” And I thought here’s a guy who’s like eighty years old. You know, it’s Larry King.
But I was so embarrassed because that’s the reality that the Christian leadership is the Late Adopters or Laggers. So all we tend to reach are up to this Late Majority. Megachurches tend to reach this 70% – the middle Early Majority to Late Majority. These are the people who love clustering in big groups and they want to feel they are a part of the majority or they’re not safe. Does that make sense?
So what happened is that this movement of Jesus Christ, which started at the far left end… I mean, the book of Acts was the Innovators and the Early Adopters. These guys were risking everything. They shifted the sacred day from Saturday to Sunday. These guys were not connected to tradition or the past. They walked away from everything.
So they may have been fishermen, tax collectors and doctors but they had a certain connectedness. They were all willing to begin the new before anyone else thought that was right. So what’s happened is that the church has lost this front 15% because, for one, it hasn’t called people to vocational ministry who are at that end, who are willing to reach those people because they’re hardest to reach. They disproportionally cluster in major cosmopolitan cities, which is why I’m in L.A. because L.A. is the capital of the future.
And that’s why we’re trying to plant churches in New York – we have two congregations there. And we’re in Berkeley, San Francisco and we’re looking and doing things in England and Paris and South Africa, New Zealand, and Australia because the world changes disproportionately. It doesn’t changed in a balanced way. And so we’ve been working in China, India and the Middle East. What we need to do is target this top 15% of Innovators and Early Adopters because really the only people who are going to lead their religions, risk their family and everything to pursue Christ are these Innovators and Early Adopters. And if they move, everyone who takes their cues from them will move toward Christ.
What does the church do to reach that 15%?
That’s a great question.
Here’s a link if you’d like to read the rest of the article and McManus’ answer: http://www.infuzemag.com/interviews/archives/2006/10/erwin_mcmanus.html
I’d love to hear your thoughts/reflections/critiques of this interview.