Leadership Courage Series # 41

The sixth leadership characteristic needed in the Church today is: Undermine the 80/20 Rule. 80/20 is another evidence that cowardice is thriving in much of the American Church.

A week ago, my pastor announced that last year’s tithes and offerings – totaling more than $5 million – came from 15% of the congregation.

The rest – thousand of them — gave nothing, financially.


Sad.  Isn’t it?

We leaders get to become more determined and intentional if we’re to break through the culture of cowardice and provoke our people to love and good works. [Heb 10:24]

Here’s how:

One:  Think like a people-developer, not a gatherer of spectators.  

Get out of the Christian education and entertainment business.

Jesus did not say: “Go and entertain people” in Mt 28.  Nor did he say we’re to “Go and educate people.”

“Make disciples”.

The point of all discipleship is that we are to be like our role model, Jesus. [Luke 6:40]

Two: Stop counting the numbers of spectators who show up for your events. Instead, count those who are intentionally and fruitfully living like Christ— and summon the courage to count them only.  What does it matter how many people consume what you give them for free?  What does it matter how many come and leave unchanged.  Un-matured.  Un-discipled.


Why do we care so much about numbers and ignore fruitfulness?

Three: Innovate ways to involve everyone, every time.  What if you devoted 80% of the time your staff now gives to developing a slick religious education and entertainment event —- you call it a “weekend service” —- to innovate ways to challenge, involve, and stretch your people?

What if you gave them ways to practice being like Jesus every time you gather?

What if they were expected to risk, to try, to fail, and to learn from the experience?

What if you measured your success by the impact your congregation is having on the surrounding community?  

“Oh no”, you say, “our people will leave if we expect this much of them!”

Are you sure?

My seminary professor, with his doctoral students, studied more than 1,300 biblical, historical, and contemporary Christian leaders in a stellar career spanning decades.  One conclusion he calls “Goodwin’s Expectation Principle”.  My rendering is this: “People will rise to the level of the expectations of those whom they respect.” 

What if you began to expect your people—all of them – to live more and more like Jesus?  What if your congregation became passionate about doing what Jesus did, both within the church and outside it?

Or, what if they don’t? 

Do you not see American society disintegrating before you eyes?

Don’t you see godlessness taking the culture by storm?

While ministers inform and excuse and soothe and placate those who gather in our sanctuaries, the society that Jesus gave us to redeem [2 Cor 5:18-20] is speeding to its destruction.

It needs our salt and light. 

Doesn’t it?