Archives For Rick Warren

Structure is far more important that we usually realize. Every building in the world has to have the right structure to stand up and not collapse. Living things have structure as well. An animal can grow to no more than nine inches without an internal skeletal system. And every church has a structure as well. Some churches are structured for health and growth while others are structured merely to maintain and to survive.

Jesus once said, “no one puts new wine into old wineskins. For the new wine would burst the wineskins, spilling the wine and ruining the skins.” (Luke 5:37 NLT) His point was that nothing can expand without a flexible structure. In fact, a rigid or inflexible structure is one of the reasons many churches cannot break through some common growth barriers.

How can you tell when your structure needs to be more flexible?

1. When your growth has plateaued. When you’re going nowhere, it is often the result of a structure that is holding your church back. It must be understood that structure does not cause growth. Re-structuring will not start growth for a church…

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Helmets

Leaders are readers. Leaders are learners. And leaders are definitely thinkers. Your mind is a special gift from God. It’s one of the most important tools in a leader’s arsenal. Your mind can potentially store 100 trillion thoughts, yet the average person only uses 3½ million thoughts a year. We only use about ten percent of our mental (or brain) capacity.

While our minds can be the epicenter of creative and influential leadership, our minds are also battlegrounds that must be guarded. All moral failure begins in the mind. 1 Peter 1:13 says, “Prepare your minds for action. Be self-controlled.” Notice that self-control and mental preparation go together. God says that the self-controlled person is the mentally fit person. We can love God with our minds. We’ve often talked about loving God with our hearts but God says we can love Him with our mind. I believe that God wants you to make the most of your mind. As that commercial says, “A mind is a terrible thing to waste.”

We battle an old sinful nature that often clouds our thinking. We live in a world that bombards us with false and counterfeit philosophies. And we have an…

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Start Over

God is a God of second chances and fresh starts. And if you’re alive and breathing and reading this post, God obviously isn’t finished with you yet. Don’t quit, and don’t give up, even when you’ve experienced failure. Instead, allow God to use failure to move you forward.

In my last article, I talked about five reasons we often experience failure, and today I want to share with you the four ways to recover from failure and move forward.

1. Accept responsibility for your own failure. 

Proverbs 28:13 says, “A man who refuses to admit his mistakes can never be successful. But if he confesses and forsakes them, he gets another chance.” When we refuse to admit our mistakes, they are wasted. Be honest with yourself. Be honest with others. Most of us are experts at passing blame on to others. It’s part of our natural sin nature. We blame the economy, we blame the weather, we blame fate, we blame luck, you blame your parents, you blame your spouse, you blame the government.

But God says if you want to start over — if you failed — just admit it. I don’t know where we get the idea that…

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Truett CathyOn Monday, September 8, 2014, Truett Cathy was called home to heaven.

Truett Cathy, founder of Chick-fil-A, was a giant of a man in so many ways: a godly man, a wise husband and father, a business genius, a creative innovator, a humble servant of Jesus Christ with rock-ribbed integrity, a generous philanthropist, and one who loved greatly, cared deeply for the poor, especially disadvantaged kids, and used his life and work to benefit others.

Most people, of course, have heard of Chick-fil-A, but few got to see the Cathy family up close, and marvel at this family dynasty of Christian faith. Truett and Jeanette’s legacy will live on through the great godly character and values they instilled in their children Trudy, Bubba (Don) and Dan. It’s been my privilege and honor to be a family friend of these dear people, their wonderful spouses, kids, and grandkids.

Truett was a man truly who lived his faith, welcoming the homeless into his own home, improving the lives of thousands of disadvantaged kids , and giving them help and hope. Even after becoming a billionaire CEO, Truett continued to teach his weekly Sunday School…

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FailureFailure doesn’t have to be final. In fact, I believe God wants to put our failures to work for us. Everybody experiences defeats in life. Everybody has failures. The book of Proverbs has a lot of insight into what causes failure. Five different things that cause failure in our life according to the book of Proverbs:

1. We fail when we don’t plan ahead.

It’s like the old saying, “If you fail to plan you’re planning to fail.” Proverbs 27:12 says, “A sensible man watches for problems ahead and prepares to meet them. But the simple minded man never looks and suffers the consequences.” Are you simple-minded? Some of us have a tendency to be impulsive. Yet the sensible man plans ahead. The impulsive person never looks ahead and suffers the consequences.

Proverbs 16:9 also says, “We ought to make our plans counting on God to direct us.” One of the reasons we fail is we just don’t plan. Was it raining when Noah built the ark? No. It didn’t rain for 120 years. That’s what I call long-range planning. For 120 years he worked on that ark. Jesus told the story about a man who…

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VolunteersIt’s impossible to have a healthy church that experiences multi-dimensional growth without trusting people enough to delegate leadership to them. Having said that, this remains one of the greatest bottlenecks to growth for thousands of churches. And delegation remains one of the hardest challenges for Pastors and church staff members.

One of the reasons we fail to delegate leadership is our fear of wildfire. We’re afraid things will get out of control – and indeed they will – but limiting control is actually what often fuels growth. We often encumber leaders with too much red tape. Policies and procedures have their place, but we can easily add so much structure that people don’t feel free to lead and make decisions.

The key to motivating creative people to lead ministry effectively is granting ownership. At Saddleback, as much as possible, each ministry makes its own decisions without a lot of oversight from the staff. We believe that the implementers should be the decision makers. When everything has to be passed by a committee or board, we tend to ask why? about every decision. But our initial response to the ideas of creative people should actually…

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Some Bible verses are so clear that their simple truth is undeniable, such as Hebrews 11:6 which says, “And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.” (NLT)

In case you missed the deep, hidden meaning of the phrase “it is impossible to please God without faith” let me state it clearly. It is impossible to please God without faith. In other words, God has spelled out for us the kind of life that He finds pleasing. It’s not a life of achievement or good works or religiosity. It’s a life of faith. And if our primary motivation for ministry is pleasing God, then we need a ministry of faith.

The fact is, ministry is too unpredictable to be motivated by security. It’s too unprofitable to be motivated by money. It’s too demanding to be motivated by pleasure, and it’s too criticized to be motivated by fame. Our ministry should be motivated by the pleasure of…

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Hot Sun

There comes a point in every great work when you will begin to get tired, disillusioned, and discouraged. Fatigue at the halfway point of anything worthy of your dedication is inevitable. This is true for pastors and church leaders, especially in August.

I’ve noticed that about half way through the year I always tend to get a little lethargic and down. Part of it is the warm weather. Part of it is the fact that everyone is on vacation. And Part of it is just calming down after the big springtime push for growth and health in our churches.

In August, or at any point you feel that sense of fatigue and discouragement, remember these things.

1. Feelings are unreliable.

 “Like an open city with no defenses  is the man with no check on his feelings.” Pr.25:28 (NAB)

“Trust wholeheartedly in God; put no faith in your own perception.”  Pr. 3:5 (NJB)

Feelings come from a variety of sources: past, present, & future. Our feelings often lie to us and give us a false sense of reality. The Bible describes life as a mixture of conflicting emotions.

If we’re going to be effective over the long haul, we…

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Preaching On the Street

God has a purpose for everything. The Bible says in Proverbs 19:21, “Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” Pr. 19:21 (NIV) God has a specific purpose for preaching, and His purpose is far more important than your purpose or my purpose for preaching.

One of the greatest problems in our churches is purposeless preaching. So many sermons are made up of many words in search of a purpose. Each weekend, 55 million people listen to 1 billion words in sermons given in America alone. Yet research shows that the biggest complaint people have is that sermons are boring and don’t relate to their lives. 

If the purpose of preaching isn’t clear to the preacher, it won’t be to the listeners! My friend Charles Swindoll says, “If there’s a mist in the pulpit, there’s a fog in the pew!” Without a clear purpose, preaching is a misuse of the Bible, a waste of time to the people, and a frustration to the preacher.

Every preacher ought to have a solid theology of preaching so that we understand why we’re doing what we’re doing every weekend….

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Healthy Small GroupSaddleback Church might seem like a large church on Sunday, but what’s really amazing is that we’re actually larger when we’re smaller. We’re larger during the week. On a recent weekend at Saddleback, we had over 25,000 people gathering on our campuses in southern California for weekend worship services, but there were about 35,000 who met in small groups from Santa Monica to San Diego.

Our model for ministry isn’t found in the list of largest or fastest-growing churches on earth. Our model for ministry is actually the very first church in the Bible. In Acts 5:42 it says this “The first church met day after day in the temple courts and from house to house.” We come together on the weekends for a large group gathering of everyone in the congregation. And then we scatter all week long for small group gatherings from house to house.

This matters a great deal if you want to see lives transformed. On the weekends, people come together and experience God’s powerful presence, hear teaching from the pulpit, and serve others within the life of the church. But it’s during the week, in small groups, that…

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