Thursday, May 29, 2008

An 80 Percenter way of life

Not long ago I came across a quote by Yvon Chouinard that I think resonates well with those of us who have perfectionistic tendencies, you know, that persistent urge to keep pressing on until it's "just right." It's the 80 Percent Rule (hat tip to Thommy Browne at Artifacts)

“I’ve always thought of myself as an 80 percenter. I like to throw myself
passionately into a sport or activity until I reach an 80 percent proficiency
level. To go beyond that requires an obsession and degree of specialization that
doesn’t appeal to me.”

I think the 80 percent rule has a lot of application in ministry. The various skill groups demanded of a pastor require proficiency but because there are so many, it hinders mastery. And we just have to accept the fact that doing the job well calls for being an 80 Percenter.

And it isn't just skills, it also applies to particular projects and expectations. In a day when we have created appetities for "the best" (the best graphics and media, the best sound on our ipods and boise headphones, the best bodies, teeth, and hair, the best in education, and the best in what the church can offer, etc. etc.) is there still a place for the "good enough?"


roadtripray said...

Hey NitroRev,

I think the 80% concept has an even better application than simply knowing when "good enough" truly is "good enough." I think in our churches many times we fail to act on something because we don't have enough (choose one: people, money, time, facilities, staff, youth, children, etc.) to "do it right." So we choose to sit on our hands and stand by as more generations are raised without the knowledge of Christ in their lives.

This is something I struggle with because I do feel that we need to do a good job when we're working for God. I'm not advocating doing shoddy half-hearted work. But somewhere we have to strike the balance and decide that we're going to move forward with what God has blessed us with and do the best we can with what we have.

Thanks for bringing this up. This has definitely made me think.


Joseph said...

perhaps you should pay for at least 80% of our dinners together next week at Annual Conference. If you can reach that level, buddy, you are more than proficient in my book!!