Four Overrated Attributes of Success

Four Overrated Attributes of "Success"

by Steve Backlund

"So it was, when they came, that (Samuel) looked at Eliab and said, 'Surely the Lord’s anointed is before Him!' But the Lord said to Samuel, 'Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart'” (1 Samuel 16:6-7).

Consider this: Society is often relentless in setting the standard for what "success" looks like in our culture. Beauty, popularity, and wealth are three standards that automatically come to mind, and the monumental influx of social media that streams into our daily lives on a moment-by-moment basis not only supports but also perpetuates these standards at an unprecedented rate. But what if there was another way to define success? God's measurement for success is different than man's. This week at Igniting Hope, we have decided to unpack four attributes that seem to define success in our culture, but all too often miss the mark:

Good Looks –

Our society's worship of beauty and the value it places on being handsome or sexy creates unhealthy emotional stumbling blocks and mindsets for many. Comparison begins to creep in and soon our worth begins to get wrapped up in conforming to counterfeit versions of other people. Certainly it is not wrong to want to look our best, but being obsessively consumed or preoccupied by our appearance will rob us of committing time and energy to our spirituality, character, and relationships. When we prioritize these as primary focuses in our lives, they become keys for us to live as fulfilled people where true beauty radiates from the inside out. That is the ultimate success!

Number of Followers –

Whether it is the size of our churches, how many Facebook friends we have, or the number of Instagram followers we are connected to, know that these are not infallible measurements of success. God isn't as interested in the quantity of our influence, as He is in the quality of our influence!  If we operate out of excellence and integrity, and continually trade in mediocrity for high quality, our impact will last through generations, no matter how many people we are reaching today.

Owning Fancy Things –

There is nothing wrong with having nice, expensive possessions, but if we are using them to prove something to ourselves and to others, then we have a problem. Success is not a goal to be attained, but rather a state of being. If we need something outward to validate us, then we have fallen prey to the wrong definition of success. Wisely guarding our hearts and faithfully stewarding what God has placed in our hands, no matter how big or small, valuable or invaluable it may seem to the world, will always result in success in God’s eyes.

Being a Recognized Speaker or Leader –

In my book, Let's Just Laugh at That, one lie we laugh at is this: "Heaven's best places are reserved for speakers and worship leaders." When we read that, it does seem ridiculous, but too often we overemphasize the importance of leaders and underemphasize the importance of those who faithfully and diligently work behind the scenes. Lasting success is rarely accomplished in isolation. It takes vision, unity, humility, and a willingness to contribute our best in every context and application in order to see the goal accomplished. Seen or unseen, your role matters!

People tend to look at the outer appearance, but God looks at the heart. Let's be faithful to steward our own hearts well, and let's celebrate and encourage those who so often find themselves devalued by our culture's priorities. Set a new standard of success in the lives of those around you!


Welcome to a 40 Day School for Renewing Your Mind

Sign up for free! Click the image above to register and learn more.


ABOUT STEVE BACKLUND

Steve Backlund was a senior pastor for seventeen years before joining the team at Bethel Church in Redding, CA in 2008. Steve is a leader developer, joy activist, a revivalist teacher, and as Senior Associate Director, is a key part of the Global Legacy (a ministry of Bethel Church) leadership team. He travels extensively throughout the world encouraging churches and leaders and has authored a number of books.

For more, check out Steve's iTunes podcast, YouTube Channel, Facebook page, Twitter, and Instagram.

Overcoming Crisis Overload

Overcoming Crisis Overload

by Steve Backlund

For those who have served in any level of management or leadership, you are likely familiar with facing and handling multiple crises in a day. Though written for church leaders, this excerpt from Steve Backlund's Help! I'm a Pastor can lend guidance to anyone serving in a leadership position.

SCENARIO

Senior Pastor Cynthia Sincere of Peace Ministries does not know if she can take another phone call or read another email about what is happening in the lives of her leaders and church attendees. Yesterday, she got a call from the wife of an elder saying she is leaving her husband. The day before, the men’s ministries leader admitted to a serious pornography problem. Today, she heard two people in the church are suing each other because of a business deal that went bad. Cynthia tells her husband, “Everyone’s lives seem to be falling apart in our church! What is happening?” If you were Cynthia, what would you do?

LIES ASSOCIATED WITH THIS SCENARIO

  • If I am sincere, I will never experience any difficulties in life.
  • Churches making a difference should expect constant negative spiritual attacks on its leaders and people.
  • There is nothing we can do to decrease the amount of troubles the people of our church face.
  • Pastors who have a series of difficult circumstances in the church should just quit.

LIFE AND LEADERSHIP CORE VALUES TO CONSIDER*

  • Core Value  #1 – There is always a solution for every situation I face.
  • Core Value #10 – I create opportunities for those in my church to encounter God in powerful ways.
  • Core Value #17 – I thrive in uncertainty, difficulty, and unresolved situations because I have “word” from the Lord.
  • Core Value #74 – I have at least one person in my life with whom I share the deep things of my life with (things such as disappointments, weaknesses, dreams, fears, and longings).
  • Core Value #60 – God works all things together for good in my ministry.

DISCERNING WHAT GOD IS DEVELOPING IN ME

  • I am learning how to release hope in the most difficult circumstances.
  • I have the opportunity to draw near to the Lord for His strength.
  • I get to feel the pains of people and to “weep with those who weep.”

QUESTIONS TO ASK BEFORE TAKING ACTION

  1. How can we strengthen the intercession of our ministry?
  2. Is the Holy Spirit showing me any spiritual roots for what is happening?
  3. Does our ministry focus more on the devil’s attacks or God’s protection?
  4. What steps can we take to increase our ministry to those who are hurting and going through difficulty?
  5. What am I supposed to do to help those in crisis? What am I not supposed to do?

PRACTICAL STEPS TO CONSIDER

  1. Realize that long-standing issues seem to surface in a grace and empowerment culture – Is it possible that issues do not actually come to the light until people are in environments where they will be loved and restored? Could it be ministries with wisdom, love, and the power of God attract people who are ready for their deep breakthrough? If this is true, then having people in our church struggling is often a compliment to us, not an indication that something is wrong.
  2. Revisit your beliefs about blessing, suffering, mystery, and protection – There are two opposing theological beliefs which complicate the leading of our ministries through challenging times. The first is an overemphasis on Satanic attacks – with the subtle, problem-causing belief that spiritual people will always be under attack. The other is the belief those close to Jesus will not face challenges in life – which often disconnects us with the pain people are experiencing. It is best to believe that as the kingdom advances there will be less curses and more blessings in our midst. As we battle with crisis in our ministry, we trust God to meet the need before us, but we also remain relentless to see our ministry live in the abundant life Jesus bought for us (including the blessing and protection of the Lord).
  3. Take care of yourself – Have people pray for you and your church. Do not feel you have to be the answer for everyone’s needs, but equip and activate people to be a strength for others. Realize some issues have been in existence for a long time, and it does not require an emergency response from you. Remember, the phrase “It came to pass,” and be glad it does not say, “It came to stay.”

DECLARATIONS

  • We have a powerful ministry of restoration.
  • We love people through pain and difficulty.
  • Our ministry increasingly sees people walk in blessing and protection.

*The Core Value numbers correlate to those listed in the 80 life and leadership core values in Help! I'm a Pastor.


Recommended Leadership Resources


ABOUT STEVE BACKLUND

Steve Backlund was a senior pastor for seventeen years before joining the team at Bethel Church in Redding, CA in 2008. Steve is a leader developer, joy activist, a revivalist teacher, and as Senior Associate Director, is a key part of the Global Legacy (a ministry of Bethel Church) leadership team. He travels extensively throughout the world encouraging churches and leaders and has authored a number of books.

For more, check out Steve's iTunes podcast, YouTube Channel, Facebook page, Twitter, and Instagram.

Arise and Shine

Arise and Shine

by Wendy Backlund

The secret to thriving in life isn’t the ability to avoid being caught up in issues, but the ability to know who you really are in the midst of whatever life brings your way. The truth is, you don’t find yourself in good situations because of sheer luck, but because of who you are, what you carry, your experience, your gifts, your perspectives, and your approach to things. Let’s say you lost your job tomorrow. Would your reaction be one of fear, believing that it was pure luck that got you there in the first place? Or, despite the initial shock,  would you respond knowing that it’s who you are that got you the job and that means there’s always another opportunity around the corner? Many times, we attribute everything bad that happens to us as proof that we are inadequate and are failures. However, when something good happens, we often attribute it to chance. We think, "I didn't deserve it, so I can't reproduce it." Not knowing who we truly are, combined with a fear of what might happen in the future, is the reason we find ourselves wilting in life rather than thriving.

We are the light! I love where it says in Isaiah 60, verse one, "Arise, shine, for your light has come and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. See darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you. Nations will come to your light and Kings to the brightness of your dawn.”  

I used to focus on the fear aspect of the "deep darkness” and miss the whole point. Deep darkness is an opportunity for us to shine. Even in this recent election, we could say, "Deep darkness is covering the United States!” Instead, we should know this hour is an invitation for people to finally arise and shine; it doesn't matter who becomes the president because kings and nations will come to our rising! It's not in our leader's hands, but ours! If we know who we are, we can create a stronghold of thriving!

The strongholds of the enemy used to occupy so much of my focus that it twisted my ability to see the potential a stronghold established in God could have. I used to think, “He’s got San Francisco in His hand, yet the people have been in sin for so long in that area that there’s such a deep stronghold of darkness.” Then one day God said, “You know Wendy,  every time you take communion, you are building a stronghold for righteousness. Every time you worship together as a church, you are building a stronghold in your city because if evil people can build a stronghold by doing evil, then righteous people can build a stronghold by being righteous.”

We have become so focused on what the enemy is doing that we have forgotten to recognize what we’re called to be, and who we are. We’re not called to be victims to darkness. The darkness is a victim to us! We were born to thrive!


Steve&Wendy090.jpg

ABOUT WENDY BACKLUND

Wendy Backlund, along with her husband Steve, is from Bethel Church in Redding, CA. Wendy and Steve have a unique ministry that ignites hope, passion, joy, victorious mindsets and healthy relationships. They were senior leaders of renewal churches from 1991 to 2008 (Round Mountain, Nevada, and Weaverville, CA). The Backlunds travel regularly ministering to churches and leadership teams. Wendy has a passion for setting Christians free from their past and empowering them in their walk with Christ. She is a revelatory speaker, author, and teacher, enabling people to see life from a supernatural perspective.

Learn more about Wendy and her teaching at wendybacklund.com.

For more resources from Wendy, click the links below:

How to Have a Horrible 2017

How to Have a Horrible 2017

by Steve Backlund

 

Over the past month, we at Igniting Hope Ministries have been giving keys for having the best year yet in 2017. These can be found in our daily hope injections (daily videos found on our Instagram and Facebook pages). Now for a little bit of fun, we thought we’d share five sure-fire ways to have a horrible 2017 (along with a few keys to turn it around):

1) Complain a lot

Make sure to give voice to every negative thing you feel. Don’t hold anything back. Do your best to make people around you know that they and others are the reason for your unhappiness.

Listening to and giving room for every thought to take up residence in your daily life, without regard to what you know to be the truth, gives the enemy ample opportunity to wreak havoc on your mindsets, identity, and relationships. Not only that, victim mindsets begin to take root and powerlessness prevails. Align yourself with the truth, especially when it feels the least true. In time, your feelings will follow, victim mindsets will be a thing of the past, and living powerful and free will be your new normal!

2) Do only what you feel like doing –

Don’t think long-term, but make all decisions based on whether it makes you happy now. Don’t be concerned if it negatively impacts others or your future happiness.

Living only for the here and now may be gratifying in the moment, but you will quickly discover that it allows for very little momentum to be built for your future. What goals and dreams do you long to see come to pass in the next year? Be a dreamer! Cast vision! Set priorities and goals to see them fulfilled. When you have the end goal in mind, you realize that self-discipline, hard work, and sacrifice are the necessary by-products of a person pregnant with vision for their future. It may not always be easy, but it will definitely be worth it!

3) Watch/read the news more than you feed your spirit –

Make it your priority to feed on world news more than reading the Bible or connecting with the things of God.

World news is often questionably biased and inaccurate,  and one thing we can rely on is that it almost always focuses on what’s going wrong in the world, rather than what’s going right. This carries with it an undertone of fear and division, leading you to think that the problems presented are insurmountable and bigger than any one person or group of people can handle.

The reality is, our thoughts about a problem are usually a bigger problem than the actual problem! We are called to be thermostats, not thermometers. Consistently feeding your spirit on God’s Word and His truth will not only give you a Kingdom perspective, but it will empower you to create Kingdom culture wherever you go – a culture focused on hope and unity.

4) Be selfish –

Don’t find ways to help others. Be sure to hoard your time, your money, and your gifts.

An orphan mindset assumes there is only so much to go around, therefore, I need to protect what is mine in case there isn’t enough. We need to remember that God is not only a God of abundance and multiplication, but He is also the ultimate loving Father. When we acknowledge Him as such and step over the threshold from orphanhood into the fullness of our identities as sons and daughters, selfishness falls away and in its place, generosity resides.

When we give of ourselves, when we share what we have with others without reservation, it enables us to live out of the overflow of God’s goodness and provision. Our relationships flourish and we soon discover that life lived with an open hand adds immeasurably more than we could ever give away! Generosity is an invitation to feast on the richness of all that life has to offer.

5) Value tasks/goals above relationships –

Believe that heart connections with people are not as important as getting things done.

When your vision becomes more important than the people in your life, especially those you are leading, they become a commodity at your disposal. In the end, you may achieve some great success, but who will you have to enjoy it with if it is at the expense of your relationships?

You add value to people when you make it a priority to value them. The goal should not be to become a person of success but a person of value. It is when we make that distinction that we open the door to becoming great influencers. When that happens, success will naturally follow.


Recommended Resource


ABOUT STEVE BACKLUND

Steve Backlund was a senior pastor for seventeen years before joining the team at Bethel Church in Redding, CA in 2008. Steve is a leader developer, joy activist, a revivalist teacher, and as Senior Associate Director, is a key part of the Global Legacy (a ministry of Bethel Church) leadership team. He travels extensively throughout the world encouraging churches and leaders and has authored a number of books.

For more, check out Steve's iTunes podcast, YouTube Channel, Facebook page, Twitter, and Instagram.

Pursuing Miracles But Facing Disappointment

Pursuing Miracles But Facing Disappointment

by Steve Backlund

 

We pray this excerpt from Steve Backlund's church leadership book, Help! I'm a Pastor, would offer keys and encouragement to you as you pursue miracles and healing in your life and the lives of those you lead.

SCENARIO

Pastor B. Healed leads a charismatic church and believes in divine healing. However, she and her church are not seeing people healed. They have been pursuing healing like never before – sermon series, fasting, Bible studies, declarations – but no one is getting healed. In fact, one of their key church leaders recently died of a disease they were sure God would heal. Pastor B. Healed is tired of not seeing results and feels like giving up on healing. If you were Pastor Healed, how would you move forward?

LIES ASSOCIATED WITH THIS SCENARIO

  • I do not have what it takes to lead this church into healing ministry.
  • God is using sickness to build our character and teach us something.
  • God has sovereignly chosen our church to not have a healing ministry.
  • No one with a powerful healing ministry ever struggled at first to see healing.

LIFE AND LEADERSHIP CORE VALUES TO CONSIDER

  • Core Value #7 – My team and I pursue spiritual fathers and mothers we mutually respect.
  • Core Value #10 – I create opportunities for those in my church to encounter God in powerful ways.
  • Core Value #17 – I thrive in uncertainty, difficulty, and unresolved situations because I have a “word” from the Lord.
  • Core Value #52 – I am a God-pleaser, not a people-pleaser.
  • Core Value #73 – I intentionally associate with people who are stronger than me in key areas of life and ministry so I will become stronger in those areas.

DISCERNING WHAT GOD IS DEVELOPING IN ME

  • I am learning perseverance that will serve me well when the breakthroughs come.
  • I have the opportunity to receive an upgrade in my view of God.
  • I get to grow in leading people into finding keys to seeing healing released.

QUESTIONS TO ASK BEFORE TAKING ACTION

  1. Am I convinced it is God’s will for us to walk in health? Do my doctrinal beliefs in any way limit what we are experiencing?
  2. What are some things God is doing for me as I wait for breakthrough?
  3. Who can I meet with that is seeing breakthrough in healing?
  4. What healing Scriptures am I standing on that I know are true no matter what?

PRACTICAL STEPS TO CONSIDER

  1. Pursue the Healer, not just healing – Do not let your pursuit of breakthrough distract you from the Lord of the breakthrough. Use this time to seek Him more than just the manifestation of healing. The more you know His heart, the easier it will be to believe Him for what Jesus paid for (Isaiah 53:5-6). God will not withhold healing from you because you are bad. He will not heal you because you are good. He will heal you because of what Jesus has done.
  2. Put yourself in environments where healing is happening – Many things in the Spirit are better caught than taught. Consider being a part of a conference, healing school, and/or mission trip that focuses on activating believers in the supernatural and in healing. Many of these happenings have a time of impartation that can catalyze someone into more of the miraculous. Bill Johnson says, “If signs and wonders aren’t following you, follow them until they follow you.” If you connect with a speaker or group, consider bringing them to your church to activate and equip your people.
  3. Lead your church by example by taking risks and praying for people – The culture of a church is shaped from the top down; so as you take risks, it will be imparted to your church. Some of the greatest healing revivalists prayed for hundreds of people before they saw someone healed. John Wimber taught on healing at his church every week for over two years before they saw their first person healed. There has to be a relentless tenacity when pursuing healing. Randy Clark says, “The price you pay for a healing ministry is to push past the disappointments.” Remember: Healing is not our idea, healing is God’s idea. We are not trying to convince Him. He is trying to convince us. When someone steps out and prays for someone, even if they do not experience healing, celebrate the risk, not just the testimony. Make sure to celebrate every testimony publicly.

DECLARATIONS

  • Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He still likes to heal.
  • I have authority to heal because of what Jesus has done.
  • Our church is a magnet for healing, and people around us constantly get healed.

 
 

About Help! I'm a Pastor

Help! I Am a Pastor addresses many common situations in church life that few seem really prepared for. It gives tools to successfully addressing these happenings with humor, healthy beliefs, and divine strategies.

The truths presented will help every church leader become more proactive in his or her leadership, plus be able to equip their teams with the core values necessary to create healthy ministries. This book includes 80 life and leadership core values and 50 real-life scenarios of everyday church life.


Steve and Wendy 2016.jpg

ABOUT STEVE BACKLUND

Steve Backlund was a senior pastor for seventeen years before joining the team at Bethel Church in Redding, CA in 2008. Steve is a leader developer, joy activist, a revivalist teacher, and as Senior Associate Director, is a key part of the Global Legacy (a ministry of Bethel Church) leadership team. He travels extensively throughout the world encouraging churches and leaders and has authored a number of books.

For more, check out Steve's iTunes podcast, YouTube Channel, Facebook page, Twitter, and Instagram.


Stay Connected to Steve and Wendy!

5 Ways to Finish the Year Strong

5 Ways to Finish the Year Strong

 

by Steve Backlund

 

Long distance runners plan to have a “kick” at the end of their races. They train and prepare to sprint toward the finish line, knowing how they finish will almost always determine the result of their race. With this analogy in mind, here are five ways to finish this year strong:

 

Clean up any relational messes – “If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men” (Romans 12:18). Take the initiative to bring healing to relational hurts. When we say, “I am so sorry for how I have contributed to this...”, we give God a great opportunity to defuse any anger or offense in our relationships.

 

Take inventory of your spiritual life - “But the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice” (1 Kings 19:11-12). It was not in the spectacular spiritual events that Elijah was recalibrated, but it was in quieting his spirit to hear the “still, small voice” of God. As we spend extra time with the Lord to listen and re-evaluate our priorities at the end of the year, we give Holy Spirit the opportunity to speak God’s love to us and help redirect us from any negative tendencies in our lives.

 

Send powerful messages to the important people in your life – Take time to tell people what they mean to you. Find ways to say “thank you” to those who are serving you and making a difference in your life. These acts of kindness will make a bigger difference than you know.

 

Make a list of what you did well in the year – Don’t just dwell on what you could have done better in the year, but celebrate your successes and what you did right. The devil is called the “accuser of the brethren” (Revelation 12:10). He constantly wants to accuse us of what we are not and where we still fall short. God’s heart for us is not to listen to the devil’s accusations, but to rejoice in the progress we are making in Him.

 

Find ways to take positive steps towards the goals you had for the year – Most of us have some goals for the year that we did not complete. As we draw to the end of December, it is a good time to revisit these goals and take some active steps towards greater momentum in these areas. For instance, if we did not eliminate as much debt as we purposed to do, then pay something extra toward the debt’s principal (even if it is very small). Or, if you wanted to write consistently for a blog but didn’t make as much progress as you'd hoped, contact someone who has written a blog and ask them to pray with you about a strategy to write more in the coming year.

 

I see God empowering you with an incredible spiritual “kick” as you finish off 2016 and welcome 2017. Bless you much.

 



ABOUT STEVE BACKLUND

Steve Backlund was a senior pastor for seventeen years before joining the team at Bethel Church in Redding, CA in 2008. Steve is a leader developer, joy activist, a revivalist teacher, and as Senior Associate Director, is a key part of the Global Legacy (a ministry of Bethel Church) leadership team. He travels extensively throughout the world encouraging churches and leaders and has authored a number of books.

For more, check out Steve's iTunes podcastYouTube ChannelFacebook pageTwitter, and Instagram.

The Incessant Talker Is Approaching You

The Incessant Talker Is Approaching You
 

An Excerpt from Help! I'm a Pastor

by Steve Backlund

SCENARIO:

Pastor Vair E. Fair values interaction and input from people in meetings he leads. It usually has gone well in the past, but that was before Don Dominator started attending his church. Don has a very powerful personality, and he loves to talk. It is not unusual for him to go on ten-minute verbal marathons at home groups and in meetings – often taking the conversation off topic. Also, Mr. Dominator always seems to be the first person to speak in any group setting. People like Slowie Processor and Moses Stutterer never seem to get a word in when Don is in the room. If you were Pastor Fair, what would you do?

LIES ASSOCIATED WITH THIS SCENARIO:

  • People who talk too much cannot be a significant part of the church.
  • There are no solutions concerning someone who loves to talk.
  • If someone does not talk much, it means they have nothing important to say.
  • I do not have the ability to lead meetings if there are strong personalities there.

LIFE AND LEADERSHIP CORE VALUES TO CONSIDER:

  • I build a culture of feedback in my ministry that I lead by example.
  • I proactively anticipate challenges that could occur in the future.
  • I pursue relationships with the strong influencers in places I am called to lead.
  • I believe people’s negative qualities are usually immature characteristics of
  • positive qualities in their life.
  • I help people understand how their behavior impacts others.

DISCERNING WHAT GOD IS DEVELOPING IN ME:

  • I am learning how to lead small group meetings at a higher level.
  • I have the opportunity to discern in a higher way how to have freedom without the same people dominating a meeting.
  • I get to grow in inspiring and connecting with different personalities.

QUESTIONS TO ASK BEFORE TAKING ACTION:

  1. Is Don aware of his tendency to excessively talk?
  2. How much training do we provide our leaders on leading small group meetings?
  3. Is this situation exposing insecurities in me regarding me being a strong leader?
  4. What can I learn from experienced small group leaders?
  5. How can I structure meetings to avoid long-winded talkfests?

PRACTICAL STEPS TO CONSIDER:

1. Improve your leadership training on how to lead small groupsSmall group leadership training is a must for healthy experiences in these groups. This training should cover topics such as planning, building trust, nurturing growth, growing a leadership team, delegation, handling common problems, etc. There are many books and online resources to help with this. Also, it is good to have all small group leaders meet once or twice a year for a refresher training and to share with each other what is working and where they need help.

2. Partner with the strong influencer to improve meetings – One of the best strategies with any challenging person in group settings is to ask the person to partner with you to help the meeting flow better. This sends an “I need you” message to the person and helps him or her see the bigger picture. “Don, I love your enthusiasm to participate at such a high level in our small group. As you can probably see, people like Slowie and Moses don’t share much. I want so much to help them grow in their confidence to share what God is giving them. Would you help me?”

3. Learn how to decrease the likelihood of people regularly dominating meetings – This can be done by: a) giving ground rules for what sharing will look like – “Keep your comments to two minutes or less,” b) If the dominating person keeps talking, interrupt him as they catch their breath and say, “That’s a good point. Slowie, what do you think?” c) If he interrupts someone who is talking, hold your hand up and say, “Sorry, Don, Moses was talking first.” Turn to Moses and say, “Moses, now what were you saying?” d) Meet privately with the talker after the meeting to share in love what you saw happening and why you did what you did. Note: we need to be secure in our leadership. Our goal is not to prove to others we are a good leader but to actually believe we are a good leader.

DECLARATIONS:

  • My leaders and I are skilled facilitators of small group meetings.
  • I really help incessant talkers know how to succeed in small groups.
  • I am able to successfully lead different types of people.


ABOUT STEVE BACKLUND

Steve Backlund was a senior pastor for seventeen years before joining the team at Bethel Church in Redding, CA in 2008. Steve is a leader developer, joy activist, a revivalist teacher, and as Senior Associate Director, is a key part of the Global Legacy (a ministry of Bethel Church) leadership team. He travels extensively throughout the world encouraging churches and leaders and has authored a number of books.

For more, check out Steve's iTunes podcastYouTube ChannelFacebook pageTwitter, and Instagram.

5 Habits of Highly Ineffective People

5 Habits of Highly Ineffective People

by Steve Backlund

Stephen Covey wrote the best seller Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Conversely, here are some habits for anyone who wants to be highly ineffective (or wants to know what habits to avoid on a journey towards greater effectiveness):

Impulsiveness – Emotion-based decisions need time for confirmation before being finalized. Whether it is “falling in love”, making a major purchase, or some other big decision, it is wise to find ways to protect yourself from bad choices. We can do this by having good accountability in our lives, by setting aside time for prayer and Bible reading, and by invoking a 24 hour, one week, or one month rule of refusing to make a major decision within that time period.

Laziness – It has been said that the difference between successful and unsuccessful people is that successful people find ways to do what they don’t want to do, while unsuccessful people won’t find those ways. We all have many things we don’t want to do, but those who don’t advance in life tend to prioritize play before responsibilities.  

Victim Mindsets – Blaming others for our lack of progress blocks us from seeing the pathways available to us for forward movement in our lives. One of the ways to overcome such tendencies is to read stories of people who have overcome great odds in life to do great things, such as Helen Keller or William J. Seymour of the Azusa Street Revival.

Mistreating People – Those who put goals above quality relationships will invariably hurt others. When we aspire to be great regardless of how it impacts others, we are not successful people. People on their death beds rarely say, “I wish I would have made more money or been in the office more.” On the contrary, people at the end of their lives often wish they would have loved their family and others in a greater way by cultivating relationships more.

Ignoring Spirituality – As a person of faith, I have come to the conclusion that ignoring the spiritual side of life will eventually have negative consequences. If you are looking for a place to begin to activate your spirit in a great way, I recommend reading one chapter every day from the book of Proverbs in the Bible. It is a gold mine of wisdom.



ABOUT STEVE BACKLUND

Steve Backlund was a senior pastor for seventeen years before joining the team at Bethel Church in Redding, CA in 2008. Steve is a leader developer, joy activist, a revivalist teacher, and as Senior Associate Director, is a key part of the Global Legacy (a ministry of Bethel Church) leadership team. He travels extensively throughout the world encouraging churches and leaders and has authored a number of books.

For more, check out Steve's iTunes podcastYouTube ChannelFacebook pageTwitter, and Instagram.

It's Not Fair!

It's Not Fair!

An excerpt from Let's Just Laugh at That For Kids

by Steve Backlund
 

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done." Philippians 4:6

 

Have you ever thought you don’t get as much as others do? Or do you believe "My parents let my brothers and sisters do more than me." Or you think "My friends get more than I do" or "The teacher gives other people special jobs, and I never get to be chosen!” As you think about these things, the warning light in your mind may begin to flash. “What about me?!” You feel something rising inside of you. Now it’s fighting to get out of your mouth, and then these words cannot be held in any longer: “It’s not fair!” As you say this, the siren sounds. Quick action is required. You pull out your weapon of choice — the Laughter Boots. You slip them on your feet and start stomping that lie to dust!

The Truth:

If we are only looking for things to be equal, life will never seem fair. There are several Bible stories that may not seem fair to us. One is when David goes to battle with 600 hundred men (1 Samuel 30). The battle is so long and hard that 200 hundred men had to rest by a stream. They left the others to fight. Later, the 400 men came back victorious. David asked for the treasure they won to be shared between the 600 men. Some of the fighters may have asked, “Why should these lazy men get anything?” They complained because they had done the work while the others rested. Still, David demanded it to be shared evenly. Fair does not always mean equal. Even Jesus didn’t spend the same amount of time with each of His disciples, but He knew what they needed. Jesus had twelve disciples, but He spent more time with the three. If we look at what we don’t have, life will never seem fair. Jesus might not give us what someone else has, but He always gives us what we need.

What Can I Say?

• God always has the best for me.

• My life is special and unique. It will look different than anyone else’s.

• I choose to think more about what I have than what I want.

What Can I Do?

• Refuse to compare – Comparing yourself to another person can steal your joy. Instead, don’t worry about anything, but pray about everything (Philippians 4:6-7). Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. You will be amazed at how much better things will be.

• Treat people well – It starts with you. You get to change your world by treating people around you with honor (Luke 6:31). As you do this, you will often find people treating you more fairly. If you are waiting on someone else to treat you right first, then fairness may never happen. What is one thing you can do today to treat someone else well? Consider doing something like putting an encouraging note around your family’s dinner plates or on their pillows before bed.

• Celebrate the good stuff – Do a happy dance over something you are grateful for. Sometimes we can have the most amazing things right in front of us and not realize what we have. If you’re with family and friends, go ahead and have a party. Blow up balloons and put up decorations. There are plenty of things to celebrate. Invite your parents to enjoy the party with you.



ABOUT STEVE BACKLUN

Steve 2016 2.jpg

Steve Backlund was a senior pastor for seventeen years before joining the team at Bethel Church in Redding, CA in 2008. Steve is a leader developer, joy activist, a revivalist teacher, and as Senior Associate Director, is a key part of the Global Legacy (a ministry of Bethel Church) leadership team. He travels extensively throughout the world encouraging churches and leaders and has authored a number of books.

For more, check out Steve's iTunes podcastYouTube ChannelFacebook pageTwitter, and Instagram.

5 Ways to have a Better Christmas this Year

5 Ways to have a Better Christmas this Year

 by Steve Backlund


Yes, Christmas is just around the corner. It's time to prepare for a great time with God and loved ones, and to celebrate together! There are many different ways to have a great Christmas this year, but here are five suggestions:

1. Pray about it – "You have not because you ask not" (James 4:3). Our prayers are powerful and effective. When we ask God to bless our Christmas time, it causes things to happen that would not have happened if we had not prayed. When you agree with a loved one in prayer for a glorious Christmas, the power of prayer increases (Matthew ‪18:19).

2. Find ways to be less stressed – There are so many good things to do during the Christmas season, but we cannot do them all.  Often, when we don’t plan ahead of time, we find ourselves impulsively saying “yes” to too many things or taking on too much emotional responsibility for the happiness of others. The few weeks before Christmas are a good time to pull out your calendar to get a clear idea of what your true priorities are during this holiday season.

3. Bless the poor – One of the best things a family can do is to give to and/or serve the poor during the holiday season. Christmas is the season for giving and it is good to give beyond what we give to our immediate families. Find someone less fortunate than you and bless them in some way. It will make Christmas extra special. 

4. Take time to feed your spirit – The Christmas story is incredible. As we bask in its reality and truths, we will ignite a fresh work of the Spirit in our lives. Find a way to spend extra time in His presence or attend something special to connect personally with God this time of year, like a Christmas Eve candlelight service.  

5. Focus more on heart connections than on having the perfect Christmas – This season is about relationships (first with God, then with our families, and others). Don't let perfectionism rob you of the special bonding moments available during the holidays. 

At Igniting Hope Ministries, we’re praying you and your family have the best Christmas yet.



 

ABOUT STEVE BACKLUND

 

Steve Backlund was a senior pastor for seventeen years before joining the team at Bethel Church in Redding, CA in 2008. Steve is a leader developer, joy activist, a revivalist teacher, and as Senior Associate Director, is a key part of the Global Legacy (a ministry of Bethel Church) leadership team. He travels extensively throughout the world encouraging churches and leaders and has authored a number of books.

For more, check out Steve's iTunes podcastYouTube ChannelFacebook pageTwitter, and Instagram.

5 Ways to Become Thermostatic Instead of Being a Thermometer

5 Ways to Become Thermostatic Instead of Being a Thermometer

by Steve Backlund

 

Thermometers diagnose the temperature, while thermostats set the temperatures. Influencers are "thermostatic" people who create a higher level of experience for those connected to them. Here are five things to know to activate the thermostat within you.

1. Know the faith walk is believing and then seeing – I used to only believe something was true once I saw it in my experience. For instance, I would not believe I was an influencer of nations until I actually saw that I was influencing nations. God told me, "That is not how this all works. You must believe to see, not see to believe." Faith is believing something is true even before we see it in our experience.

2. Know things don't immediately change when you set a new temperature on your thermostat – It would be foolish to say, "This is not working!" thirty seconds after you set a new temperature on the thermostat. It takes time for the environment to catch up to the new setting. Likewise, our experiences will catch up to our beliefs and the waiting time is called "faith."

3. Know we cannot get our beliefs  from our feelings or our past experiences  – These are the two main ingredients of "thermometer living": 1) We don't deny the past,but we cannot get our beliefs from it, and 2) we acknowledge the facts of what is happening, but we believe in truths that are higher than the facts of our experiences.

4. Know that what we renew our minds with today radically influences what we will experience tomorrow – Romans 12:2 says to "be transformed by the renewing of your mind."  How we renew our minds now creates future experiences. If we only renew our minds with what has happened, we will repeat what has happened. Thermostatic people intentionally meditate on and believe the promises of God even when their experiences are saying something totally different.

5. Know "life is in the power of the tongue" – Those who don't upgrade their language will have more difficulty being thermostatic. Our words are containers of life or death (Proverbs 18:21) and they become a directing force in our lives (James 3:2-5).



ABOUT STEVE BACKLUND

Steve Backlund was a senior pastor for seventeen years before joining the team at Bethel Church in Redding, CA in 2008. Steve is a leader developer, joy activist, a revivalist teacher, and as Senior Associate Director, is a key part of the Global Legacy (a ministry of Bethel Church) leadership team. He travels extensively throughout the world encouraging churches and leaders and has authored a number of books.

For more, check out Steve's iTunes podcastYouTube ChannelFacebook pageTwitter, and Instagram.

Empowering Truth

Empowering Truth

by Wendy Backlund

 

"Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world" (1 John 4:17).

For the most part, our minds have been trained to view life from the perspective of our past as mere mortals.  It is up to us to train our brains to see life from the perspective of the spirit and to view ourselves as resurrected beings.

We obtain eternal life when we have faith in Christ and His resurrection. But we have a transformed life when we have faith in our resurrected life.

I am passionate about becoming more aware of the things of the spirit and recognizing that I am more spirit than flesh. Romans 12:2 says that we are transformed by renewing our minds. This means that to be transformed into the fullness of our new creation, we must have new belief systems. We learn to base our new identity on the Word of God, not past experience that was gained from this natural realm.

If we want to become empowered to live out our destiny, we will need confidence, boldness, and courage. These traits do not come from what we have done, but they come from what we believe we can do. Empowerment comes from not only knowing our identity, but also believing in our delegated authority. Empowerment from others will eventually manifest when we feel empowered by the Word of God.

Feeling empowered entails having a renewed mind concerning the truth about our capabilities as new creations. Our identity is linked to understanding that we are children of God. Being a child of God means we learn through process and failure just as human babies do. Human babies do not "do" shame and guilt unless their parents teach it to them inadvertently. Learning to walk in the spirit is a process and not a one-time event. When a baby is born, we do not expect him/her to walk, talk, or do math from birth. But we do know that all these abilities are built into the baby in creation. We offer grace and help while they are in the process of learning to do these things.

Many Christians talk about being a new creation, but it is just a theology to them. When asked what it means to be a new creation, often they cannot explain what they have become. They think that if they fix the old creature, it can somehow make them into a new creature. Do you see the dilemma? They think they are caterpillars required to act like butterflies. So they keep working on their caterpillar identity, trying to make themselves capable of flying by cutting off their feet.

So what are you? If we are resurrected with Christ, then we are not supposed to just try to act like Him, but believe like Him. We are not as He was here on earth, but the scripture in 1 John above states that we are as He is right now.

It is time to rehearse what we are in our imagination. Use the Word of God to discover truths about our new identity. Make a determined effort to challenge every thought that robs you of confidence, boldness, hope, or courage. What beliefs will encourage and inspire you?Think on these things.



WENDY BACKLUND

Wendy Backlund is an author and speaker. She, along with her husband Steve, have a unique ministry that ignites hope, joy, and victorious mindsets into people's lives. Wendy has a passion for setting Christians free from their past and empowering them in their walk with Christ. She is a revelatory speaker, equipping people to see life from a supernatural perspective.

Social Links:
Website: wendybacklund.com
Facebook: Wendycbacklund
Twitter: Wendycbacklund
Instagram: Wendycbacklund
Contact: info@wendybacklund.com

Touching Faith

Touching Faith

An Excerpt from the book Living From the Unseen
by Wendy Backlund


“And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body,
already dead (since he was about a hundred years old),
and the deadness of Sarah’s womb. He did not waver at the
promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith,
giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what
He had promised He was also able to perform.”
Romans 4:19-21

I love how God speaks to me. He will drop a thought in my mind, and then wait to see if I will be noble enough to search out all the riches within that thought (Proverbs 25:2). One of the most wealthy thoughts that has come to me is “I do not need to do anything different, I just need to attach great faith to what I am already doing.” This powerful truth has two aspects that I want to discuss.

The first is learning to recognize what kind of faith we are unconsciously attaching to our actions, circumstances, or people. This was made real to me one day while getting ready for a counseling session with a certain person. I was dreading the meeting, and God asked me why. I explained to Him that the person I was meeting with was not very teachable and was very prone to defensiveness and anger.

In short, I was expecting very negative results from this meeting. God then quietly said, “If that is your faith for this appointment, I do not want you to go.” I was stunned because I knew He was not telling me not to go, but to change my faith for the meeting. In order to do that, I had to “see” differently. When I became receptive to seeing the meeting through the eyes of my spirit, I realized I had limited the meeting to the natural realm. 

He began to remind me that I carried a spirit of revelation that could influence her thoughts and emotions. I was able to see myself walking in the substance of love and grace, which would enable her to feel accepted and teachable. Once I saw the potential for the meeting, I got excited and attached great faith to what would be accomplished. As a result, it was a great meeting! 

Now when I have feelings of dread, I recognize that I have attached negative beliefs to the situation. Too often, we accept feelings of dread because it seems reasonable. But it is just a signal that we have made conclusions based on the natural realm rather than the supernatural realm.

This principle is not just for things that seem spiritual. For instance, soon after the counseling meeting that I mentioned above, God asked me why I often procrastinated and dreaded vacuuming my carpet. I thought about it and became aware that I believed vacuuming was time consuming and hard. This belief was based on my unpleasant experience as a young girl vacuuming our large family home. I purposely began changing my belief about vacuuming. I began to see it as easy. When I actually timed myself, I discovered that (in the house I lived in) it only took ten minutes! I also began using the time while vacuuming to pray in the spirit and began to love it! This experience taught me that just because something feels true, it does not mean it is true.

Changing what you believe about something will change the feelings attached to it. Are you dreading a meeting, a responsibility, or even an entire day? Ask God to show you what belief has caused this dread. Then allow Him to show you what it can look like through the eyes of your spirit. As we learn to recognize when we are attaching negative faith to our life, it can be a fun adventure. I love the results of freedom from dread to life!



ABOUT WENDY BACKLUND

Wendy Backlund is an author and speaker. She, along with her husband Steve, have a unique ministry that ignites hope, joy, and victorious mindsets into people's lives. Wendy has a passion for setting Christians free from their past and empowering them in their walk with Christ. She is a revelatory speaker, equipping people to see life from a supernatural perspective.

Social Links:
Website: wendybacklund.com
Facebook: Wendycbacklund
Twitter: Wendycbacklund
Instagram: Wendycbacklund
Contact: info@wendybacklund.com

5 Ways to Improve Your Decision Making

5 Ways to Improve Your Decision Making

by Steve Backlund



Decision making is certainly a big part of our lives. I recently read the average adult makes about 35,000 decisions a day. Most of these are small ones, but that is still a lot of decisions!


In Proverbs, we frequently read about prioritizing wisdom. One aspect of wisdom is the ability to make decisions that lead to joy and peace rather than to stress and chaos.
 

"Happy is the man who finds wisdom, and the man who gains understanding; For her proceeds are better than the profits of silver, and her gain than fine gold. She is more precious than rubies, and all the things you may desire cannot compare with her. Length of days is in her right hand, in her left hand riches and honor. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her, and happy are all who retain her" (Proverbs 3:13-18).


These are great promises in finding wisdom and understanding. Assuming that our decisions are based on the Bible and not on our feelings or what is popular in culture today, we are blessed when we base our decisions in relation to the timeless principles of God’s Word. With this reality as our foundation, here are five ideas on how to improve your decision making:
 

  1. Implement the 24 hour rule – Impulsive decision makers fail to consider the long term implications of what they are deciding to do. They base their choices on the emotions they feel in the moment, rather than on seeing how saying yes or no fits into bigger priorities already made. To avoid making impulsive decisions, say, "Let me get back to you tomorrow after I have had more time to think about this. If it is a bigger decision, even more time will be needed.
     

  2. Only takes big risks if you have a big story from God – The Bible is filled with big risk takers. For instance, Joseph only committed to marrying a pregnant Mary after he had a powerful dream from God on the matter. We too will receive a "story" from God to do what is seemingly illogical.
     

  3. Find ways to “date” your decision before you “marry” it – I tell leaders to "date" people with lesser responsibilities before they "marry" them with a big title in their ministry or organization. This principle can be carried over into decision making as well. One way to do this is by deciding in your spirit what you are going to do, and then giving God time to fully confirm before you announce your decision to others.
     

  4. Clarify all your options – Anxiety about making decisions can be decreased by clearly identifying our options. Once we know what we can do, it will start a process of elimination that will help lead us to the best decision.
     

  5. Make your decision in faith – Once you have done all you know to do to make the highest choice, then decide in faith. Double-mindedness is the enemy of great decision makers and great influencers. We can build the "muscle" of making decisions in faith by releasing high-level beliefs in smaller decisions we make (i.e., giving or not giving to a need, going or not going to a meeting, etc.).



ABOUT STEVE BACKLUND
 

Steve Backlund was a senior pastor for seventeen years before joining the team at Bethel Church in Redding, CA in 2008. Steve is a leader developer, joy activist, a revivalist teacher, and as Senior Associate Director, is a key part of the Global Legacy (a ministry of Bethel Church) leadership team. He travels extensively throughout the world encouraging churches and leaders and has authored a number of books.

For more, check out Steve's iTunes podcastYouTube ChannelFacebook pageTwitter, and Instagram.

10 Characteristics of Empowering Meetings

10 Characteristics of Empowering Meetings

from the newly released book The Culture of Empowerment

by Steve Backlund 

Teammates are encouraged and empowered when they get to participate in meetings that are life-giving, strategic, and encouraging. The benefits of being part of a team that consistently has empowering meetings are limitless. 

In our previous blog, w discussed the 13 Characteristics of Non-Empowering Meetings. (PUT LINK HERE)

 This week, we want to highlight the positive characteristics of empowering meetings. 

CHARACTERISTICS OF EMPOWERING MEETINGS:

1. Proactive planning and communication takes place. 

2. Time is regularly set aside to celebrate testimonies of team members'  successes and wins.

3. Attendees are given opportunities to influence the quality of meetings by participating in various aspects of the meeting (e.g. opening or closing the meeting, sharing testimonies, facilitating a discussion, or leading a team building exercise, etc.).

4. Laughter is a norm in team meetings.

5. Leaders draw out thoughts and ideas from quiet team members. 

6. Attendees understand how the meeting fits into the bigger purposes of the relationship or organization.

7. Leaders express gratitude for the team members and have a great ability to make people feel valued.

8. Individuals are celebrated frequently, including those who are behind-the-scenes.

9. Leaders give regular, constructive feedback. 

10. Meetings have time set aside for people to respond to the question, “Is there any other business we need to cover?"



ABOUT STEVE BACKLUND
 

Steve Backlund was a senior pastor for seventeen years before joining the team at Bethel Church in Redding, CA in 2008. Steve is a leader developer, joy activist, a revivalist teacher, and as Senior Associate Director, is a key part of the Global Legacy (a ministry of Bethel Church) leadership team. He travels extensively throughout the world encouraging churches and leaders and has authored a number of books.

For more, check out Steve's iTunes podcastYouTube ChannelFacebook pageTwitter, and Instagram.

5 Ways to Empower Your Children

5 Ways to Empower Your Children

by Steve Backlund
 

Having the stewardship of raising and influencing children is an honor and a privilege. As parents, pastors, and teachers, we have an opportunity to speak powerfully into their lives and influence them. Here are five quick ideas to empower your children to do what they thought they could never do: 

1. Regularly tell them who they are – Your words are more powerful than you know. Take advantage of important times (bedtime, while driving, etc.) to let them know who they really are. In my book The Culture of Empowerment, I state that empowering leaders speak to their people much more about who they are more than just telling them what to do. We can empower our children similarly by speaking life-giving identity statements over their lives. As we increase in speaking positive encouragements over our children, we will see them grab a hold of these truths and believe in themselves more each day. 

2. Help them review their prophetic words – As a parent, you have the privilege of providing times for them to receive prophetic words. To make this happen, I suggest asking others to give your children prophetic words. Record or write these words down and begin to discuss, review, and pray for these words with them on a regular basis. 

3. Have others "adopt" your child – Wise parents recruit others to be positive influences on their children. This could be other adults, or it could be a teen or an older child who can mentor your child. These individuals will be able to impart impactful words to your children. In addition, they can be a strength to you in helping you deepen the relationship with your children. 

4. Train them to be responsible and respectful – Faithfulness and honor are two qualities we want our children to have. They are pivotal and needed to open future doors of opportunity and favor for their lives. These qualities don't just automatically happen, but they are the result of God – anointed parenting. 

5. Expose them to the greater needs – Take your children on a mission trip. Have them help you feed or love on the homeless. These types of activities help our children to truly know they are bless, and it will also help them to understand the Biblical truth that true empowerment is to serve the needs of others. 



ABOUT STEVE BACKLUND

Steve Backlund was a senior pastor for seventeen years before joining the team at Bethel Church in Redding, CA in 2008. Steve is a leader developer, joy activist, a revivalist teacher, and as Senior Associate Director, is a key part of the Global Legacy (a ministry of Bethel Church) leadership team. He travels extensively throughout the world encouraging churches and leaders and has authored a number of books.

For more, check out Steve's iTunes podcastYouTube ChannelFacebook pageTwitter, and Instagram.

13 More Characteristics of Non-Empowering Meetings

13 More Characteristics of
Non – Empowering Meetings

from the newly released book The Culture of Empowerment

by Steve Backlund
 

Following last week's blog on the  14 Characteristics of Non - Empowering Meetings are 13 more characteristics of non-empowering meetings. May this check-list allow you to upgrade to another level in your team meetings. 
 

1. The leader crams too much into the meeting and needs to rush through things to fit everything in. 

2. Those in attendance do not feel safe to contribute and give feedback, feeling unsure as to whether they would be treated with respect and honor for doing so. 

3. There is an inherent climate of fear over having a different opinion than that of the leader. 

4. The leader projects an "I have it altogether" persona and feels unapproachable. 

5. The leader fails to create a vision for how the meetings fit into the higher purposes and goals of the organization leaving the attendees in confusion. 

6. The leader does not value people's time, thus creating an atmosphere of discouragement. 

7. The meetings include surprise announcements that blindside team members without notice. 

8. The leader does not anticipate or speak into the anxieties, questions, and concerns the teammates may have.

9. The majority of the meetings are too predictable with little or no room for creativity and discovery. 

10. The leader blames subordinates for problems prevalent in the organization. 

11. Feedback from the teammates regarding their experience in the meeting is rarely pursued and addressed.

12.  The leader ignores negative attitudes from team members allowing the toxic atmosphere to continue. 

13. The meetings exclude any form of recap of previous meetings or follow-up. 



ABOUT STEVE BACKLUND

Steve Backlund was a senior pastor for seventeen years before joining the team at Bethel Church in Redding, CA in 2008. Steve is a leader developer, joy activist, a revivalist teacher, and as Senior Associate Director, is a key part of the Global Legacy (a ministry of Bethel Church) leadership team. He travels extensively throughout the world encouraging churches and leaders and has authored a number of books.

For more, check out Steve's iTunes podcastYouTube ChannelFacebook pageTwitter, and Instagram.

5 Things to Know Before Election Day

5 Things to Know Before Election Day

 by Steve Backlund

 

The 2016 United States presidential election is fast approaching. Years ago, I had a man in my church who would answer the phone with the words, “What do you know?” As we phone heaven in prayer regarding America, we may well hear those words from the Heavenly Father. The more we know about His perspective, the more peace we will have and the more influence we will possess.

Here are five things to "know" and establish deep in our spirits, particularly for American voters as we approach this important time:

Our Votes are Important – We have been given the privilege of participating in a democratic society. Your one vote in national or state wide elections may seem small and insignificant, but it is not. As God’s people, we are trusted as one of the many He is guiding to have His purposes accomplished in all areas of life including the elections. So research about the candidates, seek God’s wisdom, and vote in righteousness, but also cast your votes in faith that it will make a difference.

Prayers for Our Political Leaders are a Part of Our Calling – 1 Timothy 2:1-4 are verses to inspire us to create chain reactions that lead to national peace and great salvation in our countries. “Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” We are called to channel our emotions concerning our leaders first into prayer and thanks, and then into action as God directs regarding the state of our country.

We Are to Release the Opposite Spirit of This World – We can sense much agitation and polarization between people right now. However, we are not to fight with the world’s weapons of hate, name calling, pessimism, and fear; we are to fight with love, wisdom, hope, listening, supernatural wisdom, Holy Spirit power, the display of transformed lives, and speaking the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). As we seek to have the opposite spirit of the world, it is important to be careful what we say on social media. Here is a good piece of advice: don’t write or say everything you feel.

Hope is an Unstoppable Force – Our hope level will powerfully impact our influence level. First, we have the blessed hope of eternal life. This is a good time to remind ourselves that our true home is not of this earth. Secondly, we can take strength from the story of the dry bones in Ezekiel 37 where Ezekiel’s hope and prophetic ministry caused circumstantial dry bones to come alive. Ultimately, the question is never how dry the bones are, but whether someone believes the bones can live. We rightly try to stop national "bones" from getting dry, but we know our greater battle is to keep hope alive in our hearts (Hebrews 10:23, Romans 15:13).

God Has a Specific Word and Assignment for You in This Season – In times of challenge and crisis, God’s answer is always calling out and sending a man or woman into an assignment. Even though we don’t want to minimize the importance of government, God’s solutions don’t start there. As we look through Scripture, we see unlikely people incredibly used by the Lord to turn things back to vibrant spirituality in the nations. The powerful assignments for today are not just for a chosen few, but are for every single one of us (whether what we do is visible to others or not). So what is God saying to you? What is your calling in this hour? As you are able to put language to what you believe you are to do (and more importantly be), then strength and purpose will arise in you to be an answer for today.


For more reading on this topic, read our previous blog, 10 Lies Not to Believe in This Election Season.


“We must train our soul and body to trust our spirit” – Wendy Backlund

Join us for Feasting on the Spirit with Wendy Backlund! Wendy Backlund is hosting a 28-day online devotional of intentionally growing our spirits. Register for Feasting on the Spirit to receive a daily email revelation and activation from Wendy Backlund. Topics including, "Giving My Spirit a Voice", "Stop Acting and Start Believing", and "The Power of Blessing." Let your spirit journey in Heavenly places, transforming mind, soul, emotions, and body from the inside out. Be prepared to be transformed. 


ABOUT STEVE BACKLUND

Steve Backlund was a senior pastor for seventeen years before joining the team at Bethel Church in Redding, CA in 2008. Steve is a leader developer, joy activist, a revivalist teacher, and as Senior Associate Director, is a key part of the Global Legacy (a ministry of Bethel Church) leadership team. He travels extensively throughout the world encouraging churches and leaders and has authored a number of books.

For more, check out Steve's iTunes podcastYouTube ChannelFacebook pageTwitter, and Instagram.

14 Characteristics of Non-Empowering Meetings

14 Characteristics of

Non-Empowering Meetings

by Steve Backlund

 

We have all been in team or committee type of meetings that were productive, fun, and empowering. We have also probably attended bad meetings with dysfunctional leadership and behaviors by attendees. Those latter meetings are no fun and are often extremely non-empowering in nature. 

In order to improve the meetings we lead or can influence, I have listed 14 characteristics of non-empowering meetings. It is a good list to use as a "check-up" for your official gatherings.

CHARACTERISTICS OF Non-empowering meetings:

1. The leaders speak down to people.

2. Strong personalities dominate the conversation and flow of the meeting.

3. Those attending the meeting have little or no ability to influence the leader or organization.

4. Non-leaders are seen more as slaves and servants of the vision, rather than dreamers and co-laborers.

5. Leaders give the impression their negative attitudes and poor performance result because they are a victim of their low-quality team and subordinates.

6. There is little or no proactivity concerning how to involve people in the meeting.

7. The meeting purpose is unclear.

8. Little or no action plans are developed as the result of meeting.

9. Team members regularly forget important things from previous meetings.

10. There is little or no focus on the personal or family lives of those in the meeting.

11. Leaders are insecure, creating intimidation concerning strengths of others in the meeting.

12. Team members are competitive with each other and do not have a vision for the importance of making the team stronger.

13. People do not feel inspired to come early or on time.

14. New people are not acknowledged or introduced.


STeve's NEW BOOK:

The Culture of Empowerment


ABOUT STEVE BACKLUND

Steve Backlund was a senior pastor for seventeen years before joining the team at Bethel Church in Redding, CA in 2008. Steve is a leader developer, joy activist, a revivalist teacher, and as Senior Associate Director, is a key part of the Global Legacy (a ministry of Bethel Church) leadership team. He travels extensively throughout the world encouraging churches and leaders and has authored a number of books.

For more, check out Steve's iTunes podcastYouTube ChannelFacebook pageTwitter, and Instagram.

Healing from Hurts in the Church

Healing from Hurts in the Church

from the soon-to-be-released The Culture of Empowerment
by Steve Backlund

Many Christians have had negative experiences with church leaders. Instead of being empowered, they were not honored for who they were. These situations cover the spectrum of small irritations to major abuses. Whatever the situation may be, God’s love and power can “heal the brokenhearted” (Isaiah 61:1) to experience hope again, and His love can “restore our soul” (Psalm 23:3) to emotional wholeness.

If this has been the case for you, I would like to repent before you on behalf of any hurt you have experienced from church leaders. I have written a brief letter to you representing your past church leaders, expressing this repentance, and then asking for your forgiveness. I believe God will use it to bring healing to the hearts of many.

Before I share this letter, I want to clarify that some of the hurts that people believe leaders caused them actually could have resulted from their own wrong perceptions of what was actually happening. I have been a church leader for many years, and I have had various situations where people accused me of being unloving or controlling, but it was actually not the case at all. These perceptions of me resulted from the person’s own unresolved issues, and often from a lack of understanding concerning the many factors church leaders have to consider in making decisions or creating policies. With that said, in other situations, I realize that I was insensitive to the people around me.

Also, this letter is not meant to be a substitute for any needed personal interaction in dealing with offense and conflict, but for cases where that’s not possible, it can provide a powerful step in internal healing and give freedom from past hurts. Even if you’re able to meet in person with a leader who has hurt you, going through this forgiveness process will be very beneficial.

 

Dear Beloved,

I am so sorry that I hurt you. Please forgive me for not believing in you more, for being insensitive to your needs and feelings, for saying hurtful things, for not apologizing when I was wrong, for sending you the message that you were a failure, for making you not feel valued, for not trusting you, for not hearing your story, for being abusive in any way, for focusing more on what you could do for the church than on how I could help you thrive in every area of life, and for letting my fears and insecurities affect how I treated you. I’m sorry if any of these things caused you to live a life of feeling unsafe under leadership, caused you to believe you must perform well to be loved, caused fear in you, or caused you to be restricted in anyway from being fully you. I regret these things very much. Again, please forgive me.

Love,
Steve Backlund

Now it is your turn. We recommend taking some time with the Lord as you read through this letter. It is a powerful thing to acknowledge your pain with God in remembering the situation, the people involved, and how you felt. Let the words of the letter impact your heart as you read it. If there is forgiveness to release on your part, use the prayer of forgiveness below to help you release it. If you would like to, you can choose to imagine the person standing in front of you to assist in engaging your heart with the process.

Here is a prayer of forgiveness for you to pray concerning past leaders:

__________________ (Say the name of the leader you believe has hurt you in any way), I forgive you for hurts I experienced under your leadership. I release you from my judgments concerning this. I pray that you will be blessed in your relationship with God, in your family, and in your ministry.

In Jesus’ name,  Amen.

After you have completed this forgiveness process, ask God to fill you with His love for this leader. Ask God to reveal to you how He sees that person. Then release a prayer of blessing over them. We are also aware that one of the prevalent mindsets that can be established under apparent disempowering leadership is the victim mindset. This mindset believes we are the victims of another’s leadership, a victim of their choices, and that our future and destiny is determined by them. We can break free of victim thinking by renewing our minds with the truth. One way to do this is to make Biblically-based faith declarations.

We are so thankful when healing takes place through forgiveness. And we also rejoice that God not only heals, but also He powerfully turns all things for good in our lives. We are believing that for you on your journey to greater wholeness and increased influence. 



ABOUT STEVE BACKLUND

 

Steve Backlund was a senior pastor for seventeen years before joining the team at Bethel Church in Redding, CA in 2008. Steve is a leader developer, joy activist, a revivalist teacher, and as Senior Associate Director, is a key part of the Global Legacy (a ministry of Bethel Church) leadership team. He travels extensively throughout the world encouraging churches and leaders and has authored a number of books.

For more, check out Steve's iTunes podcastYouTube ChannelFacebook pageTwitter, and Instagram.