Archives For Rick Warren

 

If you want to see lasting change in your life, you need to commit to a steady diet of God’s Word, the Bible. We all want to be spiritually and relationally healthy, but we fail to realize the power of this one habit – filling our minds daily with truth from our Creator. James 1:25 says, “The truly happy people are those who carefully study God’s perfect law that makes people free, and they continue to study it. They do not forget what they heard, but they obey what God’s teaching says.” 

We tend to believe a lot of lies – about God, about ourselves, about our world – and the result of believing those lies and repeating negative, untruthful thoughts is that we wind up depressed. We wind up dependent on things other than God. The way to change that mental pattern is to fill your mind with the Word of God.

For emotional and spiritual stability and for mental health, I need to soak up all of the truth I possibly can from God’s Word so that my focus will be on the right things. And the Bible emphasizes at least…

Continue Reading

If the people in a church grow, then the church will grow. One of the core ideas I wrote about in The Purpose Driven Church, and which we teach in our Purpose Driven events, is that every church needs a process for making disciples.

Some argue that we shouldn’t be attempting to reach consumers, but this assumes that every believer is spiritually mature. Others believe we should simply be teaching believers, but this neglects the church’s role in evangelism. The truth is, every Sunday, your church will have people in attendance at all kinds of places in their spiritual journeys.

PD CirclesAt Saddleback, we’ve always thought of our target audience through the concentric circles. When you’re planning sermon series, outreach, and ministry, you must think of the various levels of spiritual maturity. We’ve identified at least six…

1. The Community

The community is made up of everyone you have the potential to reach on a given Sunday. They live near your church. They’re possibly aware of your church’s existence. And they may even visit occasionally. But for the most part, they are unchurched. They likely haven’t decided to…

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

We have a lot of haphazard ministry being done in our churches around the world. Good people, who love the Lord, aren’t thinking through what God has called them to do. Ministry is too important to be done haphazardly. We can’t just say, “I’ll give it my best shot!” We need to think through what the ministries in our church are all about. Our ministries must be good stewards of all they’ve been given. For that to happen, we’ve got to plan ministry strategically.

There are seven important questions that need to be answered when you’re planning an effective ministry. These are questions for any healthy ministry – whether it’s your music ministry, greeters, small group leaders, or any other ministry team.

1. Why are you here?

Every ministry in your church should have a clear idea of what it’s all about. That means asking two tough questions… What is the business of this ministry? And what is none of this ministry’s business?

What’s the business of Saddleback? We attract members, teach them to worship God, develop them to Christlike maturity, and mobilize them for ministry in the church and a life mission in the…

Continue Reading

If you’re a pastor, you should certainly be striving for greater excellence as a communicator, as a leader, and as an organizer. You need a vision. You need a strategy. You need a solid, biblical theology of ministry and the church. But you can have all of these and remain stuck in mediocrity without God’s power. The greatest work you’ll ever commit to as a pastor is the work of prayer.

Praying churches, those that experience the miraculous power of God, are led by praying pastors. This is why Jesus spent time teaching his disciples how to pray. He knew that once he had ascended back to heaven, his church would need to connect with him, and the way we connect with God and receive his direction and his power is through prayer.

Jesus gave his disciples at least four reasons to keep on growing in the area of prayer.

1. Prayer is an act of dedication.

It is an opportunity to express our devotion to God as well as our dependence on God. Our biggest problem when it comes to the frequency and passion in our praying is that we don’t feel the need to…

Continue Reading

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