Yesterday here at Soma School, we were talking, of all things, about the church. Jeff Vanderstelt was laying out for us how, in most churches, everything, whether it be time, energy, resources, money, people, gifts, all goes “into” the church which is most often personified as a building. All of these resources are then “managed” from the top down by the leadership (whatever leadership model your tradition embraces).
It is in this “inward” model that we most often hear the “80/20″ idea offered up as a complaint. If you haven’t heard of this, it simply means that in many churches, 20% of the people do 80% of the work. Therefore, the call to “get more involved in church” often means donating your time, energy, resources, money and gifts “to the church.” But Jeff challenged us that, “80/20″ might not be a bad thing, provided that other 80% of people is out on mission, serving and reaching their community. The reality is that, even with the “80/20″ principle at work in many churches, many people simply believe that “ministry” is up to the pastors. After all, they’re being paid, right?!
The question that really faces churches, particularly church planting pastors, is how they will define success. Will we develop a mindset that views success as something that might not immediately put “butts in the seats” on a Sunday morning? If so, do we really want all of our time, energy, resources, money, people and gifts going in to a church structure, whatever that might be? What might it look like if we became more outward focused? What if we had churches that didn’t believe that all ministry was simply up to the pastors?
There is, of course, much to work through here but I wanted to share a bit of what I’ve already been wrestling with. What do you think?