Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Apostles | Prophets | Evangelists

Somewhere in the back of my head, I’m turning over the correlation between connectors, mavens and salesmen, and apostles, prophets and evangelists

I’m not suggesting it is a simple 1:1 correlation (connectors = apostles; mavens = prophets; salesmen = evangelists); it’s more multi-directional than that. But there are correlations, nonetheless, I am convinced.

Apostles certainly tend to be masters of weak-tie relationships. Think of all those lists of names at the ends of St Paul’s letters: people he wants to send a greeting to; people who want to send a greeting to someone else via his letter…

Apostles form networks of relationships, in which they are influential nodes, in which a group of apostles working in a team together are influential hubs…

But apostles are also concerned with guarding the message, the idea, they carry, and that goes beyond the role of connector.

Prophetic ministry is concerned with looking for the new thing, the thing God is up to in and through and behind-the-scenes of society; and communicating what we discover with whoever will listen. That sounds like a maven. But, just as mavens lack the people-network of connectors, and require a connector if their discovery is to go viral, so prophets tend to lack the people-network of apostles…they need to work together.

I think there is a sense in which evangelists connect individuals with a community: but they probably aren’t connectors, according to Gladwell’s schema.

I think there is a sense in which evangelists connect individuals with good news: but they’re even less likely to be mavens, according to Gladwell’s schema.

But evangelists – just as apostles and prophets (and pastors and teachers) – do something ‘naturally’ (as well as needing to develop skills), and I wonder whether the thing they do naturally is be persuasive?

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