Help Wanted: Children's Ministry

Help Wanted: Children's Ministry

Scenario from Help! I'm a Pastor

by Steve Backlund

SCENARIO

Pastor Ned Helps has a church of 100 people. One of his members, Phil Thuneed, has been voluntarily doing children’s ministry every week. Phil mentioned recently that he is feeling burnt out and desiring to serve elsewhere. The last volunteer that expressed interest did not show up. For the last four months, no one has responded to the verbal requests for help in children’s ministry. Pastor Helps is faced with a tough situation. He doesn’t know how to relieve Phil and still have this ministry continue without him. What would you do?

LIES ASSOCIATED WITH THIS SCENARIO

  • If I ask for help in the church too much, people will get annoyed and stop coming to church.
  • Children’s ministry is only a stepping stone to real ministry.
  • Anyone who does not want to serve in our children’s ministry is a bad Christian.
  • I am not an empowering enough leader to inspire people to want to help in children’s ministry.

LIFE AND LEADERSHIP CORE VALUES* TO CONSIDER

  • Core Value #8 – I pursue “buy in” from leaders and key people involved before making a big decision.
  • Core Value #42 – I am primarily a developer of leaders.
  • Core Value #66 – I motivate people through vision instead of guilt and manipulation.
  • Core Value #69 – Children do not have a junior Holy Spirit.
  • Core Value #45 – I give generously in the areas where I have need.

DISCERNING WHAT GOD IS DEVELOPING IN ME

  • I am learning how to create a culture that values the next generation and is excited to invest in them.
  • I have the opportunity to inspire, raise up, and equip new leaders for children’s ministry.
  • I get to believe in a greater way that the Lord will provide for all my needs and those of my people.

QUESTIONS TO ASK BEFORE TAKING ACTION

  1. Who on our leadership team can I strategize a plan with?
  2. What are five things I can do to create greater vision for children’s ministry?
  3.  What are other churches doing that is working?
  4. Have I realized and responded to the main reasons people do not want to serve?
  5. How could we pay for a part time person to lead this ministry?

PRACTICAL STEPS TO CONSIDER

1. Personally lead a meeting for parents of children and others interested in children’s ministry – Here is an idea that will help bring breakthrough in any area of need in the church: Call a meeting for people who have a heart for a particular ministry. Lead this meeting as the senior leader (unless your church is large enough to have another leader lead). Share your heart with the group. Take time to pray about this need. Ask the Holy Spirit to speak. Let people share what they believe God is saying. Discuss strategies. Conclude on an action step or steps. Meet again in a few months. Through these meetings, identify those with integrity, who are passionate, and have your core values to be on a team to help in the ministry.

2. Move forward in becoming a church parents want to attend – Some practical steps include: a) Clean up the nursery. b) Have a family pastor. c) Support local schools. d) Have a Moms group. e) Include practical helps for families in sermons, blogs, social media, and in other ways. f) Have annual parenting classes and marriage training. g) Find ways to be a strength to single parents. Finally, don’t underestimate the power of simply noticing and being kind to the children in your church. All parents love to be around those who think their kids are special.

3. Do what you can now to see children powerfully impacted by the gospel – Studies have shown most Christians came to faith as a child or were strongly influenced to do so from a childhood experience. Even if your children’s ministry is struggling, there are things you can do to impact children: children’s camps, Vacation Bible Schools, prayer meetings for children, after school clubs, special services for children, and having children participate in training for things such as praying for the sick. Find ways to bless and honor children during services.

DECLARATIONS

  • I communicate about needs in my ministry with vision and inspiration.
  • My high-level beliefs attract outstanding children’s workers.
  • The children of our church are the next world leaders. Signs and wonders follow them.

*Read all 80 life and leadership core values for pastors in Steve Backlund's book, Help! I'm a Pastor. More info below.


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 scenarios.


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.

Chapters in The Culture of Empowerment

Chapters in The Culture of Empowerment

To give you a snapshot of the content within Steve Backlund's new book, The Culture of Empowerment: How to Champion People, we've provided the chapter titles from the book below. Scroll further for a link to purchase your copy and learn more!

TABLE OF CONTENTS

  • Foreword by Wendy Backlund
  • Introduction 
  • Empowerment Assessment 
  • Chapters by Steve Backlund (with contributions by Melissa Amato)
    • 1 – What is Empowerment? 
    • 2 – Empowering Beliefs 
    • 3 – Empowering Yourself by Wendy Backlund
    • 4 – Being an Empowering Person 
    • 5 – Empowering Language 
    • 6 – Establishing a Culture of Empowerment 
    • 7 – Choosing Who to Empower & When 
    • 8 – Increasing the Likelihood of Being Empowered 
    • 9 – Creating an Empowering Leadership Training Program 
    • 10 – Empowering Meetings – Part One 
  • Chapters by Phil Backlund
    • 11 – Empowering Others Through Listening 
    • 12 – Empowering Public Speaking 
    • 13 – Creating a Positive Communication Climate 
    • 14 – Empowering Ways to Work with Challenging People 
    • 15 – Empowering Meetings – Part Two 
  • Appendices
    • Appendix A – Practical Steps to Grow as an Empowering Leader 
    • Appendix B – Testimonies of Steve’s Mentoring 
    • Appendix C – Intern/Volunteer Team Resources 
    • Appendix D – Empowering Staff Appraisal 
    • Appendix E – Grace Place: The Culture of Empowerment in Action 
    • Appendix F – Ten Keys to Lessen Team Relationship Challenges 
    • Additional Resources from Steve and Wendy Backlund 

 
 

Steve 2016 2.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.

5 Keys for Pastor and Leadership Team Harmony

5 Keys for Pastor and Leadership Team Harmony

by Steve Backlund

Healthy relationships result from making them a priority. The quality of our ministries are dependent on the quality of the relationships we maintain within the ministry, and there are no more important relationships for a senior leader than with his/her leadership team. Here are five keys to increase the likelihood that you will have harmony and healthy relationships with your church leadership team:

  1. Meet consistently with your leaders – The wise leader has regular group leadership gatherings (monthly or bi-monthly is best), plus he prioritizes personal meetings with them in the calendar (monthly for the most important leaders and less frequently for others). There are few things more important to be in your calendar than these meetings. 
  2. Grow with your leaders – Read the same books (or audio messages) and discuss them at meetings. Don't just use meetings to deal with problems or urgent matters, but leave room in the meetings discuss things that are going make your leaders stronger in life and ministry. 
  3. Encounter God with your leaders – Church leadership is a supernatural calling. It is the wise senior leader who creates consistent opportunities for the core team to encounter God together. This starts with the team praying and worshiping together, and can go deeper through going to conferences, having guest speakers pour into the team, prophesying over each other, etc. 
  4. Find ways to champion the dreams of your leaders – Our relationship with each of our leaders should create a win-win situation for you and them. As we use our favor and wisdom to help our leaders move forward in their dreams, it will draw their heart to us and cause them to be a stronger influencer. 
  5. Develop a culture of feedback and good communication – Our team needs to hear something like this: "We want to grow as a leadership team so we will regularly give feedback on various aspects our ministry." Obviously, it is important for you as the senior leader to also get feedback, and we certainly do not want to empower people with "critical spirits" to give feedback, but a culture of feedback is vital for a healthy ministry. We will share more on this in an upcoming teaching. 

What other keys have you learned for developing good relationships with your leadership team? Share them in the comments section below!


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.

Responding to "We Do Church at Home"

Responding to "We Do Church at Home"

by Steve Backlund

Read this excerpt from Steve's first church leadership book, Help! I'm a Pastor about a common scenario many church leaders face with people they know. 

SCENARIO

Pastor Unita Church is frustrated with the Freedom family who attends her church’s special meetings, but does not come on Sunday because they watch Internet services of their favorite revival church. Frank Freedom tells Pastor Church, “We believe God has called us to do church at home as a family. We appreciate what you offer in these special meetings, but we do not believe we are to attend consistently.” Unita has noticed that the Freedom family seem to be strong, consistent believers and have children who love God. If you were Pastor Church, would you strongly encourage the Freedoms to start attending a church?

LIES ASSOCIATED WITH THIS SCENARIO

  • People who do church in their home are bad people.
  • If we disagree with what someone is doing, it means we are dishonoring them.
  • Churches who put their services on the Internet are a hindrance to the local
  • church.
  • Only a legalistic person would be concerned if someone was not in consistent fellowship.

LIFE AND LEADERSHIP CORE VALUES TO CONSIDER

  • Core Value #16 – I embrace seasons of building trust in the eyes of those I lead.
  • Core Value #38 – I pastor a city and region, not just a local church.
  • Core Value #35 – I adapt my leadership and relational emphasis according to the culture I am in.
  • Core Value #61 – I have high-level beliefs about the people I lead and desire to influence.
  • Core Value #70 – I am more for things than I am against things.

For 80 life and leadership core values, reference pages xv-xxviii in 'Help! I'm a Pastor.'

DISCERNING WHAT GOD IS DEVELOPING IN ME

  • I am learning how to become an increased strength to all believers in my
  • region.
  • I have the opportunity to evaluate how my church can grow in reaching
  • different kinds of people.
  • I get to celebrate believers in my area who have a great hunger for God.

QUESTIONS TO ASK BEFORE TAKING ACTION

  1. Am I more concerned about building my church than what God is doing in people?
  2. How can I be a blessing to this family?
  3. How can we become stronger in reaching those who have become disillusioned by church?
  4. How can we increase a value for being connected with a local group of people?
  5. Should I share my concerns with this family? If so, how and when?

PRACTICAL STEPS TO CONSIDER

  1. Understand why many Christians do not attend traditional churches – It is too simplistic to say people who do not attend a church regularly are out of God’s will. Some do not come because they have had very negative experiences in church. Others do not have a revelation of the importance of consistent fellowship. There are also those who have challenging family dynamics which affect the ability to make a church commitment. Certainly some are distracted by wrong priorities and undisciplined living. Whatever the reason, it is always good to understand people before labeling them as wrong or uncommitted.
  2. Determine to “pastor” a region, not just your church – It is small thinking to only consider yourself the shepherd of the people who attend your ministry. Something powerful happens when we take spiritual ownership of a city or region. The success of our ministry is not determined by how many people attend on a weekend, but it is to be judged by the influence we have on the widest spectrum of people – including other churches and those who do church at home. This positive impact will increase exponentially when we do it out of pure motives, and not out of selfish ambition.
  3. Articulate life-giving beliefs about the importance of being in consistent fellowship – Many leaders have used Hebrews 10:25 as a spiritual club in an attempt to knock sense into inconsistent church attendees (“not forsaking the assembling together as is the manner of some”), but using Scripture as a law probably will not help most people. Great leaders have the ability to inspire people to do what they formerly did not want to do.

DECLARATIONS

  • I love Christians who do church at their home and am a blessing to them.
  • Because of the amount of life in our church, people can hardly stay away.
  • I am able to articulate great beliefs about why Christians should commit to consistent fellowship.

About Help! I'm a Pastor

Help! I Am a Pastor addresses many common situations in church life that few seem really prepared for, including 80 life and leadership core values and 50 scenarios. 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. 


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.

Are Victorious Beliefs Replacing the Prayer Meeting?

Are Victorious Beliefs Replacing the Prayer Meeting?

by Steve Backlund

I have observed in the last ten years that prayer meetings are playing less of a role in the life of most churches. There may be many reasons of this, but I believe one of them is the revelation of the finished work of the cross and of our identify in Christ. These revelations have seemingly swung the pendulum from having faith in the prayer meeting to a greater beliefs-focused approach of standing in our true authority (which does not require time in corporate prayer to possess). This has seemingly lessened the need for prayer meetings. Is this good or bad?

I think it is both good and bad. It is good because so many prayer meetings simply were vain repetitions of past prayer meetings, begging God to do something He has already done sessions, and frequently were magnets for dysfunctional people to dominate what was happening. On the other hand, it is bad because corporate prayer meetings are key to expressing dependence on God, to utilizing the power of agreement in prayer, and to increasing life changing encounters in the ministry. 

So, what should we do? I believe we need to keep growing in our beliefs, but also ask God to lead us (or keep leading us) in creating a new wineskin for corporate prayers. 

Here are five ideas to infuse new life in your ministry’s corporate prayer life: 

  1. Do a teaching series on a topic like “The Power of Corporate Prayer” or “New Wineskin Praying” God often speaks most to us when we prepare and teach on a topic. A series like this would be an ideal time to also dismantle bad beliefs and bad practices concerning prayer. 
  2. Meet with a group of people in your ministry who have a heart for prayer – As we intentionally connect with people we trust in this way, it gives God something powerful to work with in ideas and in people being raised up to take the prayer minister to another level.  
  3. Increase your emphasis on the baptism in the Holy Spirit and in praying in the Spirit People overflowing with the Spirit are more prone to want to pray. 
  4. Expand the type of corporate prayer meetings you could have These could include 24/7 harp and bowl prayer times, declaration prayer meetings, governmental prayer meetings, Holy Spirit encounter times, praying the Word prayer times, or whatever God inspires you to do.

I am sensing a new wind blowing on our prayer lives (both personal and corporate). Jesus said, “My house will be called a house of prayer.” Something great happens when we lead our people to a greater heart and hunger for prayer. 


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.

"Pastor, Your Sermons Are Not Feeding Me!" (HELP! I'm a Pastor Scenario)

"Pastor, Your Sermons are Not Feeding Me!"

SCENARIO

After Pastor B.D. Word preached on a Sunday morning, a member of his church, I.M. Famished, approached him. “Pastor, I have loved being here, but your sermons just aren’t feeding me. This is my last Sunday here. I am going to look for another church.” Pastor B.D. Word was shocked and hurt. He didn’t know whether to laugh nervously, get defensive, or quit the ministry. If you were Pastor Word, how would you respond? 

LIES ASSOCIATED WITH THIS SCENARIO

  • Because I received negative feedback, I must not be called to preach or teach.
  • This person is just a consumer Christian and needs to learn to feed themselves.
  • If someone isn’t happy, I must be doing something wrong.
  • There is nothing I need to improve in my preaching or teaching style. 

LIFE AND LEADERSHIP CORE VALUES TO CONSIDER

  • I build a culture of feedback in my ministry that I lead by example.
  • I refuse to blame those I lead for the quality of our ministry.
  • I am more concerned about building people than I am concerned about building a ministry.
  • I seek to listen and understand before I seek to be heard and understood. 
  • My response to something is almost always more important than the something. 

DISCERNING WHAT IS BEING DEVELOPED IN ME

  • I am learning to get my identity and self-worth from God, not the affirmation or criticism of people.
  • I have the opportunity for God to grow me as a communicator of His Word.
  • I get to grow to be “quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger” (James 1:19) when someone says something that stings. 

QUESTIONS TO ASK BEFORE TAKING ACTION

  • Is this an isolated incident or consistent feedback that I get?
  • What do the people I trust most say about my speaking ability?
  • How does God feel about this situation?
  • Am I preaching “the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27)?
  • Am I putting time and prayer into my messages or giving “stale” leftovers? 

PRACTICAL STEPS TO CONSIDER

  1. Make sure your sermons are an overflow from your life with God – We teach what we know. We impart who we are. We can not give what we do not have. Jack Hayford said this about preparing sermons: “If it feeds you, it will feed them.” Bill Johnson has said, “I never study to prepare a sermon. I study for me. When I teach, I am breaking off a piece of my own life and feeding them.” What are the relationships, experiences, and practices that feed your heart? If you are not encountering the Lord or having the message hit you at some point during your preparation, nobody else will either. Is your schedule or pace of life affecting your sermon preparation or your alone time with God? If so, you may need to delegate more responsibility or recruit more volunteers or staff.

  2. Create a strategy to grow and develop as a communicator of God’s Word – There is a saying, “All Word and no Spirit, you dry up. All Spirit and no Word, you blow up. Word and Spirit together, you grow up.” Learn how to partner with the Holy Spirit to see God’s anointing change people’s lives through your messages. Also, constantly seek to improve your public speaking skills by taking classes, studying other communicators, reading books that inspire you, and/or participating in a group that inspires people to grow in delivering sermons.

  3. Gracefully bless the transition of the one leaving the church – Remember, they are not “our” people, but they are God’s people. If someone feels they are not being fed, allow them to transition gracefully. Use the “grocery store test” to help you know how to respond. You want to be able to see that person in the grocery store and be able to go up to them and say hello and not have to go down another aisle to avoid them. As church leaders, our heart is to see people grow. If they will grow in the Lord more at another church, then we should bless them to go. 

DECLARATIONS

  • When I speak, the Holy Spirit rides upon my words and transforms lives.
  • I am committed to continually improving my preaching and teaching.
  • I respond well when people criticize me. 

 

Help! I'm a Pastor: Practical Wisdom for Church Leaders

by Steve Backlund with Jim Baker

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 scenarios.

5 Common Lies Leaders Face (and a Declaration to Take Its Place)

1.  I am the only leader in the world who feels dishonored by those they lead. Ha ha!

The classic, "I'm the only one!" lie. Whatever you are facing, you can be sure you are not alone. For this one particularly about honor, declare this, "I live a life of great honor which causes the people of our church to honor everyone including me."

2.  Our church must not be a safe place if there is conflict. Ha ha!

Here is a great declaration for a pastor facing a conflict with people in the church, "I consistently turn conflict into Kingdom growth for others and myself."

3.  The only way I can be respected is if my people think I do not have any weaknesses –Let's give an extra laugh at that! Ha ha!

Leaders, say this, "My humility and transparency is a powerful aspect of my ministry. I have wisdom for what to share and not share."

4.  As long as a person is anointed in a church service, it does not matter what choices or attitudes they have outside of the ministry setting. Ha ha!

Here is a powerful belief, "I process information given to me about others in a healthy way. I have and give away keys for success in everyday life.

5.  If someone isn’t happy with my preaching, I must be doing something wrong. Ha ha!

Here is a good focus for us today, "I am committed to a life-long personal growth plan, including my preaching and teaching."

Blessings,
Steve

The 5 Building Blocks of a Thriving Team - Michael Brodeur

The 5 Building Blocks of a Thriving Team - Michael Brodeur

When I first started out in ministry, I had a bad case of Young Man Syndrome. This strange affliction caused me to think I knew everything and needed no one. Thankfully, several years in the University of Hard Knocks cured me of my delusion and brought me to the conclusion that for success in ministry, you need a thriving team.