The Importance of Vision
Recently I was browsing at the financial section of the newspaper and I came upon a comment from a business writer. He commented that there was a mantra in market circles, ‘Never sell CSL.’
He was referring to the darling of the Australian stock market, listed company CSL. This is a biotechnology company specializing in blood plasma and vaccines among other products. It is responsible for the flu shots we all get in April and is involved in the search for a vaccine to immunize us against Covid-19.This company was founded in 1923 as The Commonwealth Serum Laboratory and over the years has worked treatments for diabetes, diphtheria, polio and HIV.
In 1994 it was floated on the stock market for $2.30 per share. As I write the share price is a whopping $328 having reached $350 just before the pandemic disrupted the world. $10,000 invested in 1994 would be worth $1.3 Million today with dividends of $140,000. I have heard stories of grateful investors who have bought houses for their children from the profits. There are a number of reasons for CSL’s success. They do business in a segment of the health space that is growing and profitable. They have made some judicious acquisitions that has positioned them well in overseas markets such as the USA. They do not pay big dividends, constantly recycling profits back into the business. A significant proportion of those profits are spent in Research and Development, constantly ensuring a pipeline of profitable new products.
However what caught my eye was the following statement about the CEO Paul Perreault, who was speaking at a Health Care conference in San Francisco (The Australian 18/1/2019).
CSL’s success comes down to a single sentence Mr (Paul) Perreault uttered at the conference:
‘We continue to deliver.’
Investors, whether they are intuitional investors or just mums and dads, will continue to buy shares in a company that year in and year out delivers consistent returns and just keeps on getting better. This article is not about the stock market. I certainly don’t have any desire to imply that I have any expertise in investment. I am not recommending buying or selling CSL. However I do believe the words, ‘We continue to deliver’ are an appropriate aspiration for any church leaders.
Church leaders desire people to support, or ‘invest’ both time and money in the ministry. Parishioners have many different calls on their time and are being wooed by many worthy causes for their dollars. So if you, as a church leader, want your parishioners to support your local ministry, you have to make it worth supporting.
Now I completely agree that all true spiritual fruit come from God. St Paul wrote:
I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. 1 Cor 3:6
But that does not deny ministers’ responsibility to persevere, to labour effectively and productively to ‘continue to deliver’ as much as it relies on them.
Thus I always believed that if I wanted people to support the ministry at Figtree, I needed to project a tangible life changing, God glorifying vision of the future and demonstrate year in and year out that we were making demonstrable progress toward that goal. If you do this, people absolutely love it and will give their resources to support it. My desire was that every year we would make a specific advance in our ministry so that more people in different demographics were being blessed and hearing the life changing message of Jesus and growing in their faith. In addition there was always some form of building improvement to support the ministry advancement. People could both see and experience progress.
So how about you? If you haven’t done anything like this, start small, pray hard, make sure you deliver, celebrate success and thank supporters. Thus you will build trust to make further advances the next year and the next. If you do this consistently it is unlikely that lack of money will be a problem in resourcing your ministry.
The gospel of Jesus is far more powerful than a vaccine. So perhaps, ‘We continue to deliver in God’s strength could be a good slogan for you too.
For more on this topic see my book Giving Generously. Buy the Book.