Archives For Pastor Rick Warren

Preaching to Unchurched

In terms of seeing radical life changes in individuals, nothing can take the place of Spirit-anointed preaching. The message is still the most important element of a worship service for the unchurched.

Saddleback’s growth — in spite of hot gymnasiums, cold tents, and crowded parking — has shown that people will put up with a lot of inconveniences and limitations if the messages are genuinely meeting their needs.

Here are a few tips I tend to share with pastors when they ask about preaching:

Provide an outline with the Scriptures written out.

I provide a printed outline of the message with all the Bible verses that will be used — and the verses are fully written out. There are a number of reasons that I do this:

  • Unchurched people may not own Bibles.
  • It relieves embarrassment in finding texts.
  • You can cover more material in less time. I once counted the number of times a well-known pastor said, “Now turn to this” in his message, and I timed how long he took. Seven minutes of his message was spent just turning pages!
  • You can have everyone read a verse aloud together because everyone has the same…

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Jumping

If you’re going to make a fresh start with faith in your life, you must face your fears. Fear has an incredible ability to paralyze our potential, to keep us from launching out, to keep us from having faith in our lives.

Giving into our fear makes us skeptical. We become afraid of trying anything new when we’re afraid.

Remember the story of Bartimaeus in Mark 10 in the Bible? He faced a fear that most of us face: the fear of rejection and disapproval.

He was blind and in need of healing. Jesus was walking by, but Bartimaeus knew that to shout out at Jesus in that crowd wasn’t the culturally acceptable thing to do. He knew that people would look down on him for it, but he was desperate.

And he knew that Jesus Christ was the only one that could help him.

Bartimaeus shouted. And sure enough, people in the crowd criticized him for it. When he shouted out to Jesus, the Bible says in Mark 10:48, “Many scolded him to get him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, ‘Son of David, have mercy on me!’” (NET).

When he shouted out, everyone around said things to him like, Don’t do…

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I’ve said many times that I want everyone on my staff to make at least one mistake a week.

Through Saddleback, I’ve learned that if you’re not making mistakes, then you’re not trying anything new. If you’re not trying anything new, then you’re not learning, and if you’re not learning, then you’re already out of date.

I want my staff members taking risks and making mistakes. That means they’re being innovative, and it means they’re not afraid to try.

Now, I don’t want them making the same mistake every week — that means they’re not learning. But I tell them, “Make a new mistake each week.” I also tell them, “Show the innovation and creativity to do something that you’ve never done before.”

Nothing great is ever done without talking risks, and I want a staff full of leaders. Leaders take risks. There’s another word for risk-taking: faith. Faith is a critical element in the success of your ministry. Will you believe God for big things?

One day I asked my staff to flip to Mark 10:27 in their Bibles. It’s the verse that says, “All things are possible with God” (NIV). I asked my staff to circle…

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I’ve often said that your network is way more important than your net worth.

God created us for relationship, and I believe that connecting with people is powerful.

I would love for our team here at Pastors.com to get to know more about you so we can better serve you. It will take less than a minute for you to complete the survey below.

Thank you, and God bless you!

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Map and Phone

In my previous article, I talked about our need to become world-class Christians. I talked about the importance of shifting our thinking from being self-centered to being others-centered. There are at least two other major shifts that need to happen in our thinking.

Shift from local to global thinking

God is a global God. He has always cared about the entire world: “God so loved the world” (John 3:16a NIV).

From the beginning, he has wanted family members from every nation he created. The Bible says, “From one person God made all nations who live on earth, and he decided when and where every nation would be. God has done all this, so that we will look for him and reach out and find him” (Acts 17:26-27a CEV).

Much of the world already thinks globally. The largest media and business conglomerates are all multinational. Our lives are increasingly intertwined with those in other nations as we share fashion, entertainment, music, sports, and even fast food. Probably most of the clothes you’re wearing, and much of what you’ve eaten today, was produced in another country. We’re more connected than we realize.

These are exciting days to be…

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World

You’ll either be a worldly Christian or a world-class Christian.

“Jesus said to his followers, ‘Go everywhere in the world, and tell the Good News to everyone’” (Mark 16:15 NCV).

“Send us around the world with the news of your saving power and your eternal plan for all mankind” (Psalm 67:2 TLB).

Worldly Christians look to God primarily for personal fulfillment. They’re saved but self-centered. They love to attend concerts and enrichment seminars, but you’d never find them at a mission conference, because they aren’t interested.

Their prayers focus on their own needs, blessings, and happiness. It’s a “me-first” faith: How can God make my life more comfortable? They want to use God for their purposes instead of being used for his purposes.

By contrast, world-class Christians know they were saved to serve and were made for a mission. They’re eager to receive a personal assignment and excited about the privilege of being used by God.

World-class Christians are the only fully alive people on the planet. Their joy, confidence, and enthusiasm are contagious because they know they’re making a difference. They wake up each morning expecting God to work through them in fresh ways.

Which type of Christian do you want to be?

God invites…

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Parent and Child

One of the most important things we can do for our children is to teach them that God loves them unconditionally.

It’s extremely important that we teach our kids that they are loved, not because they earned our love or are good enough to be loved, but that they’re loved because God put them into our families to be loved.

This is hard for many of us because we have had a hard time receiving God’s unconditional love ourselves. God wants us to spend some time with him, letting him love us, and in turn giving that unconditional love to our kids.

How can we show God’s unconditional love to our families? Here are two practical ways:

1. Forgive your kids as God forgives you.

Ephesians 4:32 says, “Be kind and loving to each other, and forgive each other just as God forgave you in Christ” (NCV).

I love that God forgives me, but I’m not always ready to give that same kind of forgiveness to other people. Parenting requires massive doses of forgiveness. You’re in a position all the time to forgive your kids for things that they do.

2. Never give up on your kids.

We’re told in 1 Corinthians 13:7a,…

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Mountain View

William Rainey once said, “Why didn’t somebody ever tell me that I could become a Christian and work on all my doubt afterward?” The fact is, every little step you take toward Christ moves you further away from the four “D”s — doubt, discouragement, depression, and despair.

We’re all moving, but sometimes we move slowly. Are you struggling this Easter with one of these “D” issues?

Are you doubting God’s love because you’re in a crisis? “God! I’ve just found out I have a terminal illness! Don’t you love me?”

Are you discouraged because you don’t think he cares for you? “God! Don’t you see the trouble I’m in? Don’t you care?”

Are you depressed because life has not turned out the way you thought it would? “God! My spouse is leaving me! Can’t you stop this from happening?”

Are you despairing because you don’t think he’s forgiven you for your latest sin? “God! I still feel guilty. Haven’t you forgiven me?”

The Bible makes this statement in 1 John 5:13: “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life” (NASB).

There’s…

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Church Planting

When Kay and I arrived in Orange County, it wasn’t our mission to plant a mega church. We wanted to plant a mission church.

That is, we wanted to plant a church that would plant other churches.

  • We wanted to plant at least one daughter church per year, and we’ve gone beyond that.
  • We wanted to send out at least 200 career missionaries, and we’ve sent out hundreds more than that.
  • We wanted to send thousands to the mission field, and we’ve sent tens of thousands.

I’ve been saying this for 30 years now: You don’t judge the strength of a church by its seating capacity, but by its sending capacity!

The ultimate goal of the Purpose Driven paradigm of church leadership isn’t just maturity. It’s missions.

If you’re just starting out, or have any interest at all in church planting, carefully read these 10 basic principles of planting a multiplying church.

1. Start with focused prayer.

Kay and I spent six months praying and asking God where we should go. The Bible says, “Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain” (Psalm 127:1a NIV).

More than any skill, talent, or resource, you need God’s guidance, direction, and blessing! So…

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Work

Work dominates our lives — especially those of us in ministry.

The typical American spends about 150,000 hours — or 40 percent of his life — at work (I suspect that for pastors, the number is even higher!)

In other words, you’ll spend more time working in ministry, thinking about ministry, and commuting to your ministry than you will eating, relaxing, and vacationing — all combined — this year.

Now, God wants you to succeed in ministry. In fact, in the Bible, God offers this guarantee:

“Put God in charge of your work, then what you’ve planned will take place” (Proverbs 16:3 MSG).

What does it mean to put God in charge of your work? There are three steps I’d suggest:

Seek God’s Direction

Ask him to guide you every day: in your planning . . . your organizing . . . your decision making . . . your implementing . . . and in relating to everyone you come in contact with. “The Lord is pleased when good people pray” (Proverbs 15:8a GNT).

Sharpen Your Skills

Be the best you can be for God’s glory. Never stop learning. Look for ways to cultivate the talents he’s given you.“If the ax is dull and…

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I’m often asked, “Is there any single common denominator that you can find in every growing church?” I have studied churches for many years, read about them, and visited them. I’ve discovered that God uses all kinds of churches, in all kinds of different ways, with all different methods and styles. But there is one common denominator that you can find in every growing church regardless of denomination, regardless of nationality, and regardless of size.

That common denominator is leadership that is not afraid to believe God. It’s the faith factor.

Nothing starts happening until somebody starts dreaming. Every accomplishment started off first as an idea in somebody’s mind. It started off as a dream. It started off as a vision, a goal. If you don’t have a goal for your church, your default goal is to remain the same. If you aim at nothing, you’re definitely going to hit it.

A church without a vision is never going to grow, and a church’s vision will never be larger than the vision of its pastor. So you as a leader and as a pastor must have God’s vision for your church. The very first task…

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January is the perfect time to add more small groups. Tell your members small groups are important because:

1. Small groups move us out of self-centered isolation. It’s the classroom for learning how to get along in God’s family. It’s a lab for practicing unselfish, sympathetic love. You learn to care about others and share the experiences of others: “If one part of the body suffers, all the other parts suffer with it. Or if one part of our body is honored, all the other parts share its honor” (1 Corinthians 12:26 NCV). Only in regular contact with ordinary, imperfect believers can we learn real fellowship and experience the connection God intends for us to have (Ephesians 4:16, Romans 12:4–5, Colossians 2:19, 1 Corinthians 12:25).

Real fellowship means being as committed to each other as we are to Jesus Christ: “Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers” (1 John 3:16b NIV). This is the kind of sacrificial love God expects us to show other believers — loving them in the same way Jesus loves us.

2. Small groups help us develop spiritual muscle. You’ll never grow to…

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