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Responses to Change: Early Adopters

Consider the challenges that the Israelites faced as they journeyed from slavery in Egypt through the wilderness toward the Promised Land. In a caravan that likely stretched for days from the front to the back, the people of Israel likely experienced the journey very differently depending on where they were in line.

You see, if you were up front with Moses, you could see him and hear his voice. You could see the cloud of fire that provided God’s guidance. You’d wake up every day, wondering if you’ll find the Promised Land just over the next hill of sand. Being up front would be exciting! 

My guess is that these people were easy for Moses to lead. They believed in the journey, and when Moses called them to move forward, they were quick to respond.

It works the same for us. Those who embrace change quickly could be called Early Adopters. They are close to us as we move the church forward. These people tend to come from four groups: those who designed the change, those who have nothing to lose in the change, those who are accustomed to change, and those who thrive on change (usually younger people).

But not everyone will be an Early Adopter. In fact, only about 20% will respond to change like this. If the pastor expects everyone to respond to change with the enthusiasm of an Early Adopter, he will likely be disappointed.

What about those further back in line on the same journey? How can pastors ensure that they effectively minister to and welcome the other 80% during the change process?

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