Who Is Really To Blame for the 80/20 Rule?

Most churches experience the 80/20 rule when it comes to volunteering: 80% (or more) of the work is done by 20% of the people. This frustrates leaders and leads to burning out volunteers. It also creates animosity in the faithful 20% towards the other 80% who “need to get off their butts and help us out.” But whose fault is the 80/20 rule? The answer might surprise you.

80/20 rule

It’s not the fault of the 80%. They would like to be involved. If asked, they would joyfully respond and help out.

The 20% is mostly to blame for the 80/20 rule.

The problem is that once the 20% know each other and who they can count on to get things done, they stop asking people outside that circle. So the same people get asked to do everything and, eventually, burn out.

This tendency of the 20% is somewhat understandable. It’s hard for involved people to keep up with all the friends and connections they already have, let alone meet and involve new people. But it’s crucial. If you want to have a church with lots of people involved, you must have good ways for the core 20% to meet and involve the new and growing 80%.


What are things the 20% can do to help involve the 80%?

Published by Luke Simmons

I was born and raised in Denver, CO and lived there through high school. Then I moved to Champaign, IL where I attended the University of Illinois and played on the Fighting Illini baseball team. I was married in December, 2001 to Molly, who I met at the U of I. In June of 2002, we moved to Phoenix and have been here ever since.

One thought on “Who Is Really To Blame for the 80/20 Rule?

  1. I completely agree and I think it’s also good for the 20% to step back (a little) and give the 80% a chance to respond, some times those 20 percenter’s jump in very quickly…

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