Archives For Leadership

mentorWhat God has done through Saddleback over the past 30 years hasn’t happened because I’m smart. It’s because I’ve had great mentors and advisors.

We’re planning some special conferences created not only to mentor you and your staff, but also to teach you how to mentor other pastors and their staffs.

Help us by taking this short one-page survey.

Proverbs 19:20 says, “Get all the advice you can and be wise the rest of your life.” Every pastor needs a mentor. No matter what stage you are in your ministry, you need someone to coach you. And you can also coach others so they can learn from your experience and perspective in ministry.

We need somebody else in our life to say, “Have you thought about…? What about this? What about that?”

Saddleback would not be where it is today without men who’ve poured their lives into me – people who’ve made me look at my ministry in a different light. They are people I’ve bounced ideas off of and gotten feedback from. Proverbs 15:22 says, “Plans fail for lack of…

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headlinesChristians are the world’s largest religious group and are nearly evenly dispersed globally, according to a new Pew study on the size, geographic distribution and median ages of the world’s major religious groups.

Of the world’s 6.9 billion people, 2.2 billion or 32 percent are Christians, Pew reported Dec. 18. While only 12 percent of Christians live in North America, the vast majority of Christians, 99 percent, live outside the Middle East-North Africa region where Christianity began.

Apart from North America, Christians are geographically dispersed, with 26 percent in Europe, 24 percent in Latin America and the Caribbean, 24 percent in sub-Saharan Africa and 13 percent in the Asia-Pacific region, the study by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life found, based on 2010 data.

Researchers did not study the degree to which people actively practice their faiths, but relied on the subjects’ self-identification of their religious affiliation.

The majority of the world’s other religions lives in the Asia-Pacific region, including nearly all Buddhists and Hindus, and most Muslims and the religiously unaffiliated, researchers found. While 58.8 percent of the world’s population lives in the Asia-Pacific region, it is home to…

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By Phil Boatwright

imgresBefore I saw the press screening for the film adaptation of the stage musical “Les Misérables,” I read two articles that tied the production together with the politically provocative Wall Street occupiers. Victor Hugo’s central story revolves around the morality tale of an escaped prisoner named Jean Valjean, who undergoes a life-altering experience while the obsessive Inspector Javert hunts him down. But these journalists exploited the political and social revolt, which only served as a backdrop to the main story. Like the film’s antagonist, they missed the point of Les Misérables’ biblical parable.

I have read Victor Hugo’s “Les Misérables” and “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.” Both reveal the evil that men can do to one another, but both also offer an insightful pathway to salvation, both spiritually and socially.

First things first: How’s the film? The highly anticipated movie opens Christmas Day and in my view it is the best film of the year.

Mr. Hugo’s 1,200-page novel addresses some of the most inspiring subjects ever placed on paper: Man can find redemption and he can replace anger and fear with compassion and faith. The most powerful component…

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2013I’m not much for New Year “resolutions”, but there’s a time for renewed commitment to the things we’re pursuing. The New Year is always a good time to step back and evaluate, and to look ahead with renewed energy. Here are a few thoughts on how we can “lead better” in 2013:

1. Prioritize Spiritual Formation

  • In your own life. Yes, really! I’ve seen far too many church leaders become “professional” Christians. Don’t let this happen. Practice the spiritual disciplines. Worship. Stay in the Word & in prayer daily. Pursue personal spiritual formation. Let your ministry flow from your own spiritual life…not the other way around.
  • In your ministry. Yes, really! Too many of us replace a real plan for spiritual formation with program. Program – no matter how creative or captivating – is not a plan for spiritual formation. Read this again: Program – no matter how creative or captivating – is not a plan for spiritual formation. Here’s the question I like to ask as I work with churches: if a child were to go through your children’s ministry from birth through preteen, what is the specific plan for spiritual formation along every stage of that…

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Emotional HealthAfter getting hit in the head with a bat… it seems you would learn not walk in front of the person swinging one at you. Well, I guess I’m not that bright!

After many years of trying to be the most Kingdom building, productive, caring, loving and reproducing leader, I have been forced to face this…


Emotional Health…Trumps all Else!

We’re created in God’s image. God is an emotional being and so are we. We talk a lot about caring for ourselves in many ways:

  • Spiritually
  • Physically
  • Relationally
  • Financially, etc…
But, if you don’t take care of yourself, and stay healthy emotionally, you can kill off everything else in your life!
That is the only area I’ve found with that kind of killing power…
in the life of a human being. Once you allow yourself to become so emotionally un-healthy, it’s almost, if not impossible for all the other areas of your life to suffer tremendous harm.

Sick Emotions Kill Relationships

Emotionally unhealthy people withdraw, they criticize unfairly and carry bitterness and unforgiveness. These kill relationships, no matter how close or far. From marriage to distant friendships.

If we are weak emotionally, we can destroy precious relationships (Been there done…

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Vision Planning

I have reflected over a decade on the question of how visionaries develop. These are some initial thoughts that I want to share with blog readers as I think out loud a bit. I would really appreciate your comments and input toward the development of these ideas.


Every visionary leaders starts by following someone else’s vision. Here, the fundamental practice of following well precedes and develops the ability to lead well. During this time, a future visionary learns to submit to godly authority. In this stage the future visionary’s style is shaped by the strengths and limitation of the lead visionary. Strengths provide a foundational modeling opportunity. Limitations and weakness forge convictions that will eventually shape the values of the future leader.


Eventually the visionary leader starts casting vision themselves. There are three nuances of how this vision relates to the the prior vision-catching content. In other words, most of early vision casting is found “underneath” the vision of a leader and/or organization of the developing visionary. The visionary casts vision: a) in support of, b) in relation to, and finally c) in contrast with.

I recently interviewed more than twenty pastors who had been in ministry for at least 25 years. All of these men were over 55 years old.  A few of them were retired, but most of them were still active in fulltime vocational ministry.

The interview was simple. I asked one open-ended question: “What regrets do you have about the years you have served as a pastor?” Each of the men could provide as many responses as they desired. They could make the answers succinct, or they could elaborate upon them.

7 Regrets of PastorsThree pastors had as few as two responses; one pastor had nine. Most of the pastors noted three or four regrets. As a researcher, I typically see patterns develop in this type of subjective research. When it concluded, I was able to see seven definitive patterns, and I was able to see the frequency they occurred.

Below are the top seven regrets noted in order of frequency. I received a total of 17 different responses, but only these seven occurred with any degree of repetition. After each regret, I provide a representative direct quote from one of the interviewees.

  1. Lack of practical…

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LoveWhat would make a Father give his Son to a band of thieves and bandits to have their way with him?


What would make a man give up a good name for ignorant ridicule and scoffing?


What would make a mother bring her child into a world through scandalous appearances?


What would make a Man give up his limitless freedom for limitation and pain?


Why would a God grant freedom to a human race knowing it could result in it killing itself in twin towers and elementary schools?


Why does a man give up a well-paying position to serve in a dangerous and low paying role among a group of misfits?


What makes a successful businessman take a large portion if his profits and devote it to serving a poor country who will never fully understand nor repay him for his efforts?


What makes a woman continue to walk down dusty paths to serve the lame and mentally ill at a no-name hospital?


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The Pound for Pound Church

By Kenny Luck

Sleeping Giant by Kenny LuckGreatness must involve victory over quality opposition or against significant odds.

In the boxing world I have just described Manny Pacquiao.  He has been appropriately labeled by fans of the sport, bloggers, sportswriters, and fellow boxers as the best “pound for pound” fighter in the modern era.   In other words, as a boxer who has won titles in eight lighter weight divisions, he is never going to fight for the “heavyweight” championship of the world.    That’s because he is five feet six inches and weighs in at a hundred and fifty pounds all wet in his street clothes.  He is not going to be remembered like a Muhammad Ali because his greatness in the sport is measured in different dimensions.   These include: how many weight divisions he has won, the quality of his opponents, and his skills in the ring. Add to these: hand speed, punching power, and work rate.  In this way, a “pound for pound” fighter designation gives you the greater measure of the boxer.

As pastors and members we easily confuse the measure of greatness in the local church.  We all know and admire…

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Last year on Christmas morning in front of a packed auditorium of church members and  visitors, I had a ministry meltdown.  The truth of the matter is that the breakdown had been coming for almost a year and during the previous two days I had been showing signs of a problem, but simply didn’t realize what was happening.  Up to this point, I have not spoken about the lead up to the breakdown, nor shared with anyone outside of a select group of friends and church leaders about my recovery.  But over the last several months I have had the opportunity to talk with several other Pastors and ministers about their ongoing struggles and after a great deal of prayer I’ve decided to share what I’ve learned.  Today I want to share with you the anatomy of a ministry meltdown.  Then on tomorrow’s post I will share about recovering from a ministry breakdown, and the on Friday wrap the series up with how to prevent a ministry breakdown.

Before I share about the anatomy of a ministry meltdown let me share some enlightening statistics.  According…

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Young LeadersIn 1 Samuel 10 Saul is anointed as King over Israel. As soon as he was anointed as the leader…

5 signs occurred that I see in the leaders of today (or I should say the great anointed leaders of today).

New Heart

God changed everything about him. His new heart gave him the compassion, the passion & determination to lead. He had a new found ability to control his emotions and thoughts in ways he never knew before. A new heart from God, brings new priorities & paths.

New Words

He prophesied with the prophets. He spoke about the things & plans of God with boldness and great conviction. This is certainly the characteristic of an anointed leader! He hears from God, and proclaims it with boldness. Not walking in fear of man, but in reverent fear of God!

New Followers

“Valiant” men immediately were called by God to go to his side. When you are an anointed leader, God will always send valiant men & women to surround you and hold up your arms. They will guard you, speak life into you, and also the truth-even if it hurts.

New Enemies

When you are truly an anointed leader,…

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