I have been captivated in the last few days by a post on Mack Collier’s blog. In the post, Collier builds off a recent study undertaken by scientists at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. The study concludes that people in a group who fervently hold a minority belief will sway the majority if the fervent minority represents 10 percent of the group or higher.
This alone is worthy of our consideration. Yes, the study was strictly scientific and does not take into account the working of the Holy Spirit, which cannot be quantified scientifically. Nonetheless, the study shows that, excluding other factors, even a relatively small number of Christians in a group will exert a powerfully persuasive influence on the group if the Christians are unwavering in their faith and loyalty to Jesus.
What I am even more interested in, though, is Collier’s application of this study. For some time he has suggested that companies should market themselves not like companies do, but like rock stars do. Collier explains that companies tend to focus their marketing efforts on new customers, who are relatively large in number, but low in loyalty. In contrast, he says, rock stars focus their marketing efforts on brand advocates, who are relatively small in number, but high in loyalty. Collier believes the study by Rensselaer demonstrates what rock stars already know: a few passionate fans will “evangelize” and win over the majority (the word “evangelists” actually appears in the post and is a term used in the marketing world).
In other words, reach a few people deeply, and you will ultimately reach the masses. Does this sound familiar to any of you?
Our last Frontier Men’s Bible Study session covered The Master Plan of Evangelism, by Robert E. Coleman. One of Coleman’s main points in this book was this: Jesus’ strategy of mass evangelism was to concentrate his ministry on relatively few men who would, in turn, reach the masses as they multiplied their own disciples.
The implications for ministry are staggering. As Coleman suggests, our ministry priorities may be way off. It is very tempting to try to evangelize or minister to the masses directly, but this strategy all too often breeds superficiality and tends to be unsustainable. On the other hand, Rensselear Polytechnic Institute, Mack Collier, rock stars, Robert Coleman, and Jesus all agree—reach the few deeply, and you will eventually reach the many effectively.
And it was Jesus’ idea first.
—Beau StanleyFollow @beaustanley