Are You Growing? Or Just Maintaining?

By Phil Cooke


whitecarI 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.

Source: Phil Cooke. Image by Les Chatfield.


Phil Cooke

Phil Cooke

Phil Cooke, Ph.D. is a media producer and strategist. His new book for church and nonprofit leaders is "Unique: Telling Your Story in the Age of Branding and Social Media." Find out more at