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