Resources

Lifelong training is not restricted to our classrooms. Our team has gathered a variety of resources to equip you and your church: blogs, articles, sermons, videos, and podcasts. Please remember to cite the author when you choose to use these resources publicly.

4 Messages to Avoid During Church Finance Updates

Church finance updates can sometimes do more damage than good. The message often feels the same and can sound something like this: church giving is behind but there’s a chance to meet budget by the end of the year if everyone can just pick up the slack. Have you ever considered how a message like this can be interpreted by …

The Cannabis Question

Many questions have been raised since the Cannabis Act came into effect on October 17, 2018. Various resources have been developed within our family of MB Churches to provide guidance to those asking questions and looking for direction. Articles Waking to Legalization: A Brief Theology of Dope – Rod Schellenberg (Hepburn MB Church) Substance Use and Addiction: What Can the Church …

Ten Principles for Discerning God’s Will Together

Whether it’s with a ministry team at church or with our own family, we regularly find ourselves trying to discern God’s will with others. In this blog, I will outline ten principles for helping us find God’s way together. 1. Encourage spiritual growth It’s important that we recognize that what people bring into a decision-making forum will influence the quality …

All Will Be Well – Hope in the Era of COVID-19

A life without hope is a life doomed. As 1 Thessalonians 4:13 tells us: “Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope.” Pollyanna Hope Mankind is looking for hope wherever it can be found. Some, following …

Living as Christians in a Time of Pandemic

The God Who Loves Us Christians believe that God rules with love, justice, and gracious care over the humans he created in his image, and all of the created order. The Mennonite Brethren Confession of Faith (CoF) begins with this statement: “We believe in the one, true, living God, Creator of heaven and earth. God is almighty in power, perfect …

How a Bad Day of Tree Planting Taught Me to Work Smarter in Ministry

Hard work is not the same as smart work. Years ago, I spent a summer tree planting in northern British Columbia. One day, I decided that I would plant as many trees as fast as I could. I was flying across the planting area! At the end of the day, my boss checked my work. It was terrible! We were …

How Church Leaders Can Build Greater Trust

We all know a leader who has made a major mistake. Perhaps this very thought reminds you of the story of your former pastor. Or maybe the leader of a well-known organization. Perhaps you instinctively think of what’s happening in your church right now. Or you might consider the regret that you’re currently trying to make right.  Mistakes come in …

Church as Community – The Great Collective

In biblical teaching about Christian discipleship, we are accustomed to hearing about the Great Commission (Matt. 28) and the Great Commandment (Matt. 22). These two great teachings identify the inner and outer directions of obedience to Christ. I’d like to introduce a third great teaching into your theological consciousness – the Great Collective. It is not a really new idea, …

4 Signs You Might Be Running Away

I’m fascinated by the story of Jonah and it has nothing to do with the fish. Don’t get me wrong; I have nothing against the fish—it plays a critical role in the story. I just find that scene too hard to relate to.  Jonah, on the other hand, is easy to relate to. He’s more dramatic that I am, but …

How to Prepare for a Successful Pastoral Search

Looking for a new pastor can be a daunting challenge. Many churches can feel overwhelmed by the urgent need and can easily forget critical elements in the search process. Here are a series of tips I recommend to help your church prepare for a successful pastoral search. Pray much We cannot underestimate the incredible importance of prayer in a pastoral …

How to Pray When You’re Distracted

Do your silent prayers sometimes get ambushed by your overloaded brain? For example, when you pray for your friend, do you suddenly think of his smile and it reminds you of how happy he looks when his mouth of full of his favourite candy? And this image then reminds you of the sweet taste of sugar and now your mouth …

5 Ways to Improve Your Small Group Prep Time

I believe most small group leaders spend too much of their prep time on the study. I don’t say this because I don’t believe group studies have value, but because they don’t hold more value than other parts of a group meeting. Jim Egli and Dwight Marable’s research findings show that time spent preparing lessons has absolutely no correlation to …

The Ideal Personality of a Small Group Leader

Take a moment to imagine the ideal—dare I say perfect—small group. What does it look like to you? What do you hear?   I see a cozy living room with comfortable seats for everyone. My ears hear friendly chatter, my nose smells fresh baking, and my mind is energized by engaging conversations. Now think of this group’s leader. What sort …

How to Develop a Personal Growth Plan

A growth plan gives us a proven path for turning our goals into reality. As you consider a change that you would like to make in your life, I encourage you to channel that desire into the development of a personal growth plan for the next six months. These three steps will help you put feet to your desires: Identify …

The 5 Stages of a Structured Coaching Conversation

Coaching and mentoring are a way of life. We can turn any conversation into a mentoring opportunity by listening, asking good questions, helping people focus on what’s most important, and empowering them to take next steps. However, there is also a place for using these skills in structured coaching sessions where we intentionally engage in disciple-making conversations during several planned …

Stop Preparing Lessons for Your Small Group

How much time do you spend preparing a study for your small group?  In my experience, most small group leaders spend a disproportionate amount of their prep time on the study. I know I’ve done this—especially when I feel I’m short on time. I do it because the study time feels like the one time when I’m “on” as the …

How to Develop a Mission Statement in 45 Minutes or Less

Stephen Covey once said, “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.” The main thing is what we often call a mission. Using a well-crafted mission statement provides churches with clarity about why they exist. It identifies their purpose and helps them ensure that future actions align with what they believe is of utmost importance—their main …

Your Small Group Ministry Doesn’t Need More Stage Time

Most leaders of small group ministries have something in common: they believe their ministry will grow if it’s more greatly emphasized by their church. You know the kind of promotion I’m talking about: colourful banners, live testimonials, and the granddaddy of them all—sermon shout-outs! The only thing leaders of small group ministries dream of more than a small group plug …

How to Discern Your God-Given Call

Discover how to identify your life purpose and help others do the same.

Never Underestimate the Importance of Personal Calling

I sometimes wonder if the urgency to identify our life calling has been lost. Perhaps people assume this process of discovery is a one-time event. Or maybe our churches think it only applies to people who feel drawn to positions of vocational ministry. A person’s call is simply a way of expressing their understanding of God’s game plan for their …

Why Most People Don’t Want to Lead a Small Group

I’ve never heard of a church that has too many small group leaders. Too many ushers? Maybe. Too many musicians? Possibly. Too many small group leaders? Highly unlikely. And yet, I know many churches that have grand visions for their small group ministry. Statements like, “our vision is to be a church of small groups” or “we want everyone to …

How to Equip Young People to Use Screens Responsibly

It’s been just over a decade since YouTube launched (2005) and Apple released its first iPhone (2007). It didn’t take long for social media to explode—Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, WhatsApp—which only increased the attraction of the online experience. Face-to-face interactions were quickly exchanged for messaging by devices. Daily events began to carry the weight of needing to be captured and …

Potlucks, Prayer, and Fighting Fair – How to Build Trust

Without trust, it’s impossible for a team to be healthy and effective. The absence of trust is used as the foundation for Patrick Lencioni’s well-known leadership parable called The Five Dysfunctions of a Team. In this book, Lencioni outlines five problems that many teams face, and every dysfunction grows from the root cause of distrust. If your team has any …

Faith Outcomes of Youth are Greatly Influenced by their Post-Secondary School Experience

New research shows a significant contrast in church engagement and beliefs among students who attended a Christian institution versus those who were educated at mainstream schools.

Your Pastor’s Emotional Vocabulary is a Key to their Sustainability

I was 24 years old when I sat down in a counseller’s office for the first time. My fiancé was seated next to me and I remember studying the room in nervous anticipation for what would happen next. What do you talk about during premarital counselling? The counsellor greeted us warmly and asked some questions that didn’t require much thought. …

A Pastoral Response to Legalized Cannabis

Many questions have been raised since the Cannabis Act was implemented in Canada on October 17, 2018 (refer to the legalization and regulation of cannabis for more details). However, the predominant question is this: how can pastors and church leaders provide leadership and care to people who are wondering about the use of non-medical cannabis?  In response, MinistryLift has produced a video …

Spiritual Care

Ministry amid Competing Values: Pastoral Care and Medical Assistance in Dying – Gloria Woodland, Direction Journal, 2018

How to Strengthen Prayer in Your Church – Randy Wollf, MB Herald, 2018

MB History & Theology

What’s in a Name? Canadian Mennonite Brethren and the Struggle for Identity – Brian Cooper, The Conrad Grebel Review, 2019

Preacher, Teacher, Pastor, and Elder: Mennonite Brethren and McClendon’s Portrayal of Church Authorities – Doug Heidebrecht, Direction Journal, 2018

 

Fresh Air for the Good House of Menno: The Holy Spirit among Canada’s Mennonite Brethren – Andrew Dyck, Direction Journal, 2018

The Complicated History of Anabaptist-Mennonite Nonresistance – Bruce Guenther, Direction Journal, 2018

The MB Genome Project – Andrew Dyck, MB Herald, 2012

Toward a Mennonite Brethren Peace Theology: Reading the Bible through an Anabaptist Lens – Doug Heidebrecht, Direction Journal, 2014

Reformed Theology Among Canadian Mennonite Brethren – Brian Cooper, Direction Journal, 2013

Atonement in the Mennonite Brethren Confession of Faith – Doug Heidebrecht, Direction Journal, 2013

People of the Book: The Significance of Mennonite Brethren Biblicism and Hermeneutics – Doug Heidebrecht, Direction Journal, 2011

Fault Lines in Evangelical Theology – Doug Heidebrecht and Gil Dueck, Direction Journal, 2007

The Theological Poverty of the Mennonite Brethren Vision – Brian Cooper, Direction Journal, 2018

God, Sex, and Church: Why? – Andrew Dyck and Ingrid Reichard, Direction Journal, 2016

The “Enduring Problem” of Christ and Culture – Bruce Guenther, Direction Journal, 2005

Denominational Vexillology – Bruce Guenther and Jeff Peters, MB Herald, 2016

Leadership & Mission

Growing Leaders: Six Practices of Christian Leadership – Randy Wollf, Direction Journal, 2018

Mennonite Brethren and the Gospel: A Theology of Mission on the Way – Doug Heidebrecht, Direction Journal, 2013

Sowing Seeds or Tossing Nutshells (Evangelism) – Andrew Dyck, MB Herald, 2013

No One like Josiah: Covenant Faithfulness and Leadership – Mark Wessner, Direction Journal, 2018

Distinction and Function in the Church: Reading Galatians 3:28 in Context – Doug Heidebrecht, Direction Journal, 2005

Reading 1 Timothy 2:9-15 in Its Literary Context – Doug Heidebrecht, Direction Journal, 2004

Old Testament 

The Missional Relevance of Genesis 1–3 – Pierre Gilbert, Direction Journal, 2014

Genesis and Human Origins: What Makes a Human ‘Human’ and Why Does it Matter? – Mark Wessner, Direction Journal, 2014

He Never Meant for Us to Die! An Incursion into Genesis 1–3 – Pierre Gilbert, Direction Journal, 2012

Human Free Will and Divine Determinism: Pharaoh, a Case Study – Pierre Gilbert, Direction Journal, 2012

Fighting Fire with Fire: Divine Nihilism in Ecclesiastes – Pierre Gilbert, Direction Journal, 2011

Health

Healthy Body, Healthy Spirit – Randy Wollf, MB Herald, 2018

We Have Reason to Praise – Pierre Gilbert, MB Herald, 2018

Permission to use the following sermons has been granted by these speakers:

Sermons – Video

Sermons – Audio

How to Interpret the Old Testament: Q & A with Pierre Gilbert [1:36:25-1:40:15; 1:45:10-2:13:30] – Pierre Gilbert

The Book of Ephesians, recited by Andrew Dyck [19:44] – Andrew Dyck

Turning Conversations into Mentoring Opportunities [5:27] – Randy Wollf

Building Healthy Teams [7:58] – Randy Wollf

How Did Jesus Disciple Others? [7:05] – Randy Wollf

Living Missionally [7:16] – Randy Wollf

Gifted, Called, and Affirmed – Bonus Feature (exploring the role of women in ministry leadership) – Brian Cooper and Matt Ewert (South Abbotsford Church)