Two weeks ago I was having dinner with DJ Chuang, Greg Atkinson and Stephen Shields, and it didn’t take long for us to start talking church and technology. I love being around creative and passionate people who make you feel energized, and when you leave, your head is spinning all night with thoughts and ideas that you can hardly sleep. That was me two weeks ago.

One of the the topics at our table was on innovation and early adopters. I knew there was some graph out there that described them, but I wasn’t sure so I just mentioned it. Of course, DJ was all over it and had sent the link of the chart to all of us before I had even arrived home.

DJ even posted a blog on it here at Leadership Network Learnings.

Here is the graph that Leadership Network put together concerning Adoption of Innovation Over Time.

Much of this work on innovation and early adoption is based upon the work of Everett M. Rogers where he discusses Diffusion of Innovations

According to Rogers(2003) “Diffusion is the process by which an innovation is communicated through certain channels over time among the members of a social System.” In other words, the study of the diffusion of innovation is the study of how, why, and at what rate new ideas and technology spread through cultures. It applies, for example, to the acceptance of new technological products like the wristwatch and the personal computer, foods like tomato sauce and sushi, music styles like opera and bossa nova, dressing styles like the top hat and blue jeans, ideals like democracy or feminism, and so on.

I think it’s a very fascinating theory and I like seeing the chart visually displayed before me.

Where do you think you fall on the graph? Why?

Where does your church fall on the graph? Why?

We often think only of technology when it comes to innovation and early adoption, but what other areas can we discuss it in terms of ministry?

I was thinking the innovation and adoption of Bible study, or small group tools.

Or we can think of it in terms of a theology, (i.e. Reformed, Missional, Emerging). I know those are generic words in many ways today, but they are the words we hear a lot in terms of theology or in terms of the “buzz” in the Church.

What about adoption of a favorite author or speaker, such as Rob Bell, Donald Miller, John Piper, etc.

Or adoption of a style of worship music.

In what areas does the Church and ministry need to innovate and early adopt more?

And in what areas does the Church and ministry need to back away from, slow down, or not adopt?