The 80/20 Principle Can Benefit Your Family Or Ministry

Kara Powell | Jul 18, 2012

Our offices at FYI are moving to a different location on Fuller’s campus, so I’m taking some time this summer to sort through files and recycle probably 50% of what’s in them. As I was looking over notes from various meetings in my 8 years of being at FYI, I was struck in 2 ways:

1. So many of these meetings yielded amazing fruit.

2. So many of these meetings yielded nothing, other than a good conversation.

Obviously, you never know for sure which meetings and which experiences will yield the most fruit. But as I was sorting my files, I was reminded of some recent conversations I’ve had with my husband and other friends about the 80/20 Principle. Derived from the Pareto Principle, the 80/20 Principle states that 80% of your results comes from 20% of your work. So for instance, 80% of an individual’s sales come from 20% of that individual’s clients.

Dave and I have been asking: what’s the 20% in our families that yields the most fruit. For us, it’s 3 things:

1. Time away together.

2. Powell Time - our regular ritual of dividing up our kids, with each of us taking 1 or 2 of our kids to do something “fun” and then have a special conversation (complete with journals each kid chose for themselves on their first Powell Time).

3. School projects - this is definitely Dave’s specialty. I’m more of a “let’s get this Annie Oakley Puppet done as soon as we can” sort of parent (and I don’t even own a glue gun). Dave is more of a “this Annie Oakley Puppet isn’t interfering with what our family’s about; this is what our family’s about” sort of parent (and he came into the marriage with TWO glue guns). By the way, the conversation about the Annie Oakley Puppet I’ve alluded to here actually happened. I married a very wise man.

So we’re trying to make more of an effort to get time away and do Powell Time this summer, and carve out time for school projects during the school year.

What, in your family or friendships, brings the most fruit?

How about in your ministry? Which events/experiences seem to most touch students? How can you concentrate on those and eliminate some of the rest?

Kara Powell

Dr. Kara Powell is the Executive Director of the Fuller Youth Institute (FYI), a faculty member at Fuller Theological Seminary, and Fuller's Chief of Leadership Formation. Named by Christianity Today as one of “50 Women You Should Know,” Kara serves as a Youth and Family Strategist for Orange, and also speaks regularly at parenting and leadership conferences. Kara is the author or coauthor of a number of books, including Growing Young, Growing With, The Sticky Faith Guide for Your Family, Sticky Faith Curriculum, Can I Ask That?, Deep Justice Journeys, Deep Justice in a Broken World, Deep Ministry in a Shallow World, and the Good Sex Youth Ministry Curriculum. Kara lives with her husband Dave and their three children, Nathan, Krista, and Jessica, in Southern California.

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