The 20-80 Principle in the Church


13 When they arrived, they went upstairs to the room where they were staying. Those present were Peter, John, James and Andrew; Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew; James son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. 14 They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers. 15 In those days Peter stood up among the believers (a group numbering about a hundred and twenty) Acts 1:13-15

One hundred and twenty people were assembled in the Upper Room praying and worshiping. They had been through the wildest two months they had ever known. Now, though, their leader was gone. He had taught them everything they needed to know to complete His task. The future of Christianity was on their shoulders. What an awesome responsibility.

I try to put myself in their shoes. What were they thinking and feeling? Was it overwhelming? What would they do next? Where would their “marching orders” come from? How would they know what to do next? Of course in that group of 120 were the bold and courageous, and the timid and shy. Some were born leaders; while others would accept the leadership role reluctantly. Thankfully they weren’t all like Peter, nor were they like Andrew. Together, though, they would change the world.

As with anything meaningful in life, the more people work together for a common cause, the more work gets done. The church is no different. The Pareto principle applies even to the church, where, roughly stated, 80% of the work gets done by 20% of the people. As we’ll see in upcoming chapters, there was near 100% effort to get the job done. It had to be that strong.

Think of your life inside the local church. Are you one of the 20% working or the 80% slacking? If you’re part of the pastoral staff, you’re probably part of the 20% and sometimes you just get worn out.

I admit to being in the 80% of “pew warmers” now, though I’ve been in the 20% many times, and it’s very fulfilling.

It doesn’t take much to get involved. Pastors and church leaders would welcome your help, so why not give them a call today? You’ll be glad you did.


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