faith helps series
authored by Melinda Bak
a Christian resource to empower the adults in a child's life - to help their child through crises (click to pause)
"In August of 2015, the opportunity to work under Melinda's direction as the Director of Community Care opened up and I jumped into the very best work management I've ever served under.
She gave her entire team the freedom to complete their job in any way that they would be most confident. Her encouragement and belief that we would each do our best, prompted us to think outside the box and perform our assignments using all of our gifts and talents. The end result was a team of unique individuals coming together with JOY to work toward our very best. I'm still amazed at her unique management style and the incredible gift that it has been."
Kathy Morgan | Licensed Chaplain
created to solve the problem of reaching more individuals with crisis care
wrote and trained hundreds of volunteers, who capably went beyond the limits of staff
"I have known Pastor Melinda Bak for over ten years, and have related to her in a variety of contexts. First, I have been a colleague on the staff at North Heights Lutheran Church.
During that time, I have seen her pastor’s heart for people, her strong desire to have groups and ministries that are effective in their calling, her ability to cast vision and implement it while getting others on board and enthusiastic about it, and the ability to work in a team context.
During part of this period, she was my supervisor in our Community Care department. There, I saw her apply a model that we had developed for training counselors and use it, with adaptations, to train lay chaplains and visitors. She has good ideas herself, but is quite willing to use proven ideas from others. During her time in Community Care she grew the team of chaplains and visitors from eight to more than fifty. Then she took over our then-struggling Children’s ministry and rebuilt it based on her background in Education. She built a team of staff and volunteers that improved the overall ministry significantly. I have also seen her preach, teach, lead meetings, do problem-solving, and my personal experience of all these have been extremely positive.
She has the complete trust of the current board, and the five-member leadership team of which I am now a part, as well as many mature lay leaders who have been vocal in their encouragement and support. Rather than just put her head down and let the storm pass, she has continued to call the church forward into this current program year with a positive and engaging vision.
In her teaching, preaching and personal faith I find her to be intellectually sound, creative and thought provoking, all with a sense of humor and a bit of whimsy. I have personally gained from her insights in my own preaching, in our team meetings of planning worship and preaching themes, and in better understanding the way large systems like churches often function (or don’t function). She enjoys having a team that together works these things out, and trusts the members to do their part without micromanagement. She is also a woman in ministry that challenges prejudices and stereotypes but does so in a gracious, non-militant way. Ultimately, she has as her primary goal to be obedient to what God is calling her to do and be……..no more, no less.
It has been a privilege and pleasure to serve alongside Pastor Melinda Bak and, God willing, I will continue to have that opportunity going forward. I heartily recommend her."
Pastor Steven R Wiese | MS, M.DIV, LP
"Working with Pastor Bak on the Council of Elders was the place where I witnessed one of the finest modern day examples of servant leadership. At a time of decline, distress, and lack of staff leadership in the church, Pastor Bak was unanimously called upon by the Council to step into the role of Interim Senior Pastor. She willingly and obediently stepped into the role despite the fact that the church was on the edge of dissolution. Pastor Bak facilitated open discussion about ways to move forward and it is clear that she deeply desires to lead as a unified team.
She has provided clear direction on how to live within our means as a church, presenting department budgets that have helped our $7 million budget be a half-million in the black for the first time in about 10 years, making appropriate decisions on staffing levels and abilities, and planning ways to lead our church to being debt-free within the next year. Pastor Bak accepted her current position with the understanding that leading our church is not a position to be desired but an act of sacrifice. In my opinion she has given everything of herself, her very life.
As opposed to my “corporate” exposure to her servant nature, some examples of my personal experience are as such… One being during the worst times for me during my time on the Council (Board of Directors). During this time, I nearly went to the hospital several times due to the physical stress. Despite the great need and importance to the work that needed to be done, Pastor Bak noticed my distress and dropped everything to serve me. She made sure that I was fed and had a place to rest as well as took the time to talk through what I was struggling with. At another time when I was personally struggling with the need to make necessary budget cuts, she both called and met with me on several occasions to work through the difficulties of making the decision.
Despite great difficulty, danger, and risk to herself and her reputation, she has stood with strength, obedience, wisdom, and love."
Sincerely, Jason Graham
Member of North Heights' Board of Directors
quoted in other publications
"Melinda knows how to deliver facts as well as a high-expectations challenge, wrapping needful information in a compelling story that moves people toward greater commitment toward the vision and mission of an organization.
She not only believes that we can change the world, but stakes her life on it. Melinda knows how to convey that message in verbally and in outstanding written communications.."
Christopher Glasoe, Managing Director, Doxa Advisors LLC, Principled Wealth Management
team lead and initial concept
- by Melinda Bak
concept development, implementation, training
- by a diverse and collaborative team
goal: engage a thousand people in community service
goal: empower 5 teams of leaders to choose how to communicate 5-Fingers worth of information on their topic
"Melinda is an amazing leader who is above all creative and innovative.
Honest and insightful, she is willing to do the hard work that it takes to bring people along and execute a vision.
I have known Melinda for over 10 years, and have always been impressed with her tenacity, her ability to move people toward goals with her, and her incredible work ethic."
Nancy Going | Executive Director, Vibrant Faith
keeping it fun building team
"I have known Melinda Bak since 1998. Our common contact was The Youth & Family Institute then based at Augsburg College in Minneapolis. She was a presenter at TYFI's annual Leadership Conferences and TYFI's Certification Training for Milestones Ministry, in which I participated as a learner and in later years a presenter as well.
I consider Melinda a highly respected colleague. Our communication and contact has always been professional… and centered on issues, national conferences… in which Mindy is a respected contributor and national leader. Melinda is one of those people I always look forward to being in the same room with. Even when I am also a presenter, I will search her workshops out, as I know I will learn something new and be reminded again of what a superior workshop presentation looks like.
Melinda is an outstanding speaker, presenter, and facilitator. At a recent national Milestones Conference, which I coordinated, she received outstanding evaluations from participants, all themselves congregational leaders. Melinda's Together in Faith manual… In my opinion is still one of the best resources in the field that connects faith and home…when Melinda enters a room, I notice. She is always professionally dressed and carries herself with a sense of confidence and yet mindfulness to everyone around her."
Linda Staats, Generosity Project Coordinator, Intergenerational Engagement/ Global Mission, Board Member of Lutheran Association for Christian Educators