Archives For Rick Warren

The Church is the most magnificent concept ever created. It has survived persistent abuse, horrifying persecution, and widespread neglect. Yet despite its faults (due to our sinfulness), it is still God’s chosen instrument of blessing and has been for 2,000 years.

The Church will last for eternity, and because it is God’s instrument for ministry here on Earth, it is truly the greatest force on the face of the Earth. That’s why I believe tackling the world’s biggest problems – the giants of spiritual lostness, egocentric leadership, poverty, disease, and ignorance – can only be done through the Church.

The Church has eight distinct advantages over the efforts of business and government:

1. The Church provides for the largest participation.

Most people have no idea how many Christians there are in the world: More than 2 billion people claim to be followers of Jesus Christ. That’s one third of the world’s population! The Church has about a billion more people than the entire nation of China.

For example, close to 100 million people in the United States went to church this past weekend. That’s more people than will attend sporting events in the United States throughout this year. The…

Continue Reading

Guilt keeps us stuck in the past. Guilt keeps us from growing, from becoming all God wants us to be. If you’re going to learn how to really enjoy life, you’ve got to learn how to let go of guilt. The truth is, none of us is faultless. We all have sins, we’ve all made mistakes. So we all have regrets. We all have remorse.

There are a lot of ways you react in life that are caused by unconscious guilt – things you feel bad about without even being aware of it. We may deny our guilt. We may repress our guilt. We may blame other people for our guilt. We may excuse our guilt. But we still feel the effects of our guilt.

If you’re really going to recover from the hurts, and habits, and hang-ups in your life, you’ve got to learn how to let go of guilt – how to live with a clear conscience.

Here are three ways to come clean and get rid of guilt.

1. Take a personal moral inventory of your life.

What that means is that you get alone by yourself. Lamentations 3:40 says, “Let us examine our…

Continue Reading

Creativity matters in ministry. It matters because God is creative. He’s the most creative being in the entire universe. It only makes sense that we serve God with our creatively.

How do you develop a culture of innovation in your church?

You need a theology of innovation. We are most like our creator when we’re creative. God wired us to be creative. Children are very creative. They are born creative. It’s normal. We get the creativity kicked out of us as time goes by. We learn to be afraid. But a theology of innovation always reminds us that God intends us to be creative.

You need a creative atmosphere. There are certain environments I can be very creative in, and certain environments where I can’t. At Saddleback, we’ve never had a boardroom or the big boardroom-style table that comes with that. We have recliners. Meetings don’t start at Saddleback until we kick our feet up. It’s when I get in a totally prone position that I can be the most creative and can discover what God would have us do.

You need to stay playful. Playfulness stimulates creativity. When you get people laughing, you get the endorphins…

Continue Reading

33194_pews_with_stained_glass

A generation of church leaders have grown up in Purpose Driven churches across America and around the world. Over the last 36 years, we’ve devoted a great deal of time and effort to helping leaders understand the biblical vision of the Purpose Driven church, but some myths seem determined to persist. As you lead your church into greater health and effectiveness, you’re going to encounter these myths.

Let me spell out seven things a Purpose Driven church is not …

It’s not about embracing the latest fad

Being Purpose Driven is not about trying to be as contemporary as possible in approach or in style. It’s about being biblical. The five purposes of the church commanded by Jesus in the Great Commandment and Great Commission never go out of style. They are eternally relevant.

It’s not about your evangelistic target

There are now hundreds of thousands of Purpose Driven churches around the world focusing on reaching thousands of different people groups. There are PDCs for every age group: Builders, Boomers, GenXers, and Millennials. There are thousands of PDCs reaching every possible lifestyle group: cowboys, bikers, professionals, singles, artists, surfers, academics, Amazon boat people, pre-moderns, moderns, post-moderns, and someday intergalactic aliens! There…

Continue Reading

Vision

One of the questions I’m asked most often is “How do I get God’s vision or dream for our church?” Frankly, a lot of pastors’ visions that I’ve heard have more to do with ego than God’s will.

I’d recommend you answer these questions:

  1. What has God called the church to be? What is our purpose? Why did God create His church in the first place?
    This is the issue of identity and purpose. Why do we exist? At Saddleback, the answer is that we are here to fulfill the five eternal purposes of the church. These five purposes are given in the Great Commandment and Great Commission. Jesus illustrated them in his prayer for his disciples as he summed up his ministry on earth (John 17). Paul explains these five purposes in Ephesians, chapter four and the church at Jerusalem modeled these five purposes in Acts, chapter two. The church was created to worship, fellowship, evangelize, minister and disciple people. The world is constantly changing but God’s eternal purposes never change. They are the foundation of any God-given vision.
  2. What is God doing in the world?
    Where is He moving? Where is the wave of his Spirit? What does…

    Continue Reading

Your congregation can invest in eternity by using their money for God’s purposes. It is secure. It is risk free. It comes with guaranteed interest. It yields dividends forever.

The Bible says, “Tell people to use their money to do good. They should be rich in good works and should give happily to those in need, always being ready to share whatever God has given them. By doing this they’ll be storing up real treasure for themselves in heaven. It is the only safe investment for eternity and they will be living a fruitful Christian life down here as well.” (1 Timothy 6:18-19, TLB)

1. Invest in God’s treasury fund (worship).

This is the investment fund most of your congregation will know about – tithing. We invest in the treasury fund by using some of our money to express worship.

There’s nothing we can give God that he needs. And God certainly doesn’t need our money. But when we give an offering to God – an undesignated, planned, and proportional offering where and when we worship – we’re saying, “God I love you.”

The Bible says, “Honor the Lord by giving him the first part of all your…

Continue Reading

Green Leaved Tree

Purpose Driven ChurchWhen I wrote The Purpose Driven Church, I predicted that church health – not church growth – would be the primary concern of the 21st Century church. I believe that prediction is proving itself true.

The New Testament says a lot about the health of the church. Consider just a few verses:

“As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing. …” (Ephesians 4:16b, NLT)

“The focus of my letter wasn’t on punishing the offender but on getting you to take responsibility for the health of the church.” (2 Corinthians 2:9, Msg)

“You can develop a healthy, robust community that lives right with God and enjoy its results only if you do the hard work of getting along with each other. …” (James 3:18, Msg)

Church health is the key to church growth. All living things grow if they’re healthy. You don’t have to make them grow – it’s just natural for living organisms. As a parent, I didn’t have to force my three children to grow. They naturally grew…

Continue Reading

Friends

Leaders are often lonely. It’s tragic when ministry leaders can preach to large numbers of people while slowly dying of personal isolation. For the sake of your emotional and relational health and your long term effectiveness, you need to develop friendships. Here’s why:

  • God formed you for fellowship and for friendship.
  • Friends help us to grow spiritually.
  • Friends hold us up and support us when we suffer.
  • Friends keep us accountable to life with integrity.
  • Friends are fun! We need to enjoy life with people.

Obviously the best place for people to find friends is at church. This is why we encourage people to get involved in a small group and volunteer alongside others on a ministry team. But pastors often struggle to know whether or not they should get close to people, especially people in the church. But the risk we take by getting close to people is always worth it. It was worth it for Jesus, and it’s worth it for you as a church leader.

Knowing that you need friends is only the beginning. Actually building friendships is vital. So how do you do that? If you really want to have great, deep, meaningful,…

Continue Reading

Foundations

The Bible says, in John 7:13, “No one had the courage to speak favorably about Jesus in public” (NLT). Even some of history’s greatest spokespeople for the gospel have struggled in their resolve to proclaim the truth boldly. The Bible says in Acts 18:9, “One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: ‘Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent'” (NIV).

In our current cultural climate, it’s more intimidating than ever to stand up for biblical truths that are seen as politically incorrect. And in order to do so, courageously, believers need a thorough understanding of the world that is framed by Scripture.

Everyone thinks about the world through a particular lens, or filter. We refer to this filter as someone’s “worldview.” And in our post-Christian culture, most Christians have a non-Christian worldview. In other words, a big part of our preaching assignment is helping our listeners to see the world through the lens of a biblical worldview.

Our task is not necessarily to shape the specific opinions that people should have on a particular topic, unless the Bible directly and clearly addresses it. Instead, our job is to present a biblical worldview…

Continue Reading

pdc-header

Once a month, I take an extended period in my prayer time to pray specifically, by name, for the next generation of pastors. Over my 40+ years in ministry, I’ve watched too many great guys burn out, flame out, and drop out before they’ve made it to the finish line. Rapid church growth doesn’t impress me anymore. Rockets burn out fast. Sustained growth decade after decade is what impresses me.

So I pray for your personal life and character. I pray for your family, and I pray you’ll stay focused on God’s five purposes for your life and church. I pray you’ll maintain a humble, teachable spirit, so you never stop learning and increase in effectiveness every year. I pray you’ll have the skills to break through every one of the predictable plateaus growing churches face, and you’ll know what to do when you get discouraged. Your ministry matters to the Kingdom, and it matters to me. We need you to make it to the finish line.

Then, the other day, God said, “I don’t want you to just pray for these guys. I want you to share with them all the lessons in…

Continue Reading

pexels-photo-50629-large-740x417

The Bible clearly states “all have sinned.” It is my nature to sin, and it is yours too. None of us is untainted. Because of sin, we’ve all hurt ourselves, we’ve all hurt other people, and others have hurt us. This means each of us needs repentance and recovery in order to live our lives the way God intended.

You’ve undoubtedly heard the expression “time heals all wounds.” Unfortunately, it isn’t true. As a pastor I frequently talk with people who still carry hurts from 30 or 40 years ago. The truth is, time often makes things worse. Wounds left untended fester and spread infection throughout your entire body. Time only extends the pain if the problem isn’t dealt with.

Based on the actual words of Jesus rather than psychological theory, this recovery program is more effective in helping people change than anything else I’ve seen or heard of. Over the years I’ve witnessed how the Holy Spirit has used this program to transform literally thousands of lives at Saddleback Church and to help people grow toward full Christ-like maturity.

Most people are familiar with the classic 12-step program of AA and other groups. While undoubtedly…

Continue Reading

You don’t know it all. There are limits to your knowledge, ability, and energy. And while the competitive nature of our culture, which often sneaks into our lives in ministry, would have us to hid all of our weaknesses in fear, there is tremendous power in becoming vulnerable with people.

Deciding to become vulnerable is risky. As church leaders, there will be people in our congregations who don’t want us to be human. They would prefer that we wear a halo and pretend that we’re never really tempted to sin in the same ways that they are. They feel safer if we, as spiritual leaders, are immune to the crass realities of life.

But when we hide our weaknesses, three big problems arise:

  • Our weaknesses get worse, feeding off of the shame and secrecy.
  • We become dishonest and hypocritical.
  • The truth inevitably comes out and people are disillusioned as a result.

So is bearing our vulnerability worth the risk? Absolutely. Here are some important reasons why vulnerability is a forgotten virtue of great leadership…

1. It’s emotionally healthy.

Maintaining an image of perfection requires enormous amounts of emotional energy. One of the reasons we sometimes get so stressed out and depressed is…

Continue Reading