Creative Leadership

Are You Growing Your Organization or Just Maintaining?

I was reading the “parable of the talents” from Matthew 25:14 this morning.  You know the story:  A master gave 3 servants money before he left on a long trip.  The first two invested the money, but the third, fearful, buried his in the ground.  When the master returned, he was outraged the third servant had not just failed to grow his portion, but didn’t even put it in the bank where it would receive a little interest.

In reading that story I was reminded of all the church, nonprofit, or ministry leaders out there who have been given a treasure, but then buried it in the ground.  For some, their parents left them leadership of the organization.  Others were entrusted with important roles in other ways.  But for all, the question becomes:  What have you done with it?

I know too many ministry organizations that are in second generation hands, and that generation is still living off the equity of the founder.  Some are still milking the mailing list, but are doing little or nothing to deserve that financial support.  Others are paying off debt that came because of their poor planning.  Still others are just paralyzed because they wouldn’t know an original idea if it hit them in the head.

If you’re giving to an organization like this that’s burying it’s treasure, then stop.  Re-focus your financial support on an organization that’s actually accomplishing something.

And if you’re in a leadership role in an organization like this, then put up or shut up.  The old days are gone.  Stop being too insecure to bring in real talent that can help the organization move forward.

Or shut it down.  Because there’s nothing worse than burying your treasure in the dirt.

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  1. Unearned leadership given over to a family member and entrusting them to care for the ministry has proven, in my current experience, to be like handing the fox the key to the chicken house. The entire family is entitled to possessing the key and everything in the chicken house. They have many talents and a great deal of potential, but why would they invest in them when the return on slothfulness and apathy pay off great dividends and reap profitable rewards? Keeping family employed because family could never survive a “real” job in the real world is top priority. When everything has been given to one on a silver platter, why would one strive to work at investing their talents? The old days are not gone where I work, and those of us who are not family cannot move forward… in fact, we cannot move at all because of the dead weight we carry of those un-invested. I’m learning firsthand about all the things NOT to do in ministry and leadership…. and hiring family is not a good idea unless their talents have been invested.

  2. Nepotism (favoring family) and cronyism (favoring old friends) are the two silent killers of the Church. They turn the parable of the talents upside down by rewarding more resources to those who have produced the least fruit. The same could be said for bailing out banks.

  3. And for those who believe in unconditional eternal security or salvation by grace only…read what was the Master’s response to the unprofitable servant. (Matt. 25:30) Yes, we are saved by grace, but then…

    The book John, chapter 15 gives light to being productive for the Kingdom.

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