50 Years of Investing

I don’t post it on my resume, but my first job was a paper route. A couple of times a week I would get a bundle of The Herald American delivered to my front door. I would fold them, rubber band them, and toss them into the back of our Pontiac Bonneville station wagon. Then my Dad would drive me up and down the 4 long streets of my route as I sat on the back tailgate tossing them right and left toward the porch of each of my customers.

As a ten-year-old kid, I could think of plenty of things I wanted—but didn’t really need. My Dad helped me out by setting up an investment account at what was then the Church Development Fund and now CDF Capital so I could save for some bigger things. On March 10, 1971, 50 years ago this month, he took me down to the office to set up that first account for $20. I still have the passbook. At the end of the month, I got my first interest posting—9 cents!

I have a few more bucks at CDF Capital now than I did then, but one thing has remained the same. When I invest at CDF Capital, I know exactly what my money is doing—helping churches grow.

By the time my Dad helped me open that first investment he had already been serving on the Board of Directors of CDF Capital for 6 years, beginning in 1965. He continued his service through 1989, a total of 24 years. It was that same year that I started working for CDF Capital. Between us we have had continuous service at the company now for 56 of CDF Capital’s 67-year history.

One of my greatest CDF Capital memories dates back to 1969 when our family took a trip from our home near Los Angeles down to Tijuana for the day. Tijuana was like the Costco of the time, where you could buy in bulk, get items at a steep discount, and spend the day wandering up and down the “aisles.” On our way down Interstate 5, driving toward the Mexican border, we jumped off the freeway to look at a church site that CDF Capital had recently purchased. As we looked across the vacant hills my Dad told me how this area was going to grow with a lot of new homes and that a church would be built on this site.

Shortly after I began my CDF Capital career, I found myself on that same site, and it felt eerily familiar. I took some photos of the church’s buildings, as I often do. Much to my surprise, when I looked at some older photos in the company archives there were photos of that site which I had visited in 1969, now home to Mission Viejo Christian Church. The church is now surrounded by thousands of homes, many of which were built on those vacant hillsides I looked across as a nine-year-old.

This story could be told over and over again—how CDF Capital was there for a church from its very beginning and helped grow their campus while growing people in Christ. As a kid, I never dreamed that I would be a part of such a great, Kingdom-expanding ministry. It was less than a year after visiting that church site in Mission Viejo that I became a CDF Capital investor myself. Now, 50 years later, the dollars I invested have been used time and time and time again to provide the financing churches have needed to leverage their growth in communities far beyond Southern California to regions throughout the United States.

Since that time, I have had the privilege of working with churches in 40 of those states and have watched over a billion dollars go “out the door” to help churches obtain the tools they have needed to grow, in their neighborhoods and then around the world.

I haven’t had to put together a resume for over 3 decades now, but I guess if I did the latest job on the list would read “CDF Capital, February 1989-present.” When I started that first job throwing The Herald American from the back of my Dad’s station wagon, I had no idea it would lead me to where I am today. But here I am. 50 years later. Still investing at CDF Capital. Still helping churches grow.

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