80% Rule

Putting a lid on their church’s potential.

Luke 5:17-26

Reference: When they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus. (‭Luke‬ ‭5‬:‭19‬ NIV)

Explore: Most church leaders are aware of the 80% Rule when it comes to church growth. If they are not, then they could run the risk of putting a lid on their church’s potential.

The belief amongst church growth experts is that if your church services are over 80% full, they will no longer grow.

The thought is that your current congregation will feel full and satisfied and not feel compelled to bring others along. The comfort of those coming new will be reduced as they may not be able to find a seat easily and this often means the car park is also at capacity.

Some experts would say that if you are a church leader and find your congregation with this good problem, you either need to add another service or find a bigger building!

I think a bit of retraining your current congregation can also go a long way towards helping those who are new to church. Let’s be honest, if your current congregation sat closer to the front and didn’t leave a seat between them and their Christian brother or sister, then there would be plenty of available seats at the back for the new person to slip into inconspicuously.

Application: And yet, this rarely happens. The current congregation sit wherever is convenient for them, not always considering the comfort of those who truly need to hear and experience the good news of Christ.

Don’t worry. Your church is no more selfish than the one next to it. And in fact, it was just the same thousands of years ago.

Luke 5 holds one of Jesus’ most famous miracle stories. He makes a lame man walk after his friends lower him down from the roof to get to Jesus.

Why was he lowered through the roof? Because the house was too full. Who was in the house? Pharisees – church leaders. The churchies had filled the house and those who really needed Jesus couldn’t get in. Sound familiar?

Luckily for the lame man, his friends did not abide by the 80% rule!! But it’s good for us to be aware that we don’t want to be the barrier for anyone coming to Christ. Let’s look beyond ourselves and make our places of worship available and accessible to ALL people.

Prayer: Lord, forgive us when we put our own comfort above those who really need to connect with You. May our churches be welcoming and considerate of all people who need You in their lives. Amen.

What could you do differently to open Jesus up to those who need Him?

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This article was written by Linda Bailey

Linda started theological studies in 1999 in Australia. After working for ten years in various church ministries, she now works as the breakfast producer at 89.9 LightFM - the Christian radio station in Melbourne, Australia. She writes blogs every day about passages she is currently reading in the Bible. Follow her on Google Plus +Linda Bailey or Facebook by clicking the like button on the right of this page.