15/15/70

Preparations for Easter have kept me from posting lately- I’m sure many of you know just what I mean. Writing charts, scheduling rehearsals, figuring out how to translate a ropes course to a set design and trying to convince our pastor to let us put a zip line inside the church. So far I’ve gotten about 15 “NO!” answers, but I’m not giving up yet. Your basic Easter prep.

I’ve been reading a great new book called the Worship Smartbook by Anthony Skinner. Anthony is a friend of mine, an incredibly creative recording artist/writer, and a gifted worship leader. His book advertises itself to be full of “actionable tips for real world worship” and, even though I’m only about halfway through its pages, it’s proven to be exactly that. I’ve shared a few of the chapters with members of our worship ministry and found the tips to be applicable both to new and seasoned worship leaders.

The other day, I read the chapter The Worship Leader’s Law of Averages: 15/15/70 Rule. It’s a very helpful reminder for any leader that:

Fifteen percent of the people will go with you… anywhere, anytime.
Fifteen percent will typically stay where they are.
Seventy percent are up for grabs and want a leader.

Whether these percentages are exact or not (sometimes it feels like that second group is 70%!), this is something that artist-leaders, those of us who lead from a place that is often thinner-skinned and more sensitive to forms of rejection, MUST learn and repeat to ourselves over and over. There are people who will love what we do no matter what, people who will hate it no matter what, and a whole bunch of people in the middle ready to explore with us and see where God is going. This is true not only of the congregations we lead week to week but also our worship teams, volunteers, and other small groups in which we play a leadership role. For us, ignoring this law of averages leads to frustration, ineffectiveness, and ultimately some form of burn out.

Anthony says, “don’t waste your time second-guessing yourself – no one has it all together.” This may sound passive or almost even disengaged, especially to people given to introspection. But I absolutely love it. It assumes that we take our calling seriously (we do) and that we are constantly seeking ways to be more faithful and just plain better at it (we are). It also assumes that we receive our confidence from knowing who we are in God’s eyes and being comfortable in that skin. Anthony’s book opens with this, in fact. When we truly own the fact that we are called and doing our best to follow that call, there’s freedom to no longer fixate on either 15%. I’ve seen many new leaders who worry way too much about the 15% who won’t follow. I’ve done it myself and it can be paralyzing. But equally as ineffective is to only ride the high of the 15% who are always complimentary, always positive, and always right there with you.

This Easter, I’m aiming for the 70%. I’m glad for the existence of both types of 15%-ers and won’t ignore them but I’m on the lookout for the person who has that “I can take it or leave it” look on his face about faith. The person who is interested enough to walk through the door, but not guaranteed to stay or to return. I was that person, and I’m glad someone showed that kind of interest in me.

Do you struggle with the 15/15/70 rule? Do you agree or disagree with it? Let me know in the comments. And then go buy the Worship Smartbook. And check out this great interview with Anthony that Rob Still posted last month.

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