The Vital Few vs. The Trivial Many

Back in 1895, an Italian economist named Vilfredo Pareto postulated that 80% of efforts come from 20% of causes. Put another way, he suggested that in business, agriculture, mathematics, and most all other endeavors, a few resources produce the vast majority of the results.

That 80/20 principle came to be known as the Pareto Principle and has been applied to a wide array of circumstances. And it fits in the world of volunteerism, too. Facts support the truth that a mere 20% of the people (who could help) actually accomplish the vast majority of the work at hand. 80% just sit back and watch.

Pareto distinguished those two groups this way. He called the 20% crowd the ”Vital Few” and the 80% group as the “Trivial Many.”

Statistically in the U.S., less than 25% of us volunteer to help out in our church, our schools, or other non-profits. Women volunteer much more than men. The 45-54 year olds are the best at pitching in. Californians rank about average for their service figures, while the residents in Utah are at the top. But at the end of the day, cumulatively, Americans still only serve others for about 32 hours a year.

That means that even the “Vital Few” only roll up their sleeves for a couple of hours a month.

This week, in I Samuel chapter 10, we studied the life principle associated with volunteer service unto the Lord. We saw that principle lived out as Saul readied himself to serve as Israel’s king. First, he needed to trust the love of His heavenly Father. Then, he needed to receive the graces that such trust would provide. And then he had to depend on God’s power to accomplish his task.

Volunteering for the Lord’s work is important. Our church (and other godly endeavors) simply cannot flourish without the regular investment of time and finances from EVERYONE in our church family. Coast Hills desperately needs the active investment of us all. There is a job for everyone!

The phones need to be answered. Things need to be repaired. Kids need to be taught. Instruments need to be played. Bushes need to be trimmed. Meals need to be cooked. We can hire folks for most of those jobs, but imagine what those resources could be used for if we just acted a bit more like the “Vital Few.”

So this week, let’s self-identify ourselves. Are we in the “Trivial Many” crowd? Are we just Sunday consumers or active investors? Can we be counted on to lend a hand? Do we see the value of service? Are we ready to answer God’s call and trust Him to lead us to just the right ministry and provide the time and resources we need?

The “Vital Few” crowd needs some new recruits. Are you ready? Call the church office at 949-362-0079 and volunteer. Volunteering for a life filled with service changed Saul’s heart and it will change ours as well!

-Sherry Worel

Sherry Worel is a Bible teacher at heart and lives a life of ministry. She’s been involved at Coast Hills teaching Women’s LIFE, Bible studies, online courses, devotionals, participating in Upstream conversations, and much more. Having a love for education, Sherry has over 50 years of teaching experience with schools, churches, and mission agencies. As well as earning her Master’s at Talbot Seminary, she rounded out her education with 35 years as Head of School at Stoneybrooke Christian School. Sherry is happiest with a book or fishing pole in hand.
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