A tipping point is when a small series of small changes or incidents becomes significant enough to cause a larger, more important change. As Church United, we are busy behind the scenes uniting pastors, churches, leaders and organizations towards the goal of a seeing a gospel tipping point take root across South Florida. We’ve come together around evangelism, church planting, education and next generation engagement. However, none of these things will create a tipping point or start a movement without you. If you’re reading this, you are the most important piece of the story God is writing in our community.
What causes a tipping point?
In 2000, Malcolm Gladwell wrote a brilliant book called The Tipping Point. In it he examines what causes a culture to shift or an idea to spread the way contagious diseases spread rapidly once they infect a certain critical mass of people. Gladwell discovers that a tipping point has three main components: target audience, “stickiness,” and context.
Target Audience: God’s People
The Church — God’s people — you and I are the means by which God brings his Kingdom to our world. Ephesians 1:23 makes it clear: “The church is Christ’s body, in which he speaks and acts, and by which he fills everything with his presence.” A tipping point of faith, hope, and love begins with Christians. If you call yourself a follower of Jesus Christ, you have a role to play in the story God is writing.
Perhaps for far too long we’ve been looking at our salvation, or our faith in Jesus, only as a means of personal atonement; a “get out of jail free card” mentality that leads us to attending Church every-so-often but missing the purpose of our salvation altogether. However, the purpose of our salvation is meant to be more than a box we check on the back of a church welcome card or a hand we raise at an after school club or prayer meeting. Our salvation is for the life and flourishing of the world.
Stickiness Factor: Love
A recent national study put out by Lifeway Research found that 79 percent of non-Christians think that Christianity today is more about organized religion than about loving God and loving people. When asked about the top three words that describe Christians they knew, their top words were judgmental, political agenda and unloving. The world around us is making it clear that Christians aren’t doing well at living out their love for God by loving their neighbor as themselves. If I’m honest, this study convicts me to my core because I’m often part of the problem this study identifies. As God’s people we need to repent, embrace grace and run toward those God has put into our lives with radical love and generosity. Sticky love.You and I, through the power of the Holy Spirit, is how God fills our homes, dinner tables, streets, office buildings, neighborhood association meetings, mom’s meet-up groups, nursing homes and schools with the presence of Jesus Christ. The little things matter. Our words matter. Our actions matter. Our silence matters and our inaction matters. Think of it this way: what we tweet, the comments we post to Facebook, the way we disagree with those who hold different political views all shape how the world views those who call themselves Christians. The way we love those around us, especially those who disagree or differ from us, is one of the strongest apologetics we have for the Christian faith in today’s culture. In the words of the late Billy Graham, “The world is hurting and looking to fill their hearts with belief in something.”
Context: South Florida
God is bringing the people of the world to South Florida. Theologian, pastor and cultural commentator Al Mohler recently said, “As California was the great evangelical laboratory of the 1960’s and beyond, Florida is that great ministry laboratory now. Watch it closely.” Our region tops the national charts for foreign born population, ranks highest in population of residents who speak a language other than English at home, and is the fourth largest urbanized area in the US. Put simply, South Florida is shaping the world. Because of its influence, ministry in South Florida today will impact ministry everywhere tomorrow.
Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties are ripe for revival. Only three percent of our tri-county population identifies as a committed Christ follower. This post-church, post-Christian environment we find ourselves in is fertile soil for every Christian to plant seeds of faith, hope and love.
It’s been said that a tipping point happens when 15 percent of a population embraces an idea. Imagine what could happen if 15 percent of South Floridians had a faith that compelled them to love so fiercely that Christianity became sticky to our non-believing friends, neighbors and co-workers. The narrative of our community would begin to change, and South Florida would slowly become the best place to live, work and raise a family.
Edwin Copeland serves as the Director of Church United with the National Christian Foundation of South Florida where he works to unify the Church through collaboration and celebration to see faith, hope, and love spread throughout South Florida. To learn more about Church United, visit churchunited.city.
Read more articles by Edwin Copeland at: goodnewsfl.org/author/edwincopeland/