The church was soooo proud. Their choir loft was shoulder-to-shoulder with sopranos, altos, tenors, baritones, and basses. So they didn’t see the “divide into two choirs” recommendation coming. They sounded so good and full, and wasn’t that the purpose of the choir? But the choir was so overgrown that it could no longer achieve its ultimate purpose of making disciples.

Any ministry that reaches 80 percent saturation has lost its missional effectiveness. A parking lot that’s 80 percent full communicates to potential guests “We’re too full for you.” A worship center that’s reached 80 percent capacity communicated, “There’s no place for you to sit.” The 80% Rule applies to every ministry the church is engaged in from the choir, the band, the Sunday school, a small group, the nursery, the fellowship hall, Christmas Eve, and even the annual Easter Egg Hunt. (And of course, the 80% Rule also applies to the parking lot and to seating in the worship center.) 

The church must be intentional in multiplying any ministry that reaches 80 percent capacity in order to make room for those beyond the arms of grace. Insisting on the Leadership Code will prepare the church for multiplication, but it won’t necessarily multiply anything. Supervisors (leadership coaches) will need to be vigilant in their observations to prepare leaders of effective ministries for the inevitable multiplication via their apprentice.

Question: What ministries at your church have gotten too close to capacity? How can you make changes so that they make room for newcomers? Share your thoughts in the Comments section below.