MB Seminary provides leadership development and ministry training through MinistryLift so leaders and churches can increase their capacity to love God more deeply and serve others more effectively. MinistryLift builds capacity through workshops, training videos, and a variety of ministry resources. Learn more about MinistryLift here

How to Grow Wisdom

  • 23 November 2017
  • Keith Reed

Michelangelo's Creation of AdamThe alarm on my phone goes off every afternoon at 1:05, serving as my daily reminder to pray for wisdom. This idea came from Mark Wessner, MB Seminary President, who chose the time because of its closeness to James 1:5 which says, "If anyone lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all and without finding fault, and it will be given to you." 

If you want to become wiser, praying to receive wisdom is the logical first step. But there are additional ways we can develop wisdom and help others do the same. Here are some suggestions for growing greater wisdom in your life. 

Pray for Wisdom

Asking for wisdom is the very foundation of wisdom. Praying for wisdom is an honest confession that greater insight and perspective is needed before being able to act with proper understanding. This request requires humility and earnestness and shows reverence for God from whom wisdom flows.

The wisest people I know are the same people who continually ask God for wisdom. And yet, those who need wisdom the most are the ones who despise it (Proverbs 1:7). This contrast goes beyond irony―it is the distinguishing mark between the foolish and the wise. The wise look beyond themselves but the eyes of the foolish see only themselves.

Key verses: James 1:5; 1 Kings 3; Proverbs 1:7
Possible next step: remind yourself to pray for wisdom by setting an alarm for 1:05.  

Study the Bible

Wisdom flows from God's character and represents His knowledge and understanding. We encounter wisdom when we encounter God. Reading and meditating on God's Word allows us to soak in God's thoughts so His perspective becomes our own.

How to Create an Effective Survey

  • 22 November 2017
  • Randy Wollf

Taking a survey can feel like a chore. The questions are long, the format is confusing, and there's often no follow-up to the findings. There are lots of reasons why churches choose not to use surveys, but this doesn't change the fact that results from a well-designed survey can provide you with a wealth of information. For churches in particular, survey findings can help you determine your next steps to accomplish your ministry goals. 

The key is designing a survey that people will want to take. Here are several tips on how to design excellent surveys that will provide you with excellent data. You can also watch the accompanying video for additional teaching on each point.   

1. Establish a clear purpose  

If you can't state the purpose of your survey in one sentence, don't go any further. You'll be wasting your time and the time of those who do it.  

Once you identify your purpose, make sure to communicate this effectively. When people understand purpose, they feel empowered. Instead of feeling like a chore that has to get done, the survey can function as a tool that will serve their leaders well.  

2. Create incentives 

Simple incentives like a drawing for a gift card can often motivate people to complete a survey. Plus, a unique giveaway can also serve as a reminder that the survey is happening. 

In addition to physical incentives, help your audience understand that their feedback is an important part of your decision-making process. While it is true that people want to be heard, people will be even more motivated to share their thoughts if they feel assured that their opinions will make a difference.  

3. Craft every question to serve the overall purpose of the survey 

4 Mistakes Leaders Make During Finance Updates

  • 16 November 2017
  • Keith Reed

Church finance updates can do more damage than good. The message often feels the same—church giving is behind but there’s a chance to meet budget by the end of the year if everyone picks it up.

Have you ever considered how this message can be interpreted by your congregation? 

Don’t get me wrong—much good can come from a carefully delivered financial update. But there are many things church leaders can say that communicate the wrong message. Here are four messages to avoid when giving a financial update: 

1. Don’t apologize

Of the 38 parables that Jesus taught, 16 address the theme of money and possessions. And yet, many church leaders feel the need to apologize whenever money is discussed.

Let’s remember that financial matters are primarily matters of the heart. Church finances go well beyond the numbers; they paint a picture of church health and ministry accomplishment. Wise stewardship is important, mission accomplishment is important, dependence on God is important, transparent conversation is important. Don’t apologize for any of it. 

2. Don’t make it about the budget 

A church budget is simply the financial means by which a church fulfills its mission. But many financial updates treat a balanced budget like it’s the bullseye. Let’s think about this for a moment—what is more inspiring—mission accomplishment or a balanced budget? Did Jesus establish the church to make disciples or to finish the year in the black? 

I’m not discounting the importance of fiduciary responsibility—it’s critical. But it shouldn't be talked about as if it’s the ultimate thing. A balanced budget is the means, not the ends. The budget doesn’t make disciples; the budget enables the community to be equipped to make disciples. So instead of emphasizing bar graphs and numbers, tell stories of how your church is fulfilling its mission as a way of highlighting the importance of giving to your church. 

3. Don’t give a halftime speech 

Too many finance updates sound like mellow halftime speeches that frustrated coaches deliver to their underachieving teams. The tone of updates like this leave the church feeling like they need to “pick it up” or “dig a bit deeper” if there’s any hope of catching up before the fiscal year ends.

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