“More valuable than gold is a man or woman skilled in their craft.” – Anonymous

You don’t have to be Mother Teresa to know that people hold more value than material possessions, but do we invest in them the same we would in buildings or new sound equipment? 

It is important to constantly invest into those closest to you. This is how multiplication occurs and is really one of the highest calls for leadership. 

Relational and personal investment can come in several forms. You can spend time, energy, and resources developing yourself and those around you. This is so important, especially if you plan to be with these people for the long haul. 

By investing in other people, you are essentially trying to work yourself out of the job (in a good way). How many times have we seen a pastor focus so intensely on building their ministry, only to neglect pouring into the leaders around him? Then, once they retire or pass away, there is no one ready to take their place! Some churches stop altogether because of this, while others are forced to welcome a new lead pastor, unfamiliar with their culture. 

Our ministries are not meant to be our legacies. The people whom we train and influence are meant to be our greatest legacy. Read that again if you need to.

The Mina Test (Finding Your Multipliers) 

Although all people are incredibly valuable, we aren’t supposed to invest in everyone. 

We are meant to invest in multipliers – or those who bring increase beyond your own initial effort. Why is it essential to be selective with the people in whom we invest? Well imagine for a second the following scenario: 

You have decided to pour your time and energy into discipling a young man. You soon come to find out that he was apathetic, lazy, selfish, and had no desire to change. You would take time out of your busy schedule to meet with him for coffee before work, but he was often late or texted you at the last moment to cancel. You made plans to go through the book of Romans together, but whenever you called him to discuss the reading, he had forgotten or was simply “too busy.” Despite your requests, he never volunteered for any of the church’s ministries or services. This would go on for several months until he grew tired of feeling guilty and began avoiding you. Eventually, he stopped going to church altogether. 

Now, mind you, this may be an extreme example, but placed in this pastor’s shoes, would you feel that the resources you have poured out were well invested? 

Of course not. Not when there were dozens of other young people in your church, hungry for discipleship and wanting to make a difference in their community. If you do not carefully consider whom you should invest in, not only will you become burnt out, but often there will be worthy individuals who miss out because you instantly gave yourself to the first person you could find. 

Don’t be so eager to form leaders beneath you that you neglect to see if they are up to the challenge of following you. 

How then do you find your multipliers? 

Simple: you test them. 

Let’s see what our wise Savior himself had to say on the subject. A great example of this concept can be found in Luke 19:12-26… 

12 He [Jesus] said: “A man of noble birth went to a distant country to have himself appointed king and then to return. 13 So he called ten of his servants and gave them ten minas. ‘Put this money to work,’ he said, ‘until I come back.’ 14 “But his subjects hated him and sent a delegation after him to say, ‘We don’t want this man to be our king.’ 15 “He was made king, however, and returned home. Then he sent for the servants to whom he had given the money, in order to find out what they had gained with it. 16 “The first one came and said, ‘Sir, your mina has earned ten more.’ 17 “‘Well done, my good servant!’ his master replied. ‘Because you have been trustworthy in a very small matter, take charge of ten cities.’ 18 “The second came and said, ‘Sir, your mina has earned five more.’ 19 “His master answered, ‘You take charge of five cities.’ 20 “Then another servant came and said, ‘Sir, here is your mina; I have kept it laid away in a piece of cloth. 21 I was afraid of you, because you are a hard man. You take out what you did not put in and reap what you did not sow.’22 “His master replied, ‘I will judge you by your own words, you wicked servant! You knew, did you, that I am a hard man, taking out what I did not put in, and reaping what I did not sow? 23 Why then didn’t you put my money on deposit, so that when I came back, I could have collected it with interest?’ 24 “Then he said to those standing by, ‘Take his mina away from him and give it to the one who has ten minas.’ 25 “‘Sir,’ they said, ‘he already has ten!’ 26 “He replied, ‘I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but as for the one who has nothing, even what he has will be taken away. 

It’s important to understand what the king was trying to do. His goal was not simply to make more money while out of town. No, it was all a test. 

One “mina” in those days was equivalent to about $10,000 in our present day. That may seem like quite a bit to us, but to a king over several nations – it was only a means to test his servants. Notice what he offers to the first faithful servant in return for his good stewardship…10 entire cities. Sometimes we read through Bible passages without thinking about their real life application. 

Could you imagine being asked to manage $10,000, turning it into $110,000 (ten more minas), then to be given ten cities in return? We’re talking cities here! It’s likely that you know of someone who has made over $110,000, but it is unlikely that they were ever given a city to rule over for doing so – nevertheless ten of them. 

The king needed to know how each of these servants would respond when given responsibility. 

Get this – out of the ten men he entrusted with his money, he only gained two faithful servants. Do not be discouraged if you see the same thing happen in your own ministry. Most people talk a good game of commitment or a heart for change, but few will prove themselves when the rubber meets the road. 

Don’t be discouraged if only 20% of your members volunteer for the big event, even though you asked all of them to join you. Without saying it directly, Jesus shows us that this can be expected when working with people.

So how does this apply to you? You might not have $10,000 to use as a test (nor should you try to use it as such), but there are certain things you can do in order to decide who your multipliers are. 

It is important to judge (or discern) people by their actions, not by their words or good intentions. Using a mina is a great way to see if they are serious. In our present day, a “mina” is an assignment or a challenge that can be used to check someone’s interest level, faithfulness, and ability to multiply. It is also imperative to give a specific deadline or date of completion. 

Often, a week can be a good amount of time to accommodate for their possibly busy schedule, but simply use discernment to decide what deadline to create for that specific assignment and individual. 

When trying to decide which of your potential leaders to invest in, consider some of these possible mines: 

» Give them an mp3 recording you would like them to listen to. Establish a deadline that will work for them, on which you will call to see what they got out of the teaching. 

» Ask them to read several articles and write a summary about how the techniques taught could be used to better the ministry. Give them a specific date when you want the document emailed to you. 

» If you have a big event coming up, ask them to manage one aspect of it (decorations, invitations, greeters, etc. – depending upon their giftings), and ask them to assemble a team to do so. This will show whether or not they can lead others to take action. 

» If you run a youth ministry, and one of your leaders wants to start interning underneath you, consider asking him or her to pour some of their time and attention into a few of the regular students in the ministry. Ask them to take two or three students (of the same gender) out for coffee or lunch in the next two to three weeks. After they do so, sit down with them and ask them about their experience with the students.

If you ask the Holy Spirit, He’ll give you some more ideas that apply to you and your individual ministry. No matter what you do, the point is to allow people a chance to prove their commitment and character by completing a certain task you place in their lap, within a certain amount of time. 

This is a phenomenal way to determine whom you should invest in.