You may not recognize this principle by its formal name, but you know it. It is better known as the 80/20 rule. The rule expresses when 20% of the people do 80% of the work. PTA, Service groups, any number of deserving organizations encounter this principle, yes even the organized church. Burnout, lack of vision and direction, reduced buy-in and involvement occur when this principal hits congregational life.
I’m still so new that I’m not sure about the exact numbers for our church. I’m not making any judgments or assumptions about the percentages here.
But what if our church made increasing participation our goal? What might that look like? What impact might such a shift have on our spiritual life, our attendance, our ministry in the community? What influence would increased participation in our ministries have (gasp!) on our financial giving!
Prayers. Presence. Gifts. Service. These are the four areas of church life that we can measure. Against these four, we can see if the Pareto Principal is in effect. On any given Sunday, how many people in the pews are involved in offering prayers, sharing gifts, active in service?
But I’m not a fundraiser. I’m a church builder. And churches are constructed on the solid foundation of individuals called to serve God.
(Original content written October 2009)