Archives For Rick Warren

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. Our message must never change, but the way we deliver that message must be constantly updated to reach each new generation.

In other words, our message of transformation must never change while the transformation of our presentation should be continual, adapting to the new languages of our culture.

Consider this: the word contemporary literally means with temporariness. By nature, nothing contemporary is meant to last forever! It is only effective for a while and only relevant in that particular moment – which’s what makes it contemporary.

What is considered contemporary and relevant in the next ten years will inevitably appear dated and tired in 20 years. As a pastor, I’ve watched churches adopt many contemporary styles…

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Pastor, if you’re like most men out there, you’re probably still looking for just the right gift for your wife this Mother’s Day. You may be searching the Internet, walking the aisles of a department store, or thinking through the perfect lunch.

But you may already have the perfect gift within your grasp.

In just about any survey you find about women’s needs, affection is at the top of the list. Affection symbolizes security, comfort, and approval. When a husband shows affection to his wife, he sends a powerful message to her: “I care for you. I’ll take care of you. I’ll protect you. I’m concerned for your needs. I approve of you. I’m proud of you.”

Colossians 3:19 says, “Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them” (NIV). The Amplified Bible says this in the verse, “be affectionate and sympathetic with them” (AMP). As long as Jesus Christ is first place in your life, it’s impossible to give your wife too much honor. The more you appreciate her, the more you love her, the more you show affection for her, the more she will mature in Christ.

You can learn to be affectionate. It doesn’t…

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One of the reasons people are hesitant to try attending a church for the first time is that they’re not sure what to expect. In fact, they probably expect it to be a little bit awkward and uncomfortable.

Over time, it’s important for your church to become known as a place where people will be able to understand what’s happening. That doesn’t mean changing the message, but it does mean clearly explaining what is going on during the worship service.

If you use words like “prelude” or “convocation” without explanation, you’ll send the message that the service is intended for insiders and those who already understand what’s happening.

Here are a few suggestions for how to make people more comfortable in a church worship service that might be brand new to them.

1. Use easy-to-understand terminology.

Instead of “Invocation,” call it an “Opening Prayer.” Or better yet, don’t call it anything. Just have the prayer. No one really needs to know that a “Prelude” will be happening. Just play the music.

If you have a traditional altar call, or even an invitation for people to go somewhere for prayer, be very clear and specific in how you invite people to respond.

I’ve…

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Clear Lake

No matter how many times I hear it, it still shocks me: A pastor announces his resignation because of adultery. Often it’s with someone within his church, sometimes even someone actively involved in ministry, such as a choir member or Sunday school teacher.

It’s such an incredible waste of God’s resources that it not only grieves me, it angers me. I have told my staff that if any of them even flirt with temptation, I will come after them with a baseball bat, and I’ve told them to do the same with me.

As Christian leaders, we need to be above reproach. Paul wrote, “Don’t be so naive and self-confident. You’re not exempt. You could fall flat on your face as easily as anyone else. Forget about self-confidence; it’s useless. Cultivate God-confidence” (1 Corinthians 10:12 MSG).

That’s why I established these Saddleback Staff Standards for maintaining moral integrity:

  1. Thou shalt not go to lunch alone with the opposite sex. *
  2. Thou shalt not have the opposite sex pick you up or drive you places when it is just the two of you. *
  3. Thou shalt not kiss any attendee of the opposite sex or show…

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Temptation

We’re struggling! More people than ever before are falling prey to sexual temptation, especially through viewing pornography.

Unfortunately, many pastors admit (anonymously) to viewing pornography as well.

If this is a temptation for you, here are some steps to take . . .

Be honest when you’re fatigued and take a rest.

When you’re tired, you are vulnerable to a lot of things – discouragement, depression, and temptation. The Bible encourages us to work for six days and rest on the seventh. If you’re not taking a day off every week, you’re breaking the fourth commandment. Take a day off.

It’s particularly important to take some time off after a spiritual and emotional high. No doubt you’re familiar with the story of Elijah in 1 Kings 18, where he had a big God contest with the prophets on Mt. Carmel. Right after that, he’s in the desert saying, God, I want to die. Take my life. Fatigue is a hazard of being in the ministry, and it lowers our resistance to temptation.

Don’t believe your own hype.

In ministry, you’re put on a pedestal with lots of people admiring you. After one high-profile leader sinned sexually and stepped down temporarily from…

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Baptism at Saddleback

Many people came through the front doors of our churches during Easter – and many people were saved. But, as you already know, not all of those who come during Easter return the following week. And not everyone who gets saved during Easter services grows spiritually either.

So how do we make sure those who attend our Easter services return, become active in our churches and get involved in ministry?

Keeping the fruit of your ministry is as important as winning the fruit in the first place.

What did the early Church do after big evangelistic harvests?

  • They preached the gospel in that city and won a large number of disciples. Then they returned to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch, strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,” they said (Acts 14:21-22 NIV).
  • Judas and Silas, who themselves were prophets, said much to encourage and strengthen the believers. After spending some time there, they were sent off by the believers with the blessing of peace to return to those who had sent them. But Paul…

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Jumping

If you’re going to make a fresh start with faith in your life, you must face your fears. Fear has an incredible ability to paralyze our potential, to keep us from launching out, to keep us from having faith in our lives.

Giving into our fear makes us skeptical. We become afraid of trying anything new when we’re afraid.

Remember the story of Bartimaeus in Mark 10 in the Bible? He faced a fear that most of us face: the fear of rejection and disapproval.

He was blind and in need of healing. Jesus was walking by, but Bartimaeus knew that to shout out at Jesus in that crowd wasn’t the culturally acceptable thing to do. He knew that people would look down on him for it, but he was desperate.

And he knew that Jesus Christ was the only one that could help him.

Bartimaeus shouted. And sure enough, people in the crowd criticized him for it. When he shouted out to Jesus, the Bible says in Mark 10:48, “Many scolded him to get him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, ‘Son of David, have mercy on me!’” (NET).

When he shouted out, everyone around said things to him like, Don’t do…

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I’ve said many times that I want everyone on my staff to make at least one mistake a week.

Through Saddleback, I’ve learned that if you’re not making mistakes, then you’re not trying anything new. If you’re not trying anything new, then you’re not learning, and if you’re not learning, then you’re already out of date.

I want my staff members taking risks and making mistakes. That means they’re being innovative, and it means they’re not afraid to try.

Now, I don’t want them making the same mistake every week — that means they’re not learning. But I tell them, “Make a new mistake each week.” I also tell them, “Show the innovation and creativity to do something that you’ve never done before.”

Nothing great is ever done without talking risks, and I want a staff full of leaders. Leaders take risks. There’s another word for risk-taking: faith. Faith is a critical element in the success of your ministry. Will you believe God for big things?

One day I asked my staff to flip to Mark 10:27 in their Bibles. It’s the verse that says, “All things are possible with God” (NIV). I asked my staff to circle…

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Map and Phone

In my previous article, I talked about our need to become world-class Christians. I talked about the importance of shifting our thinking from being self-centered to being others-centered. There are at least two other major shifts that need to happen in our thinking.

Shift from local to global thinking

God is a global God. He has always cared about the entire world: “God so loved the world” (John 3:16a NIV).

From the beginning, he has wanted family members from every nation he created. The Bible says, “From one person God made all nations who live on earth, and he decided when and where every nation would be. God has done all this, so that we will look for him and reach out and find him” (Acts 17:26-27a CEV).

Much of the world already thinks globally. The largest media and business conglomerates are all multinational. Our lives are increasingly intertwined with those in other nations as we share fashion, entertainment, music, sports, and even fast food. Probably most of the clothes you’re wearing, and much of what you’ve eaten today, was produced in another country. We’re more connected than we realize.

These are exciting days to be…

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World

You’ll either be a worldly Christian or a world-class Christian.

“Jesus said to his followers, ‘Go everywhere in the world, and tell the Good News to everyone’” (Mark 16:15 NCV).

“Send us around the world with the news of your saving power and your eternal plan for all mankind” (Psalm 67:2 TLB).

Worldly Christians look to God primarily for personal fulfillment. They’re saved but self-centered. They love to attend concerts and enrichment seminars, but you’d never find them at a mission conference, because they aren’t interested.

Their prayers focus on their own needs, blessings, and happiness. It’s a “me-first” faith: How can God make my life more comfortable? They want to use God for their purposes instead of being used for his purposes.

By contrast, world-class Christians know they were saved to serve and were made for a mission. They’re eager to receive a personal assignment and excited about the privilege of being used by God.

World-class Christians are the only fully alive people on the planet. Their joy, confidence, and enthusiasm are contagious because they know they’re making a difference. They wake up each morning expecting God to work through them in fresh ways.

Which type of Christian do you want to be?

God invites…

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Parent and Child

One of the most important things we can do for our children is to teach them that God loves them unconditionally.

It’s extremely important that we teach our kids that they are loved, not because they earned our love or are good enough to be loved, but that they’re loved because God put them into our families to be loved.

This is hard for many of us because we have had a hard time receiving God’s unconditional love ourselves. God wants us to spend some time with him, letting him love us, and in turn giving that unconditional love to our kids.

How can we show God’s unconditional love to our families? Here are two practical ways:

1. Forgive your kids as God forgives you.

Ephesians 4:32 says, “Be kind and loving to each other, and forgive each other just as God forgave you in Christ” (NCV).

I love that God forgives me, but I’m not always ready to give that same kind of forgiveness to other people. Parenting requires massive doses of forgiveness. You’re in a position all the time to forgive your kids for things that they do.

2. Never give up on your kids.

We’re told in 1 Corinthians 13:7a,…

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Mountain View

William Rainey once said, “Why didn’t somebody ever tell me that I could become a Christian and work on all my doubt afterward?” The fact is, every little step you take toward Christ moves you further away from the four “D”s — doubt, discouragement, depression, and despair.

We’re all moving, but sometimes we move slowly. Are you struggling this Easter with one of these “D” issues?

Are you doubting God’s love because you’re in a crisis? “God! I’ve just found out I have a terminal illness! Don’t you love me?”

Are you discouraged because you don’t think he cares for you? “God! Don’t you see the trouble I’m in? Don’t you care?”

Are you depressed because life has not turned out the way you thought it would? “God! My spouse is leaving me! Can’t you stop this from happening?”

Are you despairing because you don’t think he’s forgiven you for your latest sin? “God! I still feel guilty. Haven’t you forgiven me?”

The Bible makes this statement in 1 John 5:13: “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life” (NASB).

There’s…

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