I recently had the opportunity to sit down and listen to one of Buffalo New York’s top developers, Nick Sinatra, share about his business, his path to success and his heart for his community. He shared about his successes, his failures and journey’s ups and downs and he shared the key to how he stays passionate about developing in his city. When he shared a story about his first investor is when the lightbulb went off for me and it has stuck with me since. Nick wanted to start a development company, but had no capital to buy any property. He talked to many people about it (Including a pretty crazy meeting years ago with President Elect Donald Trump who told him Buffalo was a lost cause!), and he was told no. A lot. In a chance meeting with a gentlemen on a drive home from a previous meeting is when he found his first yes. The gentlemen listened to his sales pitch, pulled out his checkbook and wrote a check right there on the spot, that usually doesn’t happen. Since then, this gentlemen has become his best investor since.
But I realized something about Nick’s story that I think is worth sharing. When Nick walked into that investor’s house, Nick immediately received a check. The investor received nothing. When Nick buys property and puts lots of money into a property the community receives a renovated piece of property to enjoy. They receive a new home at an affordable price. They receive a new place to shop. Their life is immediately improved and Nick is left to foot the bill for a while. When I preach from my pulpit the listener receives some pretty amazing life advice (If I do say so myself) and I am just tired at the end. When I mentor people they receive a neatly wrapped package of wisdom in 30 minutes, that took me 17 years to learn and experience, I get nothing back from them at that moment. When I buy a family in need a Thanksgiving dinner they immediately feel the benefit of my hard work getting people to give, and if I get a Thank You in return, that’s it.
After a while, that investor got his investment back, plus some from Nick. Nick will charge rent, maybe sell the property and get his investment back. My listeners will hear my message and grow from it and pour back into my church. In a few years my mentees will take what I teach them and do better than I with responsibilities I give them. I’m promised that my investment of a thanksgiving dinner will be returned back to me pressed down, shaken together and running over.
Community development is all about long term investments and patient returns. You see the fruit in what you invest into, before you see the returns in your own life. Someone else gets the money, to build someone else a home. Someone else gets to live in that home. You have now improved other’s lives before your own is improved.
People development is all about long term investments and patient returns. If you want to see the fruit of your investment pay off in your own life, you’d better be willing to wait a while, maybe even an eternity. I don’t know how many crowns I have waiting for me in heaven, but there sure are a lot of people whose life I’ve seen get better because of something I did, because of a long term investment I made.
So I walked out of that class with a long term mindset on the investments I’ve made. I walked out a little more patient, waiting to see the returns. Nick didn’t talk about making more money, he talked about improving people’s lives. Of course he’s made a lot of money, but he also made a lot of people’s lives better before his got better. I realized that my job is a lot like Nick’s. He sees city blocks in ruin and asks “What can I put there?” he sees a piece of property and asks “How can I make it better.” I see people and say “What can I invest into that person?” I see a person and ask “How can I make them better?”
I’m a developer just like Nick, and I have to realize that developing takes long term investment and patient results. The developer improves others before he personally sees the return on his investment. A people developer is the same way. God fill up my account so I can continue to develop others!
Mike Wing is the Lead Pastor of Lockport Christian Church. His amazing wife’s name is Amber and he has 3 awesome boys. Abram is 5, and Eli & Jadon are twins that are almost 2. He’s had the privilege of living in Lockport, NY for almost 10 years and is really excited to see God bringing new businesses and buildings in the city and town where he lives. He has a huge passion to see community built within his church and believes the best thing about his church are the people in it, and seeing them grow in relationship with God and each other.