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

More Than I Can Imagine

  • 11 January 2018
  • Keith Reed

person looking at night skyThe prayer that Paul writes in the third chapter of his letter to the Ephesians is as inspirational as it is poetic: "Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine..." It's commonly cited in benedictions and prayers, and yet it never seems to tire.  

The ability to not only do more, but immeasurably more is astonishing. But to do immeasurably more than can be imagined? This is, well, hard to imagine. Because our imagination is—theoretically—limitless. 

This reminds me of an amusing exchange between Luke Skywalker and Han Solo in A New Hope when the former tries to convince his reluctant partner to rescue Princess Leia who is scheduled to be terminated. Faced with the need to inspire immediate action, Luke appeals to Han's primary motivation:  

Luke: She's rich.
Han: Rich?
Luke: Rich, powerful. Listen, if you were to rescue her, the reward would be...
Han: What?
Luke: Well, more wealth than you can imagine!
Han: I don't know, I can imagine quite a bit!

My imagination can feel boundless about some things—tangible things like wealth, possessions, and experiences. But how often do I imagine more of Christ's power at work within me? How often do you or I pray for his glory to be made evident through the way that our lives reflect his kingdom? How often do we dream about what immeasurably more might mean in our lives and ministry? How often do we marvel at the sheer vastness of the possibilities? 

Perhaps it begins with mustering up more imagination about the things that matter most. 

Here's to more hope, more imagination, and more of Christ's power at work within us.  

Keith Reed is the Associate Director of MinistryLift at MB Seminary

photo by Greg Rakozy on Unsplash 

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 

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