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Early Adopters

In the business world the term "Early Adopter" refers to those people who purchase a product or try a service before the rest of the world. They can be extremely valuable to the success of a company because they provide traction for everything that comes later. Early Adopters are a group of people willing to risk being on the front of a trend, movement or company. They don't mind stepping out of comfort zones and giving something new a shot. They know they are taking a risk but the potential reward is so much more exciting than living with status quo.

In the church planting world you have various types of 'early adopters'. While the church is certainly not a business there are some crossover lessons when you think about those early stages. Early adopters in the business world become a group of 'fans' if you will. When real bands (Not the over-produced garbage- think "O-town") put out music most of the time they aren't setting out to target a 12-15yr old age group unless they are 12-15 years old themselves. Many times what happens is a band of 18-25 yr olds appeals to that group of younger listeners. The band has an option. They can fight their fan-base and say "We're a real band, we've got to figure out how to get ____ age group." Or they can say "Cool, maybe we are appealing to a different crowd but we are appealing to someone. Let's figure out how to appeal more strongly to that crowd."

At Captivate we're finding that in our first few months the early adopters are the coveted 18-34 year old age group. In fact I'd say it's the under 30 crowd. While I certainly don't believe we'll remain under 30 after we're going a year or so, this is the crowd God is using us to reach. This is a generation that most churches are not reaching and yet for some reason God is blessing us to see many people far from God come to know Him because of our church.

We've seen many salvations and baptisms among this age-range so we're having internal conversations as to how to move forward in light of this 'early adopter' base. We could fight it like that band and do our best to be something else OR we can adjust and lean in towards reaching this age-group like no body else. We can fight it or embrace it.

In the days and weeks to come I'll share how we're going to respond to our early successes with our early adopters. I want us to be faithful not in trying to be something we think we should be but rather be the hands and feet of Jesus to whomever wherever we can do that.

Pastor Steven Furtick noted on Twitter last week wisdom:
"Etch your vision in stone-but sketch your strategy in pencil."

To be successful in business, making a band or church planting you must heed this advice. We are a life-giving church. We bring life by giving people the message of Jesus Christ. That will NOT change. Ever. If anyone wants us to be about anything else, the'll get frustrated pretty quick. However, HOW we do that will change over time so long as we believe there are more effective ways to achieve the vision God has given us.

How about you? Do you have some early adopter trends in your organization? What did you learn, how did you handle it? What advice would you give others in the beginning stages of building an organization/ministry?

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Sunday, December 06, 2009


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