Archives For Rick Warren

Jesus told us that he came so that we would have “life to the fullest” (John 10:10). If that was Jesus’ goal while he was on earth, don’t you think that should be a goal of the church?

Most people aren’t living life to the fullest. Sure, most people have full lives. They’re always going from one place to another, from one accomplishment to another, and often from one relationship to another. Many people’s schedules are full, but that’s a far cry from living life to the fullest.

First and foremost, living life to the fullest starts with Jesus. We cannot have a full life without him. Salvation is the starting point to a life fulfilled, but it’s not the end. There are a lot – I mean a lot – of unfulfilled Christians. And that devastates our witness to the world.

After salvation, a fulfilled life is one where four basic needs are met. God has uniquely called the Body of Christ to meet those needs. In this issue of Toolbox, I’ll share those four needs and how the church is best equipped to meet them.

1. Support

Everyone wants to know they’re not alone….

Continue Reading

Structure doesn’t cause growth; the structure of your church determines how fast you’ll grow and the size to which you’ll grow. There is no clear organizational structure in the New Testament, and I think God did that intentionally so the Church can adapt to different stages, ages, and cultures. God gives us broad principles and not narrow rules. There is no perfect structure.

As we study Scripture, we learn two general principles about organizing and structuring for growth. First, God wants us to organize around the purposes for which he created the Church. And, second, God wants us to organize around the gifts of our members. Purpose and giftedness determine how you should organize your church.

Here are some advantages to a simple, gift-based structure:

It focuses the church on ministry, not maintenance. When organization is overemphasized, a church can lose its focus on ministry. I heard about a grease factory that, as it became more and more successful, had to build more machinery to produce the grease. But, they also had to use more of the grease on the machinery they were adding. Pretty soon, they closed the marketing…

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

We all have hurts, habits, and hang-ups. What’s yours? Stress? Fears? Overwork? Unhealthy or unholy attractions? Addictions? Regrets? Worry? Bad habits? Anger? Dishonesty? The overwhelming need to control? Finances? Perfectionism? Resentment? Compulsive thoughts? And the list goes on.

Every problem in your life has the same root cause. Every problem in your life starts when you play God.

Jesus starts his most famous Sermon on the Mount by saying, I want to tell you 8 ways to be happy. And the way you think you’re going to be happy is not at all the way the world tells you to be happy. Jesus states each of these 8 ways to be healthy as what we call a “beatitude,” and we refer to them as life’s healing choices.

The first beatitude is the first healing choice, which I refer to as the reality choice, for getting rid of your habits, your hurts, and your hang-ups that mess up your life.  Matthew 5:3, the first Beatitude God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs” (NLT).

And what does it mean to be “poor in spirit?” It means I…

Continue Reading

The most fundamental question that teenagers in your community will ever wrestle with is, “Why am I here?”

Unlike past generations, teens today aren’t looking for the meaning of life. Instead, they’re searching for meaning in life, a purpose for living, something that makes their lives worth living.

The fact is they’re seeking the very thing for which God made them, and that’s why it’s important you consistently teach teens about their purpose in life.

The Bible teaches that God made everyone – even teenagers – with a purpose.

For instance, in Colossians we’re told, “For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible … everything got started in him and finds its purpose in him” (Colossians 1:16 MSG).

Do you think you would see a difference in the life of your teenage son or daughter if he or she felt truly and wholly accepted by God? What if they understood – deeply – that they belonged to the family of God? Or that the hand of God will guide them – deliberately – throughout life?

How do you think your teens would react if they discovered that God created them for a specific mission in…

Continue Reading

Healthy, growing churches are outwardly-focused, always thinking about how to communicate the gospel to a lost culture and bring the next unchurched person into a thriving relationship with God. In the same way, a healthy church staff thinks about more than just how to accomplish the next team project. Great church leaders are kingdom-thinkers with a global vision for God’s glory.

Since the earliest days of Saddleback Church, I’ve challenged every staff member to think about their role in at least 3 realms.

First, you have a ministry to the unchurched.

You may have a role in church leadership related to kids ministry volunteers, creating graphics and videos, or expanding the church’s small groups ministry, but your first ministry is always to those who are lost and far from God. Every church leader needs to “do the work of an evangelist” (2 Timothy 4:5) and share the Good News about Jesus with your friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers.

As a matter of fact, the reason why we strive to balance the five purposes and make more disciples is ultimately so that more disciples can be made. Every facet of church ministry fits together to create a healthy body that…

Continue Reading

Spiritual maturity is not automatic. It must be intentionally cultivated. This is your role and your responsibility as a leader in your church. Every church should want its people to be as much like Christ as possible. We want them to be spiritually deep.

When you go fishing, do you want quality or quantity? I want both! It’s entirely possible to lead a church to grow multi-dimensionally, both deeper and wider.

Just as it takes certain tools to cultivate a garden so that it will grow, there are certain practical tools that you need to cultivate spiritual growth in the lives of your members. It’s not automatic. It doesn’t just happen. You have to help them grow.

There are five primary tools that Saddleback Church has been using for over three decades to cultivate spiritual growth. Really, if you want to know the secret behind Saddleback Church, it’s these five things. These are five very practical tools that we have used to develop the maturity level of people in our church.

1. Commitment cards

The commitment cards that we place in the back of every seat and that we use online with our live stream help our people respond to…

Continue Reading

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


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


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