By: Zach Collins
A well-known coach was once asked,
“How much does college football contribute to the national physical fitness picture?”
The coach replied abruptly, “Nothing.”
The interviewer asked, “Why not?”
“Well,”, said the coach, “the way I see it, you have 22 men down on the field desperately needing a rest and 40,000 people in the stands, desperately needing some exercises.”
Have you ever heard this saying? Only 10% of the church does 90% of the work. I believe this to be an overinflated statement created in frustration. For example, if this statement is true, in a congregation of 100 people only ten people would do 90% of the work. I have heard of and visited many congregations that need to work on member participation, but none of these congregations have stressed this much lack of participation. The problem lies in what we define as “work.” We often consider the “work” of the church to be participating publicly in services or participating in the forefront of observable programs within the congregation and community. To puff themselves up, some have turned the work of the church into acts of public notoriety, instead of observing the propriety of certain acts of Christians. The New Testament is full of such proprietous acts by Christians that were not measured by their public notoriety but by their spirit of piety. Christians such as Jason (Acts 17), Tabitha (Acts 9), and Aquila and Priscilla (Acts 18) all worked behind the scenes, not within the public eye, to help further the kingdom and made a profound impact along the way.
By painting such broad strokes of generality, we overlook irreplaceable work in the church.
1. What about the Christians who dedicate their time, even their weekends, to cleaning and decorating the building to make our facilities inviting to members and guests alike?
2. What about the Christians who lack the physical capacity to do strenuous physical work in the church, but give generously to the work of the church?
3. What about the Christians who are eager to open the doors of their home to create opportunities for those of like precious faith to gather and build bonds of discipleship?
This statement is false: Only 10% of Christians do 90% of the work. This statement is true: Sometimes, only 10% of Christians lead 90% of the work in the church. There is a vast difference between leading others in work and being the only one involved in the work.
Now that I have said my peace, can I bring your attention to something important? While it is true that we must equally value each work in the church (c.f., 1 Corinthians 12:14-20), there are some Christians who need to become involved in spiritual exercise. It is not unusual to find a group of Christians, smaller than the majority, struggling “down the field” while others in the congregation are like spectators sitting on the sidelines and eating hot dogs. Remember, God, did not create a bench or bleachers for you to sit on in the game of life. In the game of life, all Christians have their own positions and must use their talents to exercise “for the profit of all” (c.f., 1 Corinthians 12:7).
Friend, if you have been sitting on the bench or in the bleachers, it’s time to get out of your seat and get in the game!