Tipping Point – Part II


how do we know if we are on the verge of a tipping point?

think of an idea or a practice as rolling on a see saw. what does it take for an idea or a practice to accumulate enough social gravity to roll up and across the see saw and tip it over until everything is going it’s way?

the point at which this happens is the tipping point.

malcolm gladwell, author of the tipping point, suggests that mavens, salesman and connectors are three pivotal players in the creation of social movements that reach this tipping point.

but still, how do we know if we’re on the verge of a tipping point? that’s what ted koppel asked gladwell on abc’s “nightline”, according to new york times op-ed columnist, thomas friedman.

reports friedman:

[gladwell answering koppel] “the most important thing in trying to analyze whether something is at the verge of a tipping point is whether it – an event – causes people to reframe an issue. …”


recently, in a round table conversation with the emerging european mosaic alliance, my new and good friend, derek webster, noted that a key issue today is “reframing” the work of the church.

i think derek’s right.

are we on the verge of a tipping point in the believing movement? i don’t know if we can paint with such a broad stroke, but in my recent experience, hundreds and thousands if not tens of thousands of leaders from across the western world are beginning to identify with the way the mosaic alliance and the origins project is reframing the task of the church.

some emerging leaders today are focusing on such things as restoring the arts to the institutional church. that’s fine. i’m for it. but are we in the midst of an os change in believing culture? we may be. i’m totally happy that people within the institutional churches will be blessed by the additon of great art to their services. but i’m acting on the hope that if the unreached on the planet would catch but a glimpse of the beauty of christ, the whole world would suddenly change. for those of us to whom this matters, we must become mavens, salesmen, connectors and reframers of the ideas and practices we want to see move to the tipping point and beyond to become a social movement.

into the mystic…

© alex mcmanus, 2005


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