How do Wisdom and Selling go together?

Welcome to Wisdom Selling. So if you are like me, you are always wanting to learn more. Well here is the deal about selling. It is the desire to exchange something you have, for something of more value to you. You may have an idea, a product, a service which people will want to pay for, allowing you to make a profit. You have to seek out people who might want it, and convince them it is worth the price you are charging. Or like me, you may just have a little wisdom, and are looking for someone who values it enough to want to use it. My value received in return is the joy of your feedback. So, I am selling wisdom. The cost to you, your interest. I want to help others as well. Visit the links page and shop for some good deals. Any profits on money you spend there will be used by Wisdom Selling to support non-profit businesses in developing their strategies.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Are you arrogant?

That may seem like a strange and presumptuous question for me to be asking you this morning.  However, I think that your honest answer to this question, and the decisions you make about how to deal with it may change your day, your relationships, your career and your personal witness to others.

I unfortunately have had to deal with this question often in my own life.  Both in my own behavior and in the behavior I have experienced in others.  Let me give you a definition so you might think back on your interactions with me and see if you think I am or was.  Then you might also look at yourself.

Arrogance to me is thinking less of someone else because they do not think act or believe in alignment with my own beliefs.  I will give you an example.  Let’s say as a result of my beliefs I don’t believe in drinking.  I experience someone who has a lifestyle that includes social drinking or otherwise.  Because of my beliefs there is a gap in behaviors.  Arrogance would mean I think they are less than me because they chose this lifestyle.  I am finding it interesting to watch an eight year old, who does not yet have the capacity of discernment, who struggles to appreciate anyone he sees drinking or smoking.  He does not have the ability to let go what he sees as a deviation from his belief system, and cannot let it go.  He is always pointing it out.  I think to myself, “Why is he so stuck on this?”  Yet I realize I have my own judgments based on my beliefs that cause me to do the same.

In business, we often find ourselves in negotiations with someone who may or may not share the same level of morals and ethics as we do.  In our mind, they often become inferior, as they have a flaw compared to our beliefs.  Yet in their own mind, they see themselves as just fine, and growing quite successful with their behaviors. 

In relationships, we find that decisions are being made based on a family history that we have not experienced personally, and it produces decisions we believe are inferior to our own.  We begin to think less of the other person in this relationship because they are not capable of thinking as we do.

In sports, we excel in a certain skill, and can become caught up in the fact that others do not perform at our level.  We believe that we can outperform because our measurement system is based on our skill set.  You only have to watch the movie Rudy, to see this arrogance played out by others on the team.  Yet he is the one carried off at the end.  Perhaps the measurement system in life was different than the measurement system of the superstar?

In faith, we find that people in the world around us commit acts we consider atrocious.  Sleeping around, driving drunk, telling lies, whatever they deem necessary to have a good time, or to get ahead.  Based on the beliefs of our faith, we can get caught in the trap of sitting in judgment, and gain arrogance in our own performance.  However, we can forget that these people don’t have the same measuring stick as we do in their minds.  To them, their behavior is perfectly acceptable.

In our personal lives we can get so caught up in measures of performance that we have set, that we think we are doing well, and when others deem our performance to be less than excellent we get angry or quit or get into bad habits of secrecy or other unfortunate actions.

The issue here is not that our point of view of the world is wrong.  We may have a perfect understanding of right and wrong, spiritual faith, etc.  The issue is that the world is not aligned.  There is divergence of attitude, viewpoint and moral and ethical thought all around us.  We can see this as our government tries to deal with different world views and shows more arrogance than understanding.

As with general discussions of arrogance, the solution here is to humble ourselves.  Humility is not the action of lowering ourselves below the level of others.  Humility is the lifting up of others.  Meekness is a power that allows us to be content in ourselves so that we can serve others.  By allowing the viewpoints of others to exist without arrogance, we can then begin to understand them, and if possible even influence them.  Influence is a power that comes from people trusting you enough to hear what you have to say and consider it.  Arrogance is the enemy of influence.

I challenge you today as I challenge myself.  Don’t be hatin!  Don’t be arrogant.  Through live, consider those around you better than yourself.   But don’t consider yourself any less!  I would love to hear your thoughts on this.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Are you the center of your universe?

One of the most interesting ideas about believing in God is the implication that God is greater that man.  The idea that he created the universe and is the ruler of it as a result has importance to each of us that believes.  If God is indeed the center of the universe, then in some way we are subject to this, and we are outside of the center.

The opposite of this would be the person who does not believe in God.  By default, they are then the center of their existence.  They live, then they die.  Because God is not in charge, they are free to choose to select any set of morals and rules to be their guide.  Many people view this as their right as a person.  However, the conflict arises when the rules and morals they want to define life, and those of others are not the same.  How to decide which one is the right way?  What then is the truth.  In extreme cases, the universe of each person has no overlap, and they cannot agree on anything.  In other cases, the truth becomes a series of compromises, and what is true today might not be so tomorrow.

There is comfort in the knowledge that God has provided a set of truths for us to follow in our lives.  The fact that we don't like all of them is indicative of the conflict between human nature (us as the center) and being a servant of God.  We can choose to not like one of God's laws, but that does not make it untrue, and because of this there is a constant issue of separation and repentance involved in a God relationship.

If a person does not believe in God, that does not make God's truth false, it just makes it false to them.  Society allows these people often to impose their wills on believers in God, since they are in charge of their universe.  They can find enough people to support their view and make it the new truth.  Believers must find a way to address the way that the world imposes viewpoints on us.  Following Jesus gives us a guide for dealing with those who don't believe in God or Christ, and helps us stay simultaneously true to our beliefs and humble to the world.  Our pride and joy comes from serving, not winning and imposing our point of view.  Therefore, with God at the center of our universe, we are not required to be wise in the ways of the world, just dependent on the wisdom of someone we consider greater than ourselves.  How comforting to know we are not in charge!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Almost Fearless Franklin

So I am writing a new book and you can be a part of it.  The theme is around what you might do if you weren't afraid.  I am going to fictionalize it around the hero Franklin, as he goes through life.  What I am needing from you is any situations you have encountered in your life where you would have done something different if you hadn't been afraid.  I will take the good ones and weave them into the story.  As recognition for your contribution I will name a character in the story after you.

So think about your life - what have you done because you weren't afraid, or wish you had done but didn't do because of fear.  You can comment on this post, or you can send me an email at if it is too embarassing to publish.  Hurry up!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Why churches need the web!

The Church and the Web – Making it a Strategic Asset

Imagine for a moment having access to the living room of all the families in your community, attention to your message, and opportunities to investigate your church for potential fit and attractiveness to their needs and wants.

What would you do with that moment where a family is trying to decide where to go to church this weekend, or even to go at all?  What would you want them to know about your church, your ministries and how important what your church has to offer can be to them.  Among other priorities:

·         You would want to capture their attention, and lead them to the message quickly and effectively, so that the moment is best used. 
·         You would want to prick their hearts so the Holy Spirit finds an openness to change. 
·         You would want a call to action for them, whether to come to your church or another. 
·         You would want to clear up as much confusion as possible for those who don’t yet understand the purpose of being a part of a church. 
·         You would want to share the gospel should the opportunity present itself.

In the early church, people were face to face this way all the time, and lives were changed in ways that we still benefit from today.  However, in our current era, people have become much more disconnected physically.  The gathering in the neighborhoods in the afternoon, dinners together with friends, hanging out at the park have traded places with video games, extra work and time on the worldwide web.

The worldwide web has become such a force in our society that the government has considered terming it a right – that all Americans should be able to access the internet.  Increasingly, people with all types of different economic and educational backgrounds, different age and career demographics, are becoming dependent on the web to provide them information.  Whether it is where to eat, what to wear, when the movie is playing, even up to the moment news, people are spending much more time on the web, looking for solutions to their problems and ways to improve their lives.

Recently, a report was issued with serious implications for the neighborhood church.  The number one way that new members of a community find a church now is via a web search, followed by investigating the website of the church for a match to interests.  Increasingly, reliance on neighbors and friends is being verified with a web visit.  The web allows the reader to unlock some of the mystery behind the sanctuary doors without having to actually open them.  A church without a website is likely to miss out on consideration, unless their physical presence is so overwhelming that people are drawn to it by driving by.

However, a church without a web strategy may be just as likely to miss out on a potential life changing opportunity as they may confuse more than clarify.  However, when words like strategy are used, there can be a fear of the church becoming more like a business than a group of people.  This is a valid concern, but in actuality, much of what goes on in business closely parallels efforts of the church.

Consider these examples.

Strategy – When Christ sent out the 72, he gave them a specific set of goals (share the good news), as well as tactics to achieve the goal.  He discussed the competitive environment (rejection) and the wise use of resources (don’t take a bag), as well as how to handle objections (wipe the dust off).  He was clear in his plan, and kept everything simple.  This description is a definition that would work well in business to describe strategy.

Selling -  SELLING is about understanding what you have to offer, finding those who might want what you have to offer, have something they are willing to exchange with you that you value more highly than what you are giving up.  In witnessing, we are bringing the good news.  We want to give it away, but we have to find those who will value it high enough to give up their old life through repentance and acceptance.  We often use stories about how valuable our faith is to us, to create a bridge to what is valuable to the non-believer in the expectation that God will take control of the outcome.

Marketing – This is about knowing our products, knowing who our customers would be and ways to find and influence them.  This is about presenting products in a compelling manner so that the sale can take place.  Churches focus on this all the time, by having members reach out to their neighbors, having welcoming members, making sure worship is focused on the right things, and offering bible study to help people understand God purpose and plans.

Competition – of course the church has competition from human nature, as well as the inherent evil on the world.  As big a distraction now though are the alternatives that capture the minds and hearts of those the church desires to reach.  People expect to be captivated, entertained and served, based on what the world tells them.  The idea of serving, worshipping and accepting the Good News often looks like more work than benefit compared to the other things in their life.

The question then becomes, what is the role of the internet for the local church?  In strategy development, the first thing that needs to happen is to define the problems that need to be solved.  Each problem may require a different solution, but getting them all out will identify any potential synergies.

Here are a few key problems to be solved, that could potentially be addressed in some way by a web presence.

1.      The church needs more people to be aware of the existence of the church who might consider attending.
2.      The church needs the community to understand more fully what they stand for, in order to create interest in attending.
3.      The church wants to share the gospel in as many venues as possible.
4.      The church wants Christians to grow daily
5.      The church has programs and scheduled events that they want people to know about and participate in
6.      The church provides services that they want the public to be aware of.
7.      The church has groups within the church that have a need to better connect, inform and interact.

A website is not going to be the solution to all of these problems, but it can certainly be a contributor to the solution.  However, planning in advance how to use the web and determining what works well together, versus just starting a web page can be of great advantage.  A church that already has a web presence may consider this problem solution approach in making modifications and improvements.

The first priority is to make the main thing the main thing.  It seems like such a simple concept, but is often lost in the need to solve so many problems.  Which of the problems are most important to solve, and which go together.  Which problems need to be solved but may not offer any synergy or may even detract from the overall goals.

Consider these as examples.

A church has existed in a community for several years, but has not been able to connect to the local neighborhoods the way they desire to.

They might consider a website that is focused on the mission of the church, the people who are members who are local, programs that benefit the neighborhood whether they join the church or not.  They might customize the look of the website to include local color, and might use local media, social sites, billboards or other methods to reach the locals.

A church wants to be at the top of a search when a new person comes to town.

They might consider a website that has lots of content describing their philosophies, programs and ministries, and work with search engine optimization so that when someone searches for churches in their community, they are on the first page of the search.  They might get advice to prevent things like only referring to themselves as a worship center, where the keyword most used is church, or leaving out denominational connections which are other keywords.

A church wants to have pages for each program, such as choir, men’s ministry, etc.

They might work with a free website organization to develop pages directed to the ministry, and then link as appropriate the main site.  This allows for a unique look, and does not “clutter up” the site that is for new interested people.

A church wants to put out the teachings of their ministers for webcasts, purchase, etc.

They might consider a separate website with links, so that the keywords for the teaching site are focused on what would be searched for.  This also allows for using a purchasing site while keeping the main site from having the complications of payments.

A church wants to have a set of pages that are for helping someone to understand the gospel better, or for daily Christian living.

They might consider segregating this information on separate pages so that they can be focused and not contain attention robbing information while the critical information is exchanged.

The bottom line is an understanding that different solutions may come about with separate activity, which may or may not be linked.  It is not necessary to build everything into one website, especially with the availability of free websites for churches and other ministries. 

While the actual web design may be done by a layperson, the staff will want to set the strategy and direction based on the priorities of the church.  From there, on-line solutions can be developed, which may involve consulting or experiences of others as available.  Churches can then enter into the living rooms and offices of the very people they want to reach, and better serve the community while seeking opportunities to grow the kingdom.

Chris Byrd is an author, mentor and marketer with Wisdom Selling.  He can be reached at 

Monday, March 7, 2011

Comparing the Bible to the SC DMV training guide for Kennedy

So my daughter is 9 days away from her permit test, and I am 9 days away from a major life change.  She is the more cerebral of the children who now drive so I have some hope she will bring some sanity to the teaching process.

As I was thinking about the DVM rulebook she has to learn, I was struck by the similarities to the Bible,  for those of us who believe it to be the inspired word of God. Let's take a look at a few of these, may we?

For example, the drivers book reflects a set of laws and regulations designed to make driving safe for the driver, passengers and those outside the car, as in other cars or pedestrians.  Those rules have been established over a long period of time, and seem to be pretty much set in stone.  There are also teachings that help a driver understand how some signs are regulatory, some are cautions, and some are short term conditions in need of care.  It shows how there is room for compromise, such as when the dotted yellow line is on the driver's side, but they must pass with care and return to their lane prior to the end of the dotted line.

We all would agree that to allow for personal interpretation and selective compliance to these laws would be catastrophic.  If some people all of a sudden decided to drive on the left side of the road, or if they decided the yellow line was not appropriate, or that the red lights now meant go, while others were rules followers, it would result in chaos.  However, as we learn these rules, each of us makes internal decisions about which we will follow, and when we might choose to ignore or violate a law for our own benefit.  For example, we seem to think that the speed limit matters only when there are policemen present.  At night, on straight highways, or when we are in a hurry, we decide to speed along over the limit, chancing that we won't get caught.  In fact, the culture now has the thoughts that 10% or so over the limit is a norm, and unlikely to have consequences.  Can you imagine if the police started ticketing at 1 mile over?  We wouldn't have enough room in the courts.

Even when caught, we find ways to negotiate the punishment.  We feel like we have a right to do as we choose, and that if is against the rules, so be it.  We don't always consider the intellegence behind a 35 mile per hour speed limit for the safety of children, or the reason for a yellow light to give us time to plan so we don't hit the car coming from the other direction.  We believe the rules are there, but we don't want to follow them, so we just change the cultural norms and move on.

The Bible experiences a similar fate among Christians and non-believers as well.  We don't want all of the Bible to be true rules, as it cramps our freedoms.  We don't think about the consequences to ourselves and others.  We also like to pretend some of the rules don't exist or are no longer relevant.  We want to have the ability to negotiate the punishments as well.

So here is the problem.  The Bible is not about the rules and the regulations.  They exist to show us we need help to connect to God, since the rules show us how we are separated.  Jesus connects us, then we go back to a rules measurement because that eliminates the need for intentional surrender.  As long as it is about right and wrong, social norms, personal rights, then the true message of being crucified like Christ is missed.  We don't want to acknowledge God's leading in our hearts, because then breaking the rules takes on an even greater meaning -a battle for control of our lives, between us and ourselves, with God watching patiently but firm in His judgement. 

Well, enough philosophical rambling for today.  I would love to know your thoughts on this.

Friday, March 4, 2011

What would you do today if you weren't afraid?

A friend of mine was struggling with a major decision in his life.  Should he date this girl, or not.  See, she was his best friend and his concern was that if he dated her and it didn't go well, he would not only lose a girlfriend, but his best friend as well.

His fear of making this dating mistake basically paralyzed his decision making capabilities to the point that he almost hurt the friendship by not responding to her interests in taking the relationship to the next level.  We were sitting around the dinner table one night and he was lamenting this problem to me, and I asked him, "What would you do if you weren't afraid?"  He immediately replied that he would date this girl.  Well, as you can imagine, I didn't cut him any slack but encouraged him to think about his response.

Shortly afterward, he stopped by to tell me that he had indeed asked her for a date, and that the friendship had survived the entire event.

A few months later, I receive the news that there is a wedding in the future.  Turns out the friendship was an indication of just how compatible they were with each other.  My family attended the wedding, and as part of the rehearsal dinner, the groom shared the story of our night at the table when I asked him that question, and how glad he was he overcame the fear and acted.

So, I am not at the table with you right now, but think about that one thing you need to do, but aren't sure whether or not it is going to work out right.  I guess you know what question I am going to ask you. 

Let me know what happens.