Interview with Erwin McManus

October 24, 2006 — 3 Comments

A preacher friend of mine sent me an interesting interview by Erwin McManus.

I was brought onto the team at Christ’s Church ( to start an alternative service targeting 20-35 year-olds, so the following portion of the interview caught my attention:

There’s a sociological grid – not created by Christians, just a part of normal sociology – that says that 2.2% of the population are the Innovators and 12.4% are Early Adopters. 34.1 are called Early Majority. 34.1 are Late Majority and 12.4 are what are called Late Adopters. 2.2% are called Laggers, but that sounds mean so we call them Nostalgics. It’s just a natural bell curve.
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:

I’d love to hear your thoughts/reflections/critiques of this interview.


3 responses to Interview with Erwin McManus


    Great interview. Thanks for linking it here. I liked what he said about a theology where one is free to create the future. But, everything he said was challenging for me. I don’t think I’m used to thinking in some of these ways. Time to stretch the old brain again – seems to be happening to me on a regular basis!


    I like this interview. Thanks for linking it on your Blog. My mind was stretched – seems to happen on a regular basis lately. You know which part I liked best? The part about the freedom to create the future. Very, very thought-provoking. You’re giving us some good stuff Arron. All the best on your target in Jacksonville.


    McManus: ” I mean, the book of Acts was the Innovators and the Early Adopters.”

    Really? I thought the book of Acts was the “Acts of the Holy Spirit”, not the acts of men.

    All this stuff about “looking at your shape” (Warren) to see how your wired, “unleashing your unlimited potential” (McManus) is pure humanism.

    These guys take away from the Lord and add to themselves.

    And by the way, those first century believers never did any of that with a mind to change Roman, Jewish or Greek culture – they were simply obedient to the leading of the Holy Spirit and great miracles happened and the church exploded.

    These days guys like Warren and McManus use marketing, psychology and Polling (as in Gallup at least in the case of McManus) techniques to grow the “church”. Really. The book of Acts is all about what the Holy Spirit did with these Holy Spirit filled, godly Christian men and women. Now go back and read this interview again. Does McManus mention the Holy Spirit at all? No. In general, these false teachers only use the bible and discuss God and Jesus to provide context (cover) for their false, Synchronistic, humanistic teachings.

    Really, should you trust any thing a man says who has stated that his goal is the DESTRUCTION of Christianity? That churches where people don’t serve should be burned to the ground? (at least in the way acceptable to McManus – and he is the sole judge of that i guess).

    Yes. I was actually in the service where the radical anti-christian, anti-church, anti-Jesus McManus stated unequivocally that those types of churches should be burned to the ground.

    He is to Christianity what Howard Stern is to radio journalism – a shock-jock of the lowest caliber.

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