17% ain’t bad

we are in the midst of some very significant changes in our campus ministry. and with change comes vision, communicating that vision, and praying that the people you lead catch that vision.

ideally, you hope that all of your people catch the vision.

but that just ain’t gonna happen.

in fact, something i’ve noticed in the Scriptures points to a concept that both comforts and scares me.

the concept is this: if you can get 17% of your people to follow your lead, you’ve done OK.

i get that number from (funnily enough) the old testament book of numbers, chapters 13 and 14. here’s some context:

God’s people have been wandering around for awhile, waiting for the promised land. they are getting close and God asks moses to send some spies into the land to scout it out. moses chooses 12. they go. they look. they bring back souvenirs that show how abundantly good the land is.

when they report back to moses and the people, a guy named caleb essentially says, “the land is good. let’s go get it.” but the other 10 speak up, perhaps a bit louder, and say, “yes, the land is good. but the people living in there are too big for us. they’ll squash us like bugs. i say we stay away.” then caleb speaks up again, this time with a man named joshua, and they say, “no, God is bigger. he will help us take the land.”

do you see what’s happening? 12 went in to spy out the land. only 2 came back having caught the vision for what God was doing.

only 2 out of the 12. that’s 17%.

but God can do more with a willing 17% than with an unwilling 100%. Jesus also makes that clear; he could do more with 12 guys who caught the vision of the Kingdom than with the hundreds or thousands who didn’t.

you betcha i am praying for more than 17% of our students to catch this new vision. but i will sleep a lot better tonight knowing that God can do so much with just 17%.


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