Let’s Make A New Rule —
A 100-100 Rule
Preaching Matthew 16:15 yesterday I began with the question, “Who do you say I am WITH YOUR LIFE? Not with your mouth but with your life.” In keeping with the themes… where your treasure is there your heart will be also, and from James… Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works… I said how we live our lives is the true expression of our answer to Jesus’ question, “Who do you say I am?” Your life is your answer. If with Peter we say you are the Christ the son of the living God, then we need to live that out 24-7-365 not just when we are in crisis and need our savior.
The Romans passage for yesterday, Romans 12:1-8, talked in part about the people of God being members of a body and different people being given different gifts. For the body to function well everyone needs to use their particular gift as part of the body. So we answer Jesus’ question with our lives by contributing our gift to the life of the body–the Church.
At St. Mary’s we are in a year long process to discern what is the Church Jesus is building and how does He want us as a particular body to contribute to the building of His Church? We started by having every member of our vestry (elders/church council) pray every day for 60 days asking Jesus to show us the Church He is building. Then we had all of the members pray for 60 days. Then we came together and listened to what God had said to each of us and we came up with 10 themes of ministry. Now we’re in a 2 week period asking members to itemize actual ministries inside and outside the walls of our church that we are doing or that God is calling us to do. All of the above is necessary background for the word I heard this morning in prayer.
Have you heard of the 80-20 rule? Across all denominations–Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, EFree, Bible church, etc. It’s generally acknowledged that there are people, 20% of the total membership, who do 80% of the work of the Church. These people are saying with their lives and not just their mouths that Jesus is the Messiah, the Christ the Son of the living God. The other 80% are saying, in effect, He isn’t. At least not to them.
This has at least a couple of effects. 1. Even working very hard, the AMOUNT OR QUANTITY of work to assist in the building of the Church Jesus is building is only 20% of what it could be. The people we can reach with the gospel, the hungry we can feed, the naked we can clothe, etc. is greatly reduced. 2. Because of the gifts that are not being employed by the 80% who are not contributing or only contributing to a limited extent, the QUALITY of the life of the church is not what it is meant to be. Using Jesus’ members of a body analogy, we’re missing eyes or ears or arms so we can’t see or hear or physically do what we should.
What would happen in an individual church if it overcame the 80-20 rule and ALL members of the church contributed all they had of the gifts they have been given by God? That would be an amazing Church. What if all of God’s churches overcame the 80-20 rule? That would be an amazing world.
So baby steps. How about if you, just you, contribute 100% of the gifts God has given you to the work of the Church Jesus is building. That will be answering Jesus’ question Who Do You Say I Am with your life. Bishop Morales is calling all of the diocese to be rooted, missional and compassionate. One way we can do it is by getting rid of the 80-20 rule. Let’s make it a 100-100 rule. 100% of God’s people doing 100% of the work of His Church.
Father Jim Fosdick SSC
Canon to the Ordinary