The 10/90 Problem

Have you ever heard the saying, “If you want something done ask a busy person?”  This month I have discovered the truth within those words.

If you’ve been reading my blog (or Facebook) you know in a crazy moment of boredom I signed up for NaNoWriMo, the National Novel Writing Month.  I have to write a 50 000 word novel (about 175 pages) in 30 days or less.  What was I thinking?

To make matters worse I signed up five days late putting me a whopping 8000 words behind schedule.

Oh boy.

Now I’m on day 11, all caught up and slightly ahead of my daily word count to finish on time.  This exercise has shown me that despite my somewhat frantic pace of life if I’m organized, I can do almost anything.

The opening quote to this blog is not only true in life; it also seems to be true in ministry.  Have you ever heard the saying, “10 percent of the people do 90 percent of the work?”  Look around your church and observe the people in charge.  I’m betting you’ll discover they are busy people.

This unbalanced percentage can be caused by two things.  Either the 10 percent do not want to loosen their hold on their ministry and share the load thereby leaving the 90 percent behind, or the 90 percent can’t be bothered to serve forcing the 10 percent to pick up the slack.  Which is it?  Can it be a bit of both?

I wonder how many people are sitting in the pew wishing they could contribute but are overlooked because leaders keep focusing on the same crowd of eager beavers.

Do the 90 percent long to speak up but fear rejection?  Do they long to be noticed?

Are the 10 percent piously proud of their productivity or do they secretly wish for help?

Every person has something unique to contribute and it would be a shame to miss it simply because leaders are not looking.  So I ask three questions: How can those sitting on the sidelines be encouraged to get in the game?  And, how can those racing toward burn out be encouraged slow down and share the load?  Is there a way to meet in the middle?

I’m looking forward to comments and discussion from both the 10 and 90 percenters out there.

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