The Ecclesial Quotient (EcQ): Mavens and Salesmen

Continuing on with my EcQ.

In the last post on the EcQ I started to build the Social Influence Term (SIT) for the EcQ. The SIT is based on Malcolm Gladwell's social influence model from the The Tipping Point based on three kinds of people: Connectors, Mavens, and Salesmen. So, our SIT will be based on three scores for each of these social influence functions. Last post we talked about Connectors. Today we add the Mavens and Salesmen.

According to Gladwell, a Maven is a person who accumulates knowledge and who possesses information. Mavens can be found in all kinds of areas. Who do you call to get information on the latest computer software? Cars? Music? Good movies? Good books? The people you call to get information in these areas are the Mavens in your life.

Mavens are important in that influence is more than just about connections (noted in our last post). We also need good information. We need to make judgments and we want to influence how other people make judgments. But we also want these judgments to be good judgments. And that requires good information.

Who are the Mavens for a church? Well, I'm going to define a Maven as a theological (systematic and practical) and biblical resource.

I don't know if you've noticed but there is a lot of crappy theology and teaching in the church. Thus, even if you have Connectors in a church, if the church is producing dysfunctional or sloppy teaching than the influence of the church will be either limited (rebuffed by members or outsiders) or unhelpful. Thus, it seems that the church needs more than just Connectors. It needs Mavens as well. Mavens should help a church "speak sense" both internally and externally. Mavens will also speak up and challenge silliness in the church before it gets out of hand. With Mavens, the church stays "on message," a message that is both reasonable and relevant.

How do we calculate a Maven Score? Again, here is where this EcQ exercise serves up some fun theological puzzles.

As a first pass, I'd say a Maven must possess both good biblical and theological knowledge. Biblical knowledge without good theology leads toward fundamentalism and dogmatism. And theology without the bible leads to heterodoxy.

(However, if you would like to formally enforce orthodoxy in your Mavens feel free to add a third term. Call it the Creedal Coefficient, where you rate the Creedal orthodoxy (e.g., assent to Nicene Creed or the creed of your denomination) of the Maven.)

Given that I'm weighting bible knowledge and theology equally the Maven Score would be:

(Biblical Knowledge Score)(Theology Score)

If you add the orthodoxy term you would have:

(Biblical Knowledge Score)(Theology Score)(Creedal Coefficient)

Each Score/Coefficient goes from 0.0 to 1.0 where 0.0 is biblical/theological/creedal idiocy (again, idiocy as in its original meaning: "one lacking in knowledge or skill") and 1.0 is some benchmark of your choosing. For example, the average theological/biblical competency produced by a seminary of your choice.

According to Gladwell, Salesmen are a select group of people with the skills to persuade us when we are unconvinced of what we are hearing.

Salesmen inside the church I'll call recruiters. Recruiters are the people in your church who get excited about a new ministry or work and recruit others to the task. This might seem superficial, but a good recruiter will be someone who is sensitive to what God is doing and being responsive to that leading. Thus, a good recruiter is not just about passion but about discernment as well.

Salesmen outside the church I'll call evangelists. I think their function is obvious.

So, our Salesmen Score is:

(Recruiter Term + Evangelist Term) / 2

Where both terms are again rated from 0.0 to 1.0 indicating how your church community rates your performance as either a Recruiter or Evangelist.

The Calculation of the Social Influence Term
Okay, with last post and this post in hand we can now create our Social Influence Term based on the Connector, Maven, and Salesmen Scores:

SIT = (Connector Score + Maven Score + Salesmen Score) / 3

The EcQ (as of this post)
Okay, we now have two terms for our Ecclesial Quotient, our cutting edge index quantifying your contribution to the local church. As of this post the EcQ has two terms:

The Moral Exemplar Term (MET) = The degree to which you manifest the Fruits of the Spirit (ranges from 0.0 to 1.0)

The Social Influence Term (SIT) = The degree to which you influence the church or community by being either a Connector, Maven, or Salesmen (ranges from 0.0 to 1.0)

Okay, given these terms, how should we relate them to each other? Well, I'm not so hot at math so I don't have on hand cool functions for this. So, my attempt at this is going to be rather basic. Here's one way of doing it:

EcQ = MET ((MET + SIT) / 2)

Can you see the theology I'm attempting in this equation? I don't just want to average the MET and SIT. I think the MET is more important. Particularly if the MET is 0.0. That is, I don't want this score to inflate only due to the SIT. So, I'm averaging the MET and the SIT but then multiplying that score by the MET. This uses the MET as an overall weight. Thus, if the MET is zero or close to zero this multiplication knocks the whole EcQ down to zero.

For example, let's say your SIT is .85. This means that you have a good degree of social influence in your church because you possess Connector, Maven, or Salesmen talents. But let's say your MET score is low (e.g., your basically a jerk), MET = .12. Calculating:

EcQ = .12 ((.12 + .85) / 2) = .05

This seems right to me. Although your averaged MET and SIT scores equal .48, which seems respectable, this number is mainly due to your talents as a social influencer. So, we correct for this, by weighting that score with your MET, and the number gets knocked down to .05. Thus, although you possess some social talent, because you're such a jerk, your overall contribution to the church is basically nil.

But let's say your MET is equal to your SIT score of .85. Calculating:

EcQ = .85 ((.85 + .85) / 2) = .72

And this seems about right. Your EcQ is high indicating that you are both a good person and have social influence.

Finally, let's say your MET is high (,85) but your social influence is low (.12). Calculating:

EcQ = .85 ((.85 + .12) / 2) = .41

And again this seems right. Your low SIT score doesn't knock your score to zero as a low MET would. That is, being a good person, regardless of your social influence, is a positive contribution to the church. But the witness of your MET score doesn't have the same social Oomph when compared to someone with a higher SIT score.

So, there it is. What do you think of the EcQ so far? Should it be modified or add terms? I'm not sure where to go next with it so it might be finished.

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4 thoughts on “The Ecclesial Quotient (EcQ): Mavens and Salesmen”

  1. Richard, you state: "Mavens are important in that influence is more than just about connections (noted in our last post). We also need good information. We need to make judgments and we want to influence how other people make judgments. But we also want these judgments to be good judgments. And that requires good information."

    But is "good information" simply accurate, truthful, and helpful information? What role does experience have--that is self-critical reflection? What role wisdom? Communal reflection?

    Gladwell's Connectors, Mavens, and Salesmen seem to me to be, at best, stick figures, not even Weberian ideal types. And more confusing than helpful.

    So let me see: maybe Gladwell's trinity can be summed up in two words rather than manipulated by an equation: THIN BULLSHIT (or is that really three words?)

    I'm having breakfast with Travis Stanley tomorrow (which may be today when you see this [02/08].

  2. Sorry, Richard, in the above comment, I was not trying to be anonymous. I have started my blog. More later.

    George Cooper

  3. Hi George,
    Tell Travis hello. And finally you've got a blog! That is great. I can't wait to start reading it.

    I can't believe you've critiqued the EcQ. That makes me expend effort in defending this silly thing.

    In defense of the Gladwell idea, I'd say two things:

    First, as they stand the terms are thin. Just ciphers. The depth would come in the actual measurement. The things you mention (e.g., experience, self-critical reflection) I would group under the theology part (e.g. a theological system that was self-critical, communal, and responsive to experience would be rated higher than a simplistic and dogmatic system).

    Second, I think the Gladwell terms do illuminate a bit. For example, Mavens alone in the church creates an academic community and Connectors alone create a social club. It's really just the idea Paul articulated about diverse gifts in the body: Some are evangelists, others teachers, and some have the gift of hospitality...

  4. When you two guys go to coffee next time, I want to buy a ticket and just watch.

    BTW, I don't think the thing is "silly" at all, just quintessentially modern. Sort of like Randy Frazee's "Christian Life Profile Assessment Tool," but more self-deprecating.


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