Archives For Pastor Rick Warren


In ministry, some things must never change, but others must change constantly.

Clearly, God’s five purposes for his Church are non-negotiable. If a church fails to balance the five purposes of worship, fellowship, discipleship, ministry, and evangelism, then it’s no longer a healthy church, and it’s in danger of becoming simply a social club.

On the other hand, the way or style in which we fulfill these eternal purposes must continually be adjusted and modified because human culture is always changing.

For instance, when I first started Saddleback Church, fresh out of Southwestern Seminary, computers were in their infancy, slow and cumbersome and capable of very limited functions. The Internet was just a crude academic network and nobody had even heard of email. Now I often sit in my pajamas and have conversations with people across the globe.

In addition, you can get on a plane and within a few hours fly to almost anywhere in the world, and that means there’s even less of an excuse for not being involved in foreign missions, even if just for the short-term. The times, they are a-changing, and they’ll keep right on a-changing whether we want them to or not.


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God expects you to know not only what you believe but why you believe it. And now, more than ever, our world needs Christians who can explain what they believe and why they believe it to others. Why? Because most of the people in the world don’t have a clue as to what they really believe.

Our culture shows obvious signs that we live with a confusing hodge-podge of worldviews. Some are guided by materialism – the idea that all there is to this world is what we can see and touch. Others are dominated by hedonism – the idea that the pursuit of pleasure is higher than every other pursuit. Still others are governed by pragmatism – the idea that whatever works for you is all that matters.

So how, in a generation represented by such a confusing mix of viewpoints, do we strengthen our biblical view of the world? In at least three ways…

1. Learn the truth

Jesus concluded his most famous sermon, the Sermon on the Mount, with a story about two different men who built houses. One built his house on the shaky foundation of sand. The other built his house on the solid foundation of a rock. When the storms…

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God never wastes your pain. In fact, out of your greatest pain will come your greatest ministry.

It was in my role as a father that I heard the call to be an advocate for people living with mental illness. Our youngest son, Matthew, struggled terribly with mental illness almost his entire life; his suffering was immense.  Then, in 2013, in an impulsive moment of despair, he took his own life. As a family, we were crushed and devastated.

Over the difficult months that followed, Kay and I decided to not waste our pain, but to allow God to use it to help others.

In Luke 4:17-21, Jesus talked about his model for ministry, which he has passed on to the church today:

The scroll of Isaiah the prophet was handed to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where this was written: ‘The Spirit of the LORD is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free and that the time of the LORD’s favor has…

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When it comes to fellowship, size matters: Smaller is better. You can worship with a crowd, but you can’t fellowship with one. Once a group becomes larger than about 10 people, one or two will dominate the group, and someone – usually the quietest person – will stop participating altogether.

Unfortunately, creating small groups within your church does not guarantee your people will experience real community. Many Sunday school classes and small groups are stuck at a superficial level and have no clue as to what it’s like to experience genuine fellowship. They may share a meal together, but they don’t share their lives.

As a pastor, you can build small groups that matter – groups that provide a place for members to fully experience biblical fellowship – by focusing on four essential elements: authenticity, mutuality, sympathy, and mercy.


Authentic fellowship is not superficial, surface-level chit-chat. It is genuine, heart-to-heart, sometimes gut-level, sharing. It happens when people get honest about who they are and what is happening in their lives – when they share their hurts, reveal their feelings, confess their failures, disclose their doubts, admit their fears, acknowledge their weaknesses, and ask for help and…

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Re-Ignite Your Passion

Passion is what energizes life. It turns the impossible into possible. In fact, if you don’t have any passion in your life, ministry will become boring, dull, routine, monotonous. I’ll go so far as to say if you don’t have passion in your life you are not living. You are existing. God made you to live a passionate life and to serve him and his people with vitality. With vibrancy. With energy. With enthusiasm. He wants you to have this in your life.

In John 10, Jesus said “My purpose is to give life in all its fullness.” God wants you to live a full life, a fulfilling life, which is the basis for a fulfilling ministry. If that’s true, that’s the kind of life God meant for us to live. Life is meant to be enjoyed, not merely endured. Sadly, however, countless thousands of pastors and ministry leaders are simply enduring, holding on for the ride and hoping to survive until death without blowing it too badly.

The apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 1:9, “God, who got you started in this spiritual adventure, shares with us the life of his Son…

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There are a lot of reasons a church might grow. Sometimes people come because of the preaching. Sometimes people come because of the music. Some people like the great programs for kids and youth.

But I’m convinced there’s an often overlooked factor in church growth: Growing churches are friendly to guests. All churches think they’re friendly, but when you take a good look at them, you often discover they’re friendly to people who have been attending for 15 years or more – not to new people.

A guest’s first 12 minutes dramatically influence whether they’re coming back or not. You never get a second chance to make a first impression. When non-Christians come to your church for the first time, their number one emotion is fear. What will people think? What are they going to do? Am I going to have to sign something, sing something, sacrifice something, or say something? They don’t know what’s going on, and they’re scared to death.

Your first goal with guests (and by the way, I never call them visitors) is to get them to relax. Then you can communicate with them. When people are afraid, their barriers…

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Everything you have is a gift from God – your health, your life, your salvation, your freedom, your friends, your family, your opportunities. God expects you to make the most of the things he gives you. The word for that in the Bible is called “stewardship.” Stewardship is the Old English word for “management.”  And just as you manage your time and your money, you also manage your influence.

God expects you to use your influence to help other people. What is influence? The Cambridge Dictionary defines influence as, “the power to affect how someone develops, acts, or thinks.” God expects you to be an influence.

You should want to be influential. In fact, it’s quite selfish to say, “I don’t really care about the rest of the world. I don’t care about helping anybody else.  I’m just thinking about little ol’ me.” In fact, Jesus commands that you use your influence for good in this world. You were put here to be an influence for good. God wants you to do that. Someday we’re going to give an account to God of how well we influenced others for good and for God.

In Matthew 5:16, Jesus…

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If you want to see lasting change in your life, you need to commit to a steady diet of God’s Word, the Bible. We all want to be spiritually and relationally healthy, but we fail to realize the power of this one habit – filling our minds daily with truth from our Creator. James 1:25 says, “The truly happy people are those who carefully study God’s perfect law that makes people free, and they continue to study it. They do not forget what they heard, but they obey what God’s teaching says.” 

We tend to believe a lot of lies – about God, about ourselves, about our world – and the result of believing those lies and repeating negative, untruthful thoughts is that we wind up depressed. We wind up dependent on things other than God. The way to change that mental pattern is to fill your mind with the Word of God.

For emotional and spiritual stability and for mental health, I need to soak up all of the truth I possibly can from God’s Word so that my focus will be on the right things. And the Bible emphasizes at least…

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If the people in a church grow, then the church will grow. One of the core ideas I wrote about in The Purpose Driven Church, and which we teach in our Purpose Driven events, is that every church needs a process for making disciples.

Some argue that we shouldn’t be attempting to reach consumers, but this assumes that every believer is spiritually mature. Others believe we should simply be teaching believers, but this neglects the church’s role in evangelism. The truth is, every Sunday, your church will have people in attendance at all kinds of places in their spiritual journeys.

PD CirclesAt Saddleback, we’ve always thought of our target audience through the concentric circles. When you’re planning sermon series, outreach, and ministry, you must think of the various levels of spiritual maturity. We’ve identified at least six…

1. The Community

The community is made up of everyone you have the potential to reach on a given Sunday. They live near your church. They’re possibly aware of your church’s existence. And they may even visit occasionally. But for the most part, they are unchurched. They likely haven’t decided to…

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God always blesses us so we can bless others. After The Purpose Driven Life came out and became one of the best-selling books in history, it became clear that God wanted to use my influence to help others. That’s when God put The PEACE Plan on my heart. PEACE is an acronym that stands for:

  • Planting churches that promote reconciliation
  • Equipping servant leaders
  • Assisting the poor
  • Caring for the sick
  • Educating the next generation

It’s basically what Jesus did when he was here on earth. There’s not a lot that’s unique about doing these five things. Mission organizations in all corners of the globe are doing them already. Churches have done them for 2,000 years.

It’s how these five things are done that makes PEACE unique. These are the seven PILLARS of The PEACE Plan…

Promotes, plants, and partners with the local church

First and foremost The PEACE Plan is about reclaiming the primacy of the local church in its role in global missions. Why? For the last century, the church has abdicated that role to parachurch organizations, mission boards, and mission organizations. Don’t get me wrong. These organizations are doing great work, but they were never…

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We have a lot of haphazard ministry being done in our churches around the world. Good people, who love the Lord, aren’t thinking through what God has called them to do. Ministry is too important to be done haphazardly. We can’t just say, “I’ll give it my best shot!” We need to think through what the ministries in our church are all about. Our ministries must be good stewards of all they’ve been given. For that to happen, we’ve got to plan ministry strategically.

There are seven important questions that need to be answered when you’re planning an effective ministry. These are questions for any healthy ministry – whether it’s your music ministry, greeters, small group leaders, or any other ministry team.

1. Why are you here?

Every ministry in your church should have a clear idea of what it’s all about. That means asking two tough questions… What is the business of this ministry? And what is none of this ministry’s business?

What’s the business of Saddleback? We attract members, teach them to worship God, develop them to Christlike maturity, and mobilize them for ministry in the church and a life mission in the…

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It’s been just over six weeks since the 2016 Purpose Driven Church Conference, and I’m still hearing stories of pastors who walked away with a renewed vision for their church and ministry. After 10 years, it was exciting to see so many new faces. We learned that 70 percent were attending the Purpose Driven Conference for the first time!

With so many people asking for more foundational training for The Purpose Driven Church, I knew the time was NOW to host Purpose Driven Essentials. On October 11-14, I’ll be sharing classic PD strategies including: establishing a foundation for growth, defining your church’s purpose, reaching your community, growing a congregation, building disciples, and much more.

This 4-day seminar is all about understanding PD strategies and learning how to move the local church body into engaged disciples for impact in the community. I’ll be teaching all the materials, with opportunities for workshops to really dig into the fundamentals of building a healthy church. This is exactly the kind of thing you’ll want to bring your core leaders and church members to, since I’ll be giving you proven systems for the local church.

No matter if…

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