Archives For Missions

Baptism is the outward sign of an inward change in a person who has placed their trust in Jesus. We don’t save people – Jesus does that. We just have the privilege of helping them make their big outward profession of faith in the form of baptism.

While I don’t believe we should manipulate people or manufacture results for the sake of numbers, I do believe it’s significant that the Bible records how many people trusted in Jesus and were baptized on the day of Pentecost. The Bible says in Acts 2:41, “Those who believed what Peter said were baptized and added to the church that day—about 3,000 in all.” (NLT)

We ought to do all that we can to share the gospel well, to make it very clear what the new believer’s next steps are, and celebrate the results of more people on their way to heaven. At Saddleback, we’ve baptized over 47,000 people in the last 36 years, and I’d…

Continue Reading

Planting and Growth

Can our people articulate a simple gospel message and call men and women to faith in Jesus Christ?

There’s no question that church planting has become the hot new thing. And I’m glad.

When I started my first church in 1988, it was an oddity. Now, it is mainstream.

This morning, I am in a hotel in Boston, about to talk to evangelism leaders, and two young men came up and said, “Are you Ed Stetzer?” Turns out I am, and they are church planters / pastors meeting in a high rise hotel in Back Bay Boston, at Reunion Christian Church.

Today, it’s normal that church planters are everywhere—even in Boston when I’m here talking about evangelism to evangelism leaders.

Books, conferences, and initiatives that champion church planting are manifold. This is a good thing. But it seems to me we’ve got better conferences and bigger excitement and, according to the research, only incremental progress when it comes to the evangelistic fruits of actual church planting.

Statistically, we have more church planting, but slightly less evangelistic impact. And, most importantly, too many church plants don’t have the needed evangelistic…

Continue Reading

Caring for the Sick

The Christian approach to pain, suffering, and sickness is compassion, mercy, tenderness, and caring. Matthew records, When He saw the crowds, He felt compassion for them, because they were weary and worn out, like sheep without a shepherd. (Matthew 9:36 HCSB)

  • He didn’t write off their illness as an illusion.
  • He didn’t blame them for their illness.
  • He didn’t discourage them or tell them to give up.

He had compassion. If you’re going to be like Jesus, you have to learn to be compassionate toward people when they’re sick.

Millions of people are suffering unnecessarily from preventable and sometimes curable diseases. Three hundred million people will contract malaria this year, but we know how to prevent it and treat it. Every day three thousand children die of a mosquito bite.

And then there are the diseases we don’t have a cure for yet, but we’re working on it. Three million people die each year from HIV/AIDS. We don’t have the cure yet, but we do know how to prevent it.

We cannot delay. We cannot procrastinate. If we’re going to be people of compassion,…

Continue Reading

It’s so easy to get comfortable, to settle in, and to spend all of our time thinking only about frivolous, surface issues. But when you understand the scale and witness the sight of real human suffering, you can’t help but feel moved to say and do something on behalf of those who suffer. Today, tens of millions of people are suffering with HIV and AIDS, and the church can do something about it. But only if we’re willing to be disturbed…

For more, visit KayWarren.com and HIVandtheChurch.com.

Continue Reading

rsz_hands-918774_1280

I’ll never forget seeing a woman pull measuring tape out of her purse as she talked about the skull of her child.

This woman, standing in an airport in Russia with my wife and me, was, like us, an American. She, like us, was in the former Soviet Union to pursue adoption. She had heard, she said, “horror stories” about fetal alcohol syndrome and various other nightmares. The measuring tape was for gauging the size of the craniums of her potential children, to make sure there was “nothing wrong” with them.

This woman spoke with hushed tones as she mentioned her last visit to an orphanage. She rejected the referral because the child had “something wrong with her” because she had a “blank stare” in her eyes. “You know?” the woman prodded. “Like, you know, the lights are on, but maybe nobody’s home?” I ventured that maybe the little girl had a “blank stare” because she had been staring at a blank wall for 12 hours a day. The woman assured me that I just didn’t know how bad it could be,…

Continue Reading

globe-indonesia-equator-80467

You can’t follow Jesus without going with Jesus.

Since the earliest days of Saddleback Church, servant-leaders have heeded the call to look outward, allowing God to work through them to reach others with the love and hope of Jesus Christ. They’ve done it locally, building relationships in community while meeting basic needs. They’ve done it throughout the United States, providing comfort and care in times of natural disaster. They looked further outward, venturing to all corners of the earth as the hands and feet of Jesus. Thousands of Saddleback members have gone to every nation in the world with the Gospel.

Jesus himself gave us the map for changing the world. In Acts 1:8 he said, “When the Holy Spirit has come upon you, you will receive power and tell the people about me everywhere. In Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” So whether the focus is local or global, servant-leaders, ordinary people empowered by God, will be making a difference together wherever they are.

The only way to impact the whole world is to see the whole church involved – to see every member become a minister and a missionary. 

And…

Continue Reading

mobile-phone-iphone-music-38295

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.

And…

Continue Reading

City

Lifeway Research recently polled thousands of nonbelievers about what it would take to get them inside a church. When I thought about it, the results made perfect sense, but most church leaders never consider these possibilities. The survey focused on Americans who do not attend church, and here’s what they said would draw them into one:

62% – a meeting about neighborhood safety
51% – a community service event
46% – a sports or exercise program
45% – a concert
45% – a neighborhood get-together
35% – a worship service

Notice that only 35% of nonbelievers responded with a worship service.  Pastor Tony Miller at The Gate Church in Oklahoma City was already thinking this way. Because of his personal passion for unity, and as a result of the recent racial issues in cities across the country, Tony held a Forum for Transformative Cultural Reform at his church. He invited local politicians, the police chief, the superintendent of schools, an Imam from a local mosque, a Jewish rabbi, the president of the local NAACP, the executive director of Black Lives Matter, the vice president in charge of diversity at the university,…

Continue Reading

hp2mpjt5b6

I find it fascinating that many people who handle social media for very large churches and ministries find it difficult to share their faith on their personal social media platforms. And others do it in an incredibly obnoxious way. Every new technology gives us another possibility for telling the greatest story ever told, but we have to do it with honesty and sincerity.

Krysta Masciale, CEO of Big Deal Branding puts it this way: “For me, it’s important that I share as much on social media as I would in person. Since I don’t speak about my faith until I’ve gained trust and been given permission to do so in a relationship, I use that same philosophy with my social media accounts. Also, know your audience. If Christians follow you and are expecting spiritual insights, give it to them. If not, be aware that you’re building a relationship, not trying to sell a car.”

Krysta is exactly right. So I asked Kristen Tarsiuk, Creative Director + Community Pastor at Liberty Church Brooklyn to give us some suggestions about sharing our faith without screwing up the message. Here are her…

Continue Reading

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…

Continue Reading

Screenshot 2016-08-29 06.31.07

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…

Continue Reading

Convictions Church Change World

You tend to base your decisions on one of four motivations in life: circumstances, conveniences, criticisms, or convictions. Yet only decisions that are based on your convictions will last and leave a lasting legacy.

The people who have made the greatest impact on this world, for good or bad, are those who had the deepest convictions. They weren’t necessarily the smartest people, the brightest people, the most educated, the wealthiest, or even the most famous.

If you’re going to build convictions, you need to build them on something that’s going to last. Everything changes. Fads change, fashions change. Psychology changes. Even science textbooks change. We keep learning more and more. There’s only one thing that never changes. That is the truth of God. If it was true a thousand years ago, it will be true today and it will be true a thousand years from tomorrow because truth does not change.

The Bible says this in Isaiah 40:8: “The grass withers, and the flowers fade, but the word of our God stands forever” (NLT).

Saddleback has been built on six biblical convictions that are all based on God’s eternal Word. I’m willing…

Continue Reading