Friday, September 21, 2007


It's not necessary to do extraordinary things to get extraordinary results. Warren Buffett has become one of the richest men in the world by being a disciplined investor - buying stock in good companies at good prices and watching the companies grow. Not really very complicated, but very effective. In a similar way, it is possible to have a very effective ministry by understanding the values of simplicity, focus, compounding interest and the laity.

The value of simplicity. Warren Buffett keeps it simple. He was heavily influenced by Franciscan Monk William of Occam who put forth the idea that the simplest explanation was usually the best explanation. Here's what Buffett has to say:

• The business schools reward difficult, complex behavior more than simple behavior, but simple behavior is more effective.

• There seems to be some perverse human characteristic that likes to make easy things difficult.

Today, church has become some complicated and difficult that you need to be a professional to do it. When you boil it down, it's really just about loving God and loving people.

The value of focus. Warren Buffett does not try to do everything. He does a few things well. He sticks with what he knows. Here's what Buffett has to say:

• I can't be involved in fifty or seventy-five things. That's a Noah's ark way of investing - you end up with a zoo that way. I like to put meaningful amounts of money in a few things.

• If we can't find things within our circle of competence, we don't expand the circle. We'll wait.

• Diversification is a protection against ignorance. It makes very little sense for those who know what they are doing.

• Why not invest your assets in the companies you really like? As Mae West said, "Too much of a good thing can be wonderful."

It is not very sexy to "stick to your knitting." But it can be pretty effective. CTK has been blessed by prioritizing "worship, small groups and outreach." We've put our investment in a few things that are life-changing and life-giving and it has paid off.

The value of compounding interest. Warren Buffett did not get rich over night. He believes you win with the running game, not the long-bomb. He invests for the long term. Here is what he says:

• You should invest like a Catholic marries - for life.

• Recommending something to be held for thirty years is a level of self-sacrifice you'll rarely see in a monastery, let alone a brokerage house.

• No matter how great the talent or effort, some things just take time: You can't produce a baby in one month by getting nine women pregnant.

Studies show that there is a correspondence between church growth and a pastor's tenure. It takes time to build a ministry and even more to set in motion a movement.

The value of the laity. Warren Buffett is the classic "everyman" - famed for driving around Omaha, Nebraska in an old Volkswagen Beetle. Buying a great business at a great price and holding it for twenty years is something anyone can do. Mary Buffet says,

• Every profession is a conspiracy against the laity....Priests of any profession need complexity to keep the laity from performing their priestly magic.

The "professionalization" of business has created the illusion that we need inside information or professionals to do it. People appreciate the fact that CTK is structured to allow the average person to have a ministry.

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