Friday, Workers in and for the Harvest
I first heard of the Pareto Principle (the 80/20 Rule) during one of my final undergraduate, process engineering classes. My naiveté, boredom and “senior-itis,” left me too distracted to seriously consider the incredible implications of this phenomenon. I quickly dumped that mental file into the desktop recycle bin of my memory.
Years later as I personally observed this phenomenon within the church, I pulled that mental file out of the recycle bin, smoothed out the wrinkles and considered the possibilities. If roughly 20% of the people in my church support 80% of the ministry at my church, imagine what God could do through the church if that number increased to 50%, 60% or 70%? What would our communities look like if more Jesus followers were equipped and mobilized to do the work of serving both the church and the community?
“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus …” (Hebrews 12:1-2)
In Hebrews 12:1-2, I believe the writer of Hebrews is encouraging the 80% of believers who have either become disengaged or are struggling in the race. It is a call to get up, persevere, push forward, hurdle over obstacles and continue in the faith, by faith.
I picture a coach trying to fire up his track team while they are standing on the sidelines of a championship meet. He reminds them of three things: 1) there is a huge, home crowd watching and cheering them on, 2) sin and distractions will continue to slow down and trip up their progress as they run, and3) they must fix their eyes on the right person in order to win.
This is precisely the coaching we must do if we are to encourage more Jesus followers to run this race with us. Let’s cheer on the potential laborers that sit in the chairs of our churches every week! This is a call to double-down on discipleship, building up new leaders and creating expectations and opportunities for the entire body to roll up its sleeves and get to work building God’s kingdom. In order for this to happen, our leaders must fight to keep their roles of CEO’s (Chief Equipping Officers) and refuse to take on the role of CPSO’s (Chief Problem Solving Officers). Imagine the impact on our city if 80% of the people in our churches were mobilized and running well!
God, we thank you for the diligence of the laborers that are currently working in the harvest fields of our city. Our prayer is that you would strengthen and encourage them in the work that you have called them to. We also pray for those in our churches who are currently living on the “sidelines” and ask that you would stir them and nudge them, by your Spirit, to yearn to use their God-given gifts, talents and abilities to help grow and nurture your Kingdom in the Houston area. We will keep our eyes fixed on Jesus as we run this race. Amen!