Invest don’t Spend

As a student in a missions training program in South America I heard one statement that has had a great influence on the style of ministry I have and desire to have.

I was told by W. Austin Gardner, Pastor of Vision Baptist Church, that I should “invest time into people and not just spend time with them“.

To many of the people in the room it may have been something they had heard him say before or maybe they did not catch the truth he was giving. I went home that day and looked up those two words.

I found out that..

spend:to pass (time) in a particular manner, place, etc

invest: to use, give, or devote (time, talent, etc.), as for a purpose or to achieve something

This two words and their definitions go through my head everytime I am with my students. It makes the difference in me becoming a leader trainer or an overgrown baby sitter.

I take this principle into consideration when I plan an activity. I ask will it allow me an opportunity to spend or invest time into the students.  It does not mean we only sit in desks and they take notes but I want to do things that will create environments where they will ask the questions I want them to ask. (example: Why don’t you want us to listen to a certain station on the radio? Why can’t the guys and girls do that together?)

Often times, these are the type of questions youth workers work at avoiding. Why? It is always easier to spend then invest. If you don’t believe me look at your checking account. Which was more fun.. the spending or the investing.

With this principle in mind everytime I walk into a classroom, on the basketball court with a teenager, or sit down to eat a meal with my youth I ask myself during this time how can I make an investment and add value to my teens. ..

If I could ask for one thing in your life, I would ask that you become a person who is intentional about adding value to the people around you!

Here is a lesson by John Maxwell on how to add value

Four ways to add value to people:

1. You have to value the people.
2. You have to make yourself more valuable.
3. You have to know and relate to what people value. We are first listeners, then learners, then leaders. The only way you and I ever connect is by caring to listen.
4. I have to do the things that God values.

About the author

Trent serves as an Associate Pastor at Vision Baptist Church in Alpharetta, GA. He writes, speaks, and helps lead events that encourage people to "pioneer" in the work of sending.

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