There are three long-standing traditional statistics that I would like to challenge the members of any Lutheran church to break. These statistics have been standing for just too long and someone should do something about them.
The first statistic is that the traditional Lutheran congregation can always be divided into three distinct segments: One segment of the congregation is made up of members who do virtually nothing. They don't attend worship. They don't contribute any offerings and they don't volunteer for anything. Another segment of the congregation is made up of members who worship infrequently, they give a little something to the Lord in their offerings and every once in a while they will volunteer for something at church. And then there is the segment of the congregation made up of members who are in church virtually every Sunday to hear the message of the Savior who died and rose for them. They bring their offerings regularly and actually set aside a percentage of their annual income for the Lord. And you will see them volunteering for just about everything they have time for.
I wonder if we could become non-traditional and break out of the three segment statistic. Perhaps a good start to break the statistic would be to ask, "To which of these three segments of the congregation do I belong?" "Would it be possible for me to move up a step to the next segment, or could I be encouraging another member to move up a step?"
The second of the traditional Lutheran church statistics has to do with the 80/20 rule which holds true in our church too, that 20% of the members do 80% of the work and bring 80% of the offerings, and 80% of the members bring 20% of the offerings and do 20% of the work.
Perhaps a good start to break this statistic would be to ask, "Into which percentage group do I fall?" "Could I change to the other group or possibly help someone else to do so?" Or to put it more accurately, what if the church could change to even a 70/30 ratio? What amazing things could be done for the Lord!
The last statistic of the three is the 2% statistic. In good economic times and in bad the church continues to receive, all averaged together, no more than 2% of the membership's annual income. What amazing things could be done for the Lord's kingdom if that figure only increased to 3%.
Perhaps a good start to change this statistic would be for each of us to ask ourselves, "What percentage of my annual income do I give to my Lord?" "Out of love for all His gifts to me, could I possibly do anything to increase that percentage?"
So there you have it; Three traditional statistics, just challenging us to break them. Can we do it as members of God's church? With a recommitment to our Lord, I believe we can.
"For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich." II Corinthians 8:9