Stories of failure are sobering. You ask me why I don’t quit. The reason I don’t is that, thank God, there are other stories, too. They center around a question I am often asked, “Is it really worth investing your life in people?” Let me tell you how worthwhile it is.
Paul was newly married and a youth director in his church. But he was fired from that job‐ the job he was depending on to support his wife and to see him through school. He was fired, not for doing a poor job as a youth director, but because he couldn’t preach‐ which he had not been hired to do.
I thought the young man should know why he was fired, so I asked him to come down to my office. I told him he was fired because he didn’t know how to get along with adults. He had been called to work with young people and had done an excellent job with them, but unless he learned how to get along with adults, he would always be in trouble. I then asked him what he was going to do with his schooling, and at that point he didn’t know.
I counseled with Paul for a while, then told him I would help him financially with his schooling, but there would be one requirement on his part. Every time he came to get his monthly check he would have to spend two hours with me. We started on that basis, and I began to invest my life in his.
Besides meeting with him regularly, I took him on trips with me. I remembered that he ha been fired for not being able to preach, so on one trip to Weatherford, Texas, I decided we’d work on that weak point. I asked him, “Paul what do you know the most about in your Christian life?”
He thought a while, then replied, “I believe maybe the quiet time.”
I said, “Ok, what do you know about the quiet time?” He began to tell me, and I said, “Write that down.” That day on the way to Weatherford and back we developed a message on the quiet time, which I believe he is still preaching. It had emerged out of his life.
Some months later Paul met a fellow student by the name of Bob and began to invest in his life some of the things I had been sharing with him. Still later Bob became the youth director in my church, so I carried on with him where Paul had left off. Bob led a pair of twins, Rick and Bob, to Christ, then began to invest his life in theirs. One of them is now a pastor, the other a Christian education director. The first Bob also led Lynn to the Lord, trained him individually over a period of time, and he is now about to enter a Christian education ministry on a full‐time basis.
These men have in turn led others to Christ and poured their lives into them, and that chain in the ministry goes on reproducing. And it is only one of a series of chains that began even before Charlie Riggs started investing his life in mine.
Is it really worth investing our lives in people? As far as I am concerned it certainly is.
Here are seven generations, and the chain is still growing.
Rick, Bob, and Lynn
Multiplication works. Discipleship as a lifestyle can and will reproduce to many generations.
– From “Making Disciples,” Gene Warr. Used by permission of the author.