Will the AMEC ever repeal the Pareto Principle?

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It's interesting to observe the number of individuals who take time out of their busy schedules and faithfully execute the duties of the AMEC. What's even more interesting is the fact that attendance at most Connectional meetings (Lay Biennial, Christian ED Congress, WMS, etc.) tend to consist of the same persons . Organizational Behavior, a branch of Management Studies, articulates a useful concept which is applicable to the work of the AMEC - The Pareto Principle. The Pareto Principle states that 80% of the work carried out in most organizations is conducted by 20% of the actual work force. Applied to church work this suggests that 80% of church work (local, Episcopal or Connectional levels) is carried out by 20% of the membership. I believe most local pastors truly desire to enroll as many people as possible to become active in promoting the different areas of ministry. The reality is that only a handful (faithful 20%) respond and the result is that they tend to be overburdened and overworked simply because many of us choose not to become involved. Folks get real excited about Annual Conference or General Conference but observe the number of people who attend Church Conference,Quarterly Conference or District Conference.

Many of the same people who sing also teach Church School, VBS or serve as stewards or trustees. Our attitude of indifference and non-participation towards the different ministries in our local churches does NOT help others and betrays our alleged loyalty to Christian beliefs. Everybody is busy (this is nothing new). However, becoming more involved in the ministry of our churches should be viewed as a blessing and not just a duty. QED

-- Anonymous, August 12, 2003


The Pareto Principle... Very interesting.

Bro. Dickens: is there a philosophy behind why the Pareto Priniciple is a common dynamic among organizational structures? What is it about the "faithful 20%" that is different from the "indifferent 80%"? Speaking of the church, I find that some people feel uncomfortable seeing their church as a political and business entity; they just want it to be a place to worship and go to Sunday School. What is the psychology behind the Pareto Principle? Are there stategies that you are aware of that businesses (and churches) have adopted that successfully encourage greater participation in the many facets of the organization?

Wow, first the Abeline Paradox, now the Pareto Prinicple...psychoanalysis and AME, I love it!

-- Anonymous, August 12, 2003

I don't know too much about the Pareto principle but I do know that the work of the church, ministry, is not done at connectional meetings or at the conferences, etc. Ministry is done in the trenches at the local church. The many meetings consume too much time, energy, and money without producing any visible or invisible results other than a temporary fix of good preching and fellowship. May I suggest that perhaps those who do not attend every meeting are the ones doing the real work of ministry?

Be Blessed

-- Anonymous, August 12, 2003

Bro. Dickens,

We have got to hook up! I undersand that we have mutual friends out here in SoCal.

Pastor Paris raises an important point about ministry, but let's face it; the wheels of ministry roll better when greased with money. Even the Apostles had lucrative day jobs and trades.

The Pareto Principle (I never knew it had a name; I called it the 80/20 rule).:

I was involved in a fundraiser for a local A.M.E. church awhile back. No one there wanted to tell me how much they normally collected. I applied the Pareto Principle, and when I showed the numbers to the board, it turns out that I was off by plus-or-minus 10 at ALL LEVELS of GIVING.

If you apply the PP to the New Testament: 12 Apostles * 20% = 2.4 men to write 27 * 80% = 21 Books...Let's see....

Paul wrote 13 books, John wrote 5...that's 18/21.....add peter's 2 and that's 20/21...So as Bro. Bill says, QED.

-- Anonymous, August 13, 2003

Tam asks the following questions -

"What is the psychology behind the Pareto Principle?"

Answer - I'm not really sure about the embedded psychology which defines the PP. One thing I'm fairly certain is the PP is generally supported by observable phenomena.

"Are there stategies that you are aware of that businesses (and churches) have adopted that successfully encourage greater participation in the many facets of the organization?"

Answer - Many companies incorporate employee empowerment methods to encourage greater workforce participation in managerial decision- making tasks. The Quality Work Circle Revolution of the 1980s, spearheaded by the American engineer W. E. Deming, aims to maxmimize product quality by using employee input throughout all key phases in the production and distribution channels of marketable goods and services. If more workers feel connected to the product they make as opposed to being estranged, product improvement will be greatly enhanced. IMHO, the AME model of class leaders represents an opportunity for members to feel more empowered and thus encourages a sense of greater inclusiveness. For some reason though many of our members feel estranged in the work of Kingdom Building.

Parson Harper:

Your application of the PP is very impressive. I never knew this obscure management principle would have utlity in the area of Biblical studies. I hope our mutual friends in SoCal are not in either of the following categories -

a. A former student who failed economics and has harbored blame against me for not getting admitted into UCLA, USC, Stanford or Cal- Berkeley.

b. A Baptist clergyman who fondly remembers my non-stop musings about why most black Baptists are hopelessly Neanderthal in matters pertaining to polity and politics. And you thought I was overly critical of the AMEC???

c. An "ex" who learned about my marriage thru the "grapevine" and she still resents our break-up.

I can adjust to a & b but if it's category c, please pray :-) QED

-- Anonymous, August 13, 2003

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