So it has been proven that 7% of your church does 80% of the work. No kidding! I am in the midst of reading “The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic” by Matthew Kelly, and he has done extensive research on this very subject and has concluded based upon that research that those 7% have these four qualities:
After growing up in the Methodist faith, then becoming a Catholic, I can tell you this is not just Catholics. Every church suffers from these statistics and every church has that small percentage that does the majority of the work. What I love about this book is it gives you what these 7% hold characteristically that the rest of us maybe lack.
They have a strong commitment to prayer
They continually learn about their faith
They are generous financially
They are evangelizing most of the time even though they may not even realize it.
Can you imagine what our churches would look like if we just increased this number slightly? Can you imagine what Christians could do if we encouraged the rest of the 93% to just do some of what the 7% do? How amazing would that be? We all have the ability to be faithful followers of Christ – just like that 7% that work so hard in our churches, so what is holding us back?
I can remember a time when I had small children and just getting to church seemed so overwhelming. I remember the days of screaming kiddos leaving me sweating in the pew. I know what some fellow church members do when your kids annoy them – those glaring eyes that just stabbed me in my heart. Sometimes my own church made me feel so unwelcomed. I needed Christ so much during that time, yet I felt so unwelcomed. Oh, I remember it all.
Feeling the exhaustion of motherhood kept me from doing so much for God. I blamed those glaring eyes when I was asked why I didn’t attend my church services, but that wasn’t really the whole truth. I was the one not working on my faith life and I was using motherhood as an excuse. Where I fell short though was in all the characteristics listed above.
I never spent time in prayer because I was too busy and tired. I chose a nap over prayer time. I watched a telelvision show and zoned out instead of taking time with God. I fell down in pity for myself and my life instead of asking God for strength. I rarely prayed unless something terrible happened, and I certainly never conversed with God daily.
Every once in a while I caught a bible study that I enjoyed, but because my prayer life was so terrible, it always fell short. My comments were selfish and pitiful because I didn’t have my life on track. I had missed the pathway by a mile!
Giving money to the church seemed like a joke to me. I barely had enough to scrape together for my family, so I said. Yet I took vacations, ate meals out, bought a bigger home, and continued to spend money on everything but God. Oh, and I had all kinds of money for my kids’ extra curricular activities. I never even thought about giving God money. I always thought, “God will understand. I just don’t have extra for Him.”
When I talked with my friends, we never talked church. I didn’t want to offend anyone or make them feel uncomfortable, so I just agreed with whatever they said – even if I didn’t really agree. I wasn’t ever studying or reading up on my faith, so I couldn’t offer a book to read or a scripture to back up my claims. I certainly didn’t pray with my friends or family.
You see, my faith life has not always been good. I have been the 93% of the church that did nothing. I went to church every Sunday, but I failed to realize that God needed me to do more than just go to church.
I am so thankful that my life has changed, and I have found myself amongst the 7% every once in a while. I think for me I banter back and forth between the 7% and the 93% depending on where my faith life stands. When I start to slip, I realize I am failing somewhere in my prayer life, or my study life. Somewhere within those 4 characteristics, I have lost my path.
God wants us to seek Him. God wants us to see the beauty of faith by trusting Him and conversing with Him. If we just go day to day without talking or acknowledging God, how can we possibly consider ourselves faithful followers?
Look around you today. What can you do to increase our own spirituality? What can you do to make more time for God this Lent? What does your prayer life look like? How much are you studying the bible and learning about your faith? How generously are you giving to your church? Are you giving God your “firsts” or your extra? Do you share your faith with others?
Lent is all about changing ourselves to prepare for Christ’s resurrection. Christ is about to give his own life so that we can live. What can you do to honor that gift? How can you add more time for God and grow spiritually the next few weeks before Easter?