It’s been said that, in the church, 20% of the people do 80% of the work. Unfortunately, it’s a pretty accurate statistic, but do you know why that is so often the case… because very often the 20% won’t train anyone else. They won’t give ministry or responsibility to anyone else and can become very possessive of ministry. Yes, sometimes it’s pride in the 20% rather than laziness in the 80% that produces the 20-80 statistic in the church.
God’s design for church growth and developing faithful servants is discipleship – taking the time to pour into another person. If we were to hold an evangelistic crusade where 1,000 people got saved every night for 35 years, at the end of those 35 years we would be further behind in the task of world evangelism than the day we started because of the exponential growth of the earth. BUT if you were the only Christian on planet earth and you said “God fill me with your Spirit to lead one person to Christ this year,” and in the second year you both did the same – in the third year, 4 would evangelize. In year four, 8 would evangelize. And in less than half a century the world would be won to Christ. Your part was one per year. It seems that God designed His work to thrive best when we take the time to pour into others.
Very often, the 20% doing all the work are made up of the most aggressive or ambitious personalities in the church. There’s nothing wrong with being a ‘go getter,’ the problem is that the go getters need to be getting people and building them rather than simply doing all the work themselves. It takes more time, but that’s the call of a true leader in God’s kingdom, to build up the body – it’s people centered, not ministry centered.
Not to let the 80% off the hook – All believers are called to use the time, talent, and treasure that God has blessed them with in order to serve and build up the body of Christ. We are called to let go of the things of the world and to begin functioning as a fruitful member of the kingdom of God, storing our rewards in heaven rather than amassing them here on earth. Some of the 80% need to begin asking the Lord how they can get involved in serving the body of Christ and then commit to serving Him as He leads – we are not our own, we are bought at a price (1 Cor 7:23) . This is essential to establishing Christ as Lord and promoting spiritual growth in our lives.
Taking the initiative to pour into someone else is a simple process. (1) Look for someone who has a desire to grow and spend some time with them. You may find they have some rough edges, but let them get to know you and (2) hone that person by helping them shave off some of the rough edges. (3) Encourage them to get involved in serving the Lord. (4) Follow up. Don’t just throw them into a ministry opportunity and watch them sink or swim, guide them. Teach them about responsibility, encourage them that they CAN do it (we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us).
As the church, let’s not spend too much time on the wrong end of ministry (administration, improving the ministry, acquiring positions); instead, look for young believers who have a thirst / desire to grow and build them up. It will be better for the church in the long run. May we all be about our Father’s business – reaching out to the lost and building others.