MinistryLift is about building capacity in people so they can increasingly love God and others more deeply and serve more effectively. We build capacity in individuals, teams, and churches through training events, coaching relationships, and a variety of ministry resources.

Dr. Randy Wollf is the director of MinistryLift and the assistant professor of leadership studies and practical theology at Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary (Langley, B.C. campus). Randy was a pastor, church planter, and missionary for 20 years before teaching at MBBS. The associate director is Keith Reed, who joined the MinistryLift team in 2015 after serving as an associate pastor for eight years.

Paying Interest or Making Interest?

  • Posted on: 18 September 2015
  • By: Keith Reed

“There are two kinds of people in our world: those who pay interest and those who make interest.” I heard Andy Stanley share this statement a number of years ago and I am reminded of it whenever I think about how to manage my financial resources.

It’s hard to imagine anyone wanting to pay interest instead of making it, but it easily happens when we don’t transfer our intentions into a plan. And sometimes the best motivation for making a plan is recognizing that our current pathway is headed toward trouble.

Mary Hunt is a bestselling author whose most recognizable book is called Debt-Proof Living. Here are her top warning signs that your interest-paying tendencies are headed toward dangerous debt trouble.* 

Four Ways to Help Youth Stick with Their Christian Faith

  • Posted on: 6 June 2015
  • By: Randy Wollf

Youth studying the BibleOne of the most important Canadian studies on helping youth stick with their faith is called Hemorrhaging Faith: Why and When Canadian Young Adults are Leaving, Staying and Returning to the Church.

This pivotal study contains survey responses from over 2,000 Canadian young adults and information gleaned from personal interviews of some of the respondents. It suggests several ways that parents, youth workers, children’s ministry staff and others in the church can help youth to continue to follow Jesus. Here are four of them:

Help Parents Engage Spiritually

One of the recurring themes that surfaced was that those who continue to be engaged in their local church often had parents who modelled an authentic faith. They saw their parents praying and reading the Bible. Yet, even more than that, they saw their parents living out their faith in a way that impacted their everyday lives. They were not afraid to show their children how a Christian worldview can help them navigate through the challenges and opportunities they face. The implication is that when we help parents continue to grow in their faith, their children benefit in faith-sustaining ways.

Facilitate “God Moments”

One of the key differences between those who stay in the church and those who leave is the extent to which they experienced God. Those who can recall answers to prayer or who experienced God in worship, service, community or in some other way are more likely to press on with God later in life. Many of those still tracking with God experienced Him in a profound way through camp or a short-term missions trip. The implication is that we need to create youth-friendly spaces (or encourage movement toward already created spaces) that help them experiment with and stretch their faith.

Invite Youth to be Vital Members of the Church Community

When youth feel like they truly belong in a church community, they are much more likely to stay within the church. In this kind of community, people care about them. Some even mentor them. Others in the church community see their gifts and encourage them to serve in meaningful ways. This gives youth an opportunity to make a difference – to feel like they are an integral part of the community. What are the implications for the rest of the church? Be friendly with youth. Include them in meaningful ways. Pray for and with them. Encourage them. Empower them to live out God’s call on their lives.

Make Christianity Relevant

Discerning and Implementing Strategic Priorities for Your Ministry

  • Posted on: 1 April 2015
  • By: Randy Wollf

Compass with the word priorities on itDo you want to take your ministry to the next level? Are you unclear as to next steps? I have found the following process helpful for discerning and implementing strategic priorities that will help a ministry build momentum toward a desired future.

Proceed Prayerfully

I cannot emphasize enough the importance of bathing the entire discernment process in prayer. As you go through the following steps, take time to pray periodically and to practice (and encourage others to practice) a posture of listening to God’s voice.

Clarify Your Mission

In a previous blog, Six Steps to Creating a Compelling Mission Statement for Your Group, I describe a process for identifying your group’s mission. If you don’t have a mission statement for your ministry yet, I would encourage you to read the blog and create one. It’s difficult to discern meaningful strategic priorities without an overarching goal in mind.

Articulate Core Values

What do you think are your ministry’s core values (this is a good exercise to do with your ministry team)? What do you think that your ministry should value? Come up with a list of 6-8 current and desired values that you believe are foundational to your ministry. One way to do this is to have your team brainstorm adjectives or phrases that describe the current ministry. Then, have them think about their dream ministry and go through the same brainstorming process.

Discern God’s Vision for Your Ministry

With your ministry team, project yourself into the future. It is five years from now and you have, amazingly enough, developed the most incredible ministry. Now, it’s your job, as a team, to describe it - as if you were able to see it, realistically around you. Make sure that you use your ministry’s core values from the previous step. It’s also very important that your emerging vision aligns with your mission.

Identify Strategic Priorities

Now, that you are clear on your ministry’s mission, core values and vision, you can identify strategic priorities. What are the steps you need to take to realize your vision? Identify three to five big objectives (e.g. develop a mentoring approach). For each objective, come up with SMART (specific, measurable, achieavable, realistic, time-bound) goals that will help you make progress with each objective (e.g. hold a one-day training session on how to coach others on June 20).

Execute the Plan