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The "15-70-15 Rule" of Involvement

In his work with International Justice (a Christian ministry that works to free the victims of human trafficking), Gary Haugen says he has noticed what he calls "the 15-70-15 Rule." Haugen applies this rule to criminal justice systems around the world—police forces, court systems, etc. But the same rule applies to many other areas of the Christian life—leadership, service, evangelism. Haugen writes:

The rule has no real scientific precision, but it expresses the observation that, within criminal justice systems in the developing world, it seems that about 15 percent of the personnel wake up every day intent on using their coercive power and authority for [selfish or corrupt] purposes. Another 15 percent wake up every day with an earnest intent to do good and to serve the public. The vast majority—the remaining 70 percent—are simply waiting to see which of these two factions is going to prevail … As long as the brutal and corrupt 15 percent is prevailing, the rest of the 70 percent are going to go along and join in the dysfunction and abuse—because it … would be risky to oppose the dominant ethos.

Possible Preaching Angles: (1) Justice; Injustice; Servanthood—This rule not only applies to issues of injustice, poverty, and social justice, it can also apply to Christian service or church membership. In other words, are we part of the 70 percent who just wait to see which way the wind is blowing? Or will we take the initiative to pursue what is right and good? (2) Leaders; Leadership—Leaders don't wait to analyze the percentages. They take action for the good no matter what others are doing.

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