Connectors. Some people seem to know, have contact, or be connected in some way with everybody. They have hundreds of phone numbers in their phones, and hundreds of friends on social media. I have a friend who does “fill-in preaching” for many different congregations. He stays in contact with many preachers and congregations week to week. If you are seeking current news or information in the brotherhood, he probably has it. Do you know any connectors? Are you one?
There is a game called, “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.” The aim of the game is to link any actor, through movie connections, in six links to Kevin Bacon. Brett Tjaden, a computer scientist at the University of Virginia found that any actor who had been in a television film or major motion picture can be connected with Kevin Bacon in 2.8312 steps. He also calculated this for all actors in television films and major motion pictures. Bacon ranked 669th in connectivity. John Wayne ranked 116th. Rod Steiger came in first (Malcolm Gladwell, The Tipping Point, pp. 46-47). The best connected were in many different types of films. How well connected are you with other people? Do you participate in many different things? How many worlds do you touch?
Mavens. Mavens gather information, and pass it on. They distribute coupons. They tell you where to go to get the best deals. “The critical thing about mavens… is that they aren’t passive collectors of information. It isn’t just that they are obsessed with how to get the best deal on a can of coffee. What sets them apart is that once they figure out how to get that deal, they want to tell you about it too” (Gladwell, p. 62). Do you know anyone that can be described as a maven? Are you one?
Malcolm Gladwell, in his book, The Tipping Point, suggests that epidemics and cultural trends spread for similar reasons. One of these reasons is the power of some people to affect (or infect) so many others. [Believe it or not this article was written long before the coronavirus pandemic. The thoughts of this article should be especially meaningful to us now.]
The church needs connectors. Many of the Bible studies that I have had, occurred through a connector. Christians are to be the salt and light of the world (Matthew 5:13-16). Salt cannot preserve, unless it makes contact with the meat. Light cannot show the way, unless it is seen. Christians may have a preserving influence. However, they need some kind of contact. They need to be visible, not hid under a basket. Jesus did not pray that we be taken out of the world (John 17:15). He did not want us to live as hermits, isolated from the world [Preachers, while study is to be valued, I am concerned about balance. It seems to me that too many of us live in our offices with little contact with others, while there is a lost and dying world with whom we need to make contact, and brethren who need edification. I am also concerned about some church members. I have heard some say, “I have no one to invite to the Gospel Meeting. I don’t know anyone other than church members.” How can we reach out to others, if we have no connection with others?]
The church needs mavens. Andrew “found his own brother Simon, and said to him, ‘we have found the Messiah’… And he brought him to Jesus” (John 1:40-42). “Philip found Nathanael and said to him, ‘We have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote – Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of Joseph.’ And Nathanael said to him, ‘Can anything good come out of Nazareth?’ Philip said to him, ‘Come and see!” (John 1:45-46). Are you using your contact to tell others about Jesus? The early church “went everywhere preaching the word” (Acts 8:5).
Whether you’re a connector or a maven, you could be helpful in reaching the lost, and spreading the Gospel of Christ. Connectors, mavens and teachers should work together to bring souls to Christ. Let us do so this year. [Even in this time of pandemic, we can stay connected with others via phone, text, email, Skype etc. We should do so. Many are thinking about their mortality more than ever. Let’s use this sobering fact to talk with them about eternal matters. This past Sunday there was a baptism following our Facebook Live sermon. This is not the time to disconnect. We need to ever be trying to connect, even if in alternative ways.]