Never tell me the odds

Standard

A man named Joseph Juran is the originator of something called the Pareto principle that states that roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the cause. It’s had numerous applications but my only exposure to it has been in the church. It is a generally accepted rule that 80% of the work in the church gets done by 20% of the people in it. There is a statistic that was the main reason I decided to get into youth ministry. I’ve talked about it before and it is the statistic that says that after graduation from high school 90% of those in the church will walk away. There are statistics out there for just about everything you can think of under the sun. But what is the purpose of statistics? Based on my observation they have been used to say things like “that’s the way its always been” or “its always going to be this way.” In effect we have made statistics an oracle of the future instead of what it actually is, an observation of current or past situations. Statistics are not predictions of what is going to happen, but rather recordings of things that have already happened. So what should we use statistics for? To me they seem like an opportunity for repentance. Repentance is realizing there is something wrong and that something needs to be changed. We can use them as ways of measuring our growth as they change. What we should never do is let statistics determine our future. Just because some guy back in the 1906 saw that 80% of the property in Italy was owned by 20% of the citizens, and that 20% of the pea pods in his garden contained 80% of the peas, we have limited what God can do in our congregations. We have said that since only 20% of the people are going to be working at this, we shouldn’t try it. Instead of letting the Pareto principle change what we do, lets make what we do prove to be an exception. Become the Target

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