A Tipping Point is defined as “the moment of critical mass, the threshold, the boiling point” at which the momentum for change becomes unstoppable. It has been discussed a lot in reference to epidemics, but the concept is germane to nearly every situation that demands, needs, or has caused, change. I understand it well in my own context.
The three rules or concepts are:
1) The Law of the Few, 2)the Stickiness Factor, and 3)the Power of Context.
The Law of the Few really focuses on the set of uncommon skills, or practices, that a small subset of people have that make them effective transmitters of a message, or disease.
The Stickiness Factor is all about the memorability, or unsettling virulence, of the message.
And the Power of Context is really about the specific local conditions that enable transmission.
Looking back at any major growth and upheaval in Church history I think that what we see are all three of these concepts meeting together, spark setting fire to tinder that has been gathered together.
The Few, with unique abilities and gifts, are placed by God into a ripe Context, and are given a fresh revelation of Gods purpose, mission, and nature (The Stickiness Factor). From that point, things take off and grow on their own.
Think of the early church, and see that Jesus and his message actually embodied these principles perfectly. He came for the sinners, sick and the poor. He went into the dark places, the hopeless places, and brought light. And he picked his apostles not for their natural gifts so much as for their willingness to step out into the dark, trusting Him. That is a rare, special gift, after all. It was in those desperate times, to those desperate people, that this message came. And it spread like wild fire, and changed the world forever.
And it hasn’t really stopped. It is still in those places, to those people, that this message is light and life. And we are told to go.
C.S. Lewis called Christianity “the good infection.” Once again, it seems that the man had his head on straighter than most realized.
The true church is a light set on a hill, more, it’s a raging fire spreading around the world where there is a spark, and dry fuel. A good infection that spreads contagiously where the conditions are right, and the carriers present.
That’s why Jesus is continually telling us to go to the poor, the lost, the broken-hearted. Those whose hearts have been prepared to receive the Gospel.
So that the Good Infection might become the Good Epidemic.