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Discovering the Tipping Point for Sunday School/Small Groups

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Posted: 4/30/19 at 3:00pm. Post by Tony Brooks.

In The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference, Malcolm Gladwell suggests three characteristics that lead to an epidemic…good or bad.

Epidemics are an example of geometric progressions. One example he uses is yawning. When you read the word, “yawn”, some of you will actually yawn within a couple of minutes. Others yawn as they hear someone else yawn. Still others respond with a yawn when they see someone else yawn! Here are the three characteristics:

Contagiousness: Naturally we think about a cold, flu, or lately, the measles. When someone has a contagious disease, it can spread very fast. The same can be said about a positive contagion. What do you get excited about in your class/small group that leads to contagiousness?

Little causes can have big effects. Are you sharing that contagiousness outside your group? When others see your excitement, they want to know more. When you express the contagious love of God in your workplace, school, neighborhood and other places, people are more inclined to want to know more. When one person that you touch becomes excited, they spread the contagiousness. When you do the little things of caring for others—sharing excitement and getting involved in positive results in serving the community—those little causes can lead to big effects.

Change happens not gradually, but in one dramatic moment. Most of us have experienced a few moments in our lives that greatly changed us. As a child I made a commitment that I would be the first person in my family to graduate from college.

Coming from a lower middle-class family that worried about making it month to month, I wanted to graduate and go to law school. Money and material things were important. The only way I could afford college were scholarships.

I became a co-op student with West Point Pepperell textile company at Auburn University. They would pay for tuition and books. (I started working in the mill when I was 16.) Within three months of my freshman year, I had two car accidents that could have ended my life. I came away from both with a few bruises.

Those dramatic moments caused me to evaluate the importance of life. As I prayed and sought God, I knew God was calling me into ministry. Though I didn’t know it at the time, God had provided a full scholarship with money left over to transfer to Samford University (a Baptist university in Birmingham.)

Because of my willingness to step out in faith, God provided the funding, led me to meeting the love of my life, and changed my course. That was the “tipping point.”

Gladwell writes (p. 13), “Tipping Point is a place where the unexpected becomes the expected, where radical change becomes more than possibility. It is—contrary to all expectations—a certainty.” God is in the radical changing business! How can we discern and seek to serve God for those tipping points/radical changes?   

How do you encourage class members to talk about the tipping points in their lives? How are you encouraging them to seek God in those moments for clarity? Those tipping points may greatly change not just a person, but an entire community!  

Brooks-TonyTony Brooks is our Sunday School/Discipleship Specialist and Field Strategist for the Southside Region. You may email him at tony.brooks@bgav.org. Follow Tony on Twitter: @TonyBrooks7