Archives For Rick Warren

Saddleback Greeting

One of the most important factors for the growth of your church, of any church, of the kingdom for that matter, is how loving we are as Christians. It’s absolutely essential that we lead our churches to be love-filled communities. It’s love that reaches people. You don’t argue people into the kingdom of heaven. You love them into the kingdom of heaven.

How do you have a loving church? Three steps:

1. Accept everybody.

Have you ever been in a church of spiritual snobs? We get it and you don’t. Do you know why people have a hard time accepting others? They confuse acceptance with approval. There’s a big difference between acceptance and approval. You can accept somebody without approving of his lifestyle. He may be doing something totally contrary to the word of God, but you can accept him as a person without approving of the sin he’s involved in.

Romans 15:7 says, “Accept one another just as Christ accepted you.” That’s a start — acceptance. At Saddleback we are trying to cultivate an attitude of acceptance. At Saddleback, we communicate that the church is a hospital for sinners, not a hotel for…

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Easter at Saddleback

As I write this, millions of Christians and church leaders are getting ready for Easter weekend, and it’s a huge opportunity for the church to spring into action to invite and welcome lost people to hear the gospel. And so as we Pastors prepare to preach about the resurrection of Jesus Christ, we desperately need the power of God – the same power that raised Jesus from the dead – to be at work in and through us.

The resurrection of Jesus was the greatest demonstration of the power of God in all of history. Let me explain why.

After Jesus died they put His body in a tomb. But the tombs were different in those days than they are today. Today we put somebody in a coffin and put them in the ground and we cover them up with dirt. In those days they buried people in caves. They often would use it for many, many bodies. It was not just one burial; lots of people would be buried in the cave. So they’d find a cave and they’d build a trench in front of it and they’d…

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Big EasterEaster is one of the two biggest weekends for most churches in terms of attendance. I see this as a great opportunity for evangelism to begin and for a relationship to start between your church and all of the visitors who come that Sunday. You should do everything you can to leverage Easter weekend for growth.

At the same time, it’s important not to ‘put all your eggs in the Easter basket.’ What I mean is, Easter is a great starting point for evangelism, but it’s not the finish line, at least not for a purpose driven church. In our culture, it usually takes multiple exposures to the gospel for someone to make a decision to follow Jesus. Let me explain.

Give People More Than One WEEK

Many churches offer a come-forward invitation, which by the way, I used to do myself, Billy Graham, style when I would preach evangelistic crusades. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with altar calls. But often the emphasis is on making a decision in the moment and often there is a…

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Clock

Everything rises or falls on leadership. No organization, no ministry, no church, no family, no school, no business can go any further than the leaders who are leading it. If everything rises or falls on leadership, then the quickest way for the opposition to halt any project, any family, any business is to neutralize the leadership. When the shepherd is removed, the flock scatters.

That’s true today in our churches. When Satan wants to cripple a church, he takes on the leadership. And this is not just about the pastor and the paid staff, but the church leadership’s — the lay leadership. If you want to be a leader, some people aren’t going to like you, and they’re going to attack you. Some people are going to try to make you fail.

Here are four characteristics of leaders who last long enough to accomplish big things in spite of the challenges.

1.  Leaders who last have a compelling purpose.

This is the very first element of leadership. A cause. A vision. A dream. An objective. A goal. It doesn’t drive you, it draws you. You have to have a compelling purpose.

Until…

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Rick Angel Stadium

Last week, I wrote about the 9 reasons why your church should make the most of ‘big days’ for growth. And I told you that ‘big days’ have been very instrumental in Saddleback’s growth over the last 34 years. We’ve learned the art of pyramiding growth through special days.

But how? How do we maximize those big days for all they’re worth? Here are nine ways.

1. Plan your big days around your main worship service.

You might host other special events, but if you’re hoping to enlarge your main service attendance, then you will get the most benefit out of big days if they are planned around your existing, primary weekend service(s). It’s very difficult to try to get people who attend a special event during the week to become part of your weekend service.

2.  Plan big days on a naturally high attendance day.

Have your special day on a day when people are most likely to come anyway. They include without a doubt Easter, Mother’s Day and Christmas Eve. Those are a…

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Pyramiding

Easter is coming! And it will be one of the most well-attended Sundays for churches this year. Wise church leaders will take advantage of the opportunity to present the simple but profoundly hopeful message of Jesus’ resurrection to all of the extra guests who come.

One of the secrets to Saddleback’s growth over the years is big days. There are three holidays we’ve used powerfully – Easter, Christmas Eve, and Mother’s Day – and then a few other weekends such as the kick-off or celebration of a big campaign. We plan for those days and we use them as an evangelism tool and as a stimulus to motivate our members on to growth for the rest of the year.  These days are big high points and there are some real advantages to planning big days with a special emphasis, particularly around Easter.

Here are nine reasons why high attendance days can be so meaningful. 

1. Big days build morale.

Without a doubt, people enjoy being a part of something big, something exciting. It develops unity and pride among our people. When people work together, there’s just a sense of excitement. It’s hard…

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Clay Pots

If you’re a Pastor or church leader of any kind, you most likely found yourself in that place because you want God to use you. And chances are, you want God’s help releasing and freeing other people to be used by God as well for both ministry and mission.

The question is, what kind of person must I be to be used greatly by God? 2 Chronicles 16:9 says, “The eyes of the Lord search back and forth across the whole earth, looking for people whose hearts are perfect toward him, so that he can show his great power in helping them.”
If you want God to use you greatly, here are five things you need to do to make yourself usable by Him.

1. Keep your life clean.

The first step to being used by God is always personal cleansing. Without exception, when you find someone whom God is using in a great way, they’ve dealt with the personal sin in their lives before God.

It’s not about your past or your status in the world your your talent. God uses small vessels, plain vessels, and even broken vessels. But He will not use…

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Sunrise

I wrote last week about the first two of these five renewals through which God takes us as we become healthier. And here are the other three.

Missional Renewal

The third renewal is missional renewal or “purpose renewal.” This stage of renewal has to do with “purpose.” In missional renewal our church realizes that we are not here for ourselves; we’re here for a purpose. God has a job for us to do. We have a mission, an objective; we have some work to accomplish. We’re not just a little “bless me” clique where we get together in church, have a good time, love God and one another, and then go home. No, God has a purpose for us. He has a kingdom to be built. Understanding this and making God’s purposes our leadership responsibility will inevitably cause our church to grow. The book, The Purpose Driven Church, is all about purpose renewal and how to structure and organize around God’s purposes for his church.

Structural Renewal

The fourth renewal is structural renewal or “organizational renewal.” As your church begins to grow, the way it is organized—the way it makes decisions—has to change. This…

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Renewal

If you are being led to change the way your church serves God’s purposes, it is helpful to understand the process of renewal. Many leaders want to start by changing the structure of their church. However, this can be destructive for you, your leadership and your church.  People don’t like to change unless their hearts have been warmed and prepared for change. We believe that when God wants to work in a church he takes it through five renewals.

I’m sharing the first two today and the other three in part two of this article.

Personal Renewal

The first renewal is personal renewal; it starts inside the heart of the leader. We cannot take people further than we have been ourselves. We cannot expect other people to be more committed to Jesus that we are. We cannot expect other people to grow or sacrifice unless we are willing to continue growing and sacrificing. We cannot expect other people to change if we are unwilling to change ourselves. We must model this in our leadership.

Personal renewal is basically when I get my life right with God. It’s when my heart warms up to Jesus, and…

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Change

There is no growth without change. And there is no change without loss. And there is no loss without pain. A church that wants to grow without going through growing pains is like a woman who says, “I want to have a baby but I don’t want to go through labor.” Is the pain worth it? Yes, it’s worth it. People need the Lord and as long as one person doesn’t know Christ we have to keep reaching out.

As your church begins to grow you’re going to face a lot of different criticisms. But there are three really common ones to prepare for starting with these three:

1. The care issue.

As your church begins to grow, some of the people who have been around the longest will say, “Pastor, you don’t care about me anymore.” What this really translates as is, “You’re not available to me like you used to be when the church was little.” The truth is, they’re right. You aren’t. The solution to that is not that you double up and work harder.

The solution is small groups. You cannot personally care for everybody’s needs or the church…

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