Archives For Rick Warren

Keep Your IntegrityLast week, I wrote about the three greatest temptations of leadership. This week, I want to talk about the three ways we can keep our integrity and prevent those temptations from destroying our testimony and diminishing our influence.

First, deepen your reverence for God.

Never forget that God put you in the position you’re in today. Psalm 75:6 says, “For promotion and power come from nowhere on earth, but only from God.  He promotes one and deposes another.” Great leaders realize that they are stewards.  They realize that it’s not their world, their church, their business; they are just the manager, the stewart.  Promotion comes from God, not from other people.

You also much realize that God is holding you accountable. One of the reasons I think leaders try to get away secret sin it is that they don’t fear God. But the Bible says, “Obey your spiritual leaders and be willing to do what they say.  For their work is to watch over your souls and God will judge them on how well they do.” That verse ought to put the fear in leaders….

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Temptations of LeadershipDo you think it’s easier handling success or failure?  Thomas Caryle once said, “For every one hundred people who can handle adversity there is only one who can handle prosperity.”  I think most people can’t handle being at the top.  It changes them.  In fact, success destroys some people. There are several legitimate benefits of being in leadership.

  • Position — you can become more
  • Power — you can do more
  • Privilege — you can have more

The extra effort and work you put in you get more position, more power and more privilege.  With each one of these comes a very great temptation that can be your downfall as a leader if you misuse it.  I Cor. 10:12 “So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!”

We’re going to look at the temptations of leadership, an appropriate thing if you read the newspaper.  The three greatest nations of the world often face turmoil because of the abuses of leadership. “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

Today we’re going to look at the temptations of leadership and the antidote.

1.  You will be tempted to misuse your position. 

Have you ever…

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Expo West ScheduleI love church planting and church  planters, and I know  how difficult planting a church can be. When Kay and I planted Saddleback 33 years ago, we had zero support – no conferences , no training and only about a half dozen books on church planting-mostly written for missionaries overseas. In fact when I finished seminary, I was the only guy in my graduating class going out to plant a church.

Today, of course, church planters have many training opportunities, but the granddaddy of them all is the EXPONENTIAL conference. I call it the super-conference. For affirming vision, encouraging the heart and aggregating the most approaches to church planting in one gathering, nothing else compares to it.

Why do I love the Exponential conference above all the others? Because it offers one-stop shopping for learning everything that’s out there today. Exponential has become the clearinghouse for all of the many wonderful approaches, methodologies and styles that God is using in church planting. And since Exponential as an organization does not plant churches, but instead serves the church planting efforts of everyone else, there is no competition with other ministries,…

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3 Parts of God's VisionI’m often asked, “Is there any single common denominator that you can find in every growing church?”  I have studied churches for many years, read about them, and visited them. I’ve discovered that God uses all kinds of churches, in all kinds of different ways, all different methods and styles.  But there is one common denominator that you can find in every growing church regardless of denomination, regardless of nationality, and regardless of size.

That common denominator is leadership that is not afraid to believe God.  It’s the faith factor.

Nothing starts happening until somebody starts dreaming.  Every accomplishment started off first as an idea in somebody’s mind.  It started off as a dream.  It started off as a vision, a goal.  If you don’t have a goal for your church, your default goal is to remain the same.  If you aim at nothing, you’re definitely going to hit it.

A church without a vision is never going to grow, and a church’s vision will never be larger than the vision of its pastor.  So you as a leader and as a pastor, must have God’s vision for your church. …

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Prayer Life of a Great LeaderI’ve never considered being called average a compliment.  I think it means you’re just as close to the bottom as on top.  I don’t believe that God meant for you to be average.  I don’t think God meant for you to live a so-so or bland, mediocre life.  As a leader, I don’t think God intends for you to be an average leader.  I believe that every human being was designed for excellence, that you’re not one in a million, you’re one in five billion and as the book In Search of Excellence states, “The average person desires to be excellent in many different ways.”  There is no one else like you in the universe.

As Pastors and Christian leaders, one of the key elements in our pursuit of being an above average leader is having an above average prayer life. I want to share some big lessons from the life of Jabez about the prayer life of an above average leader.

Jabez is a man who literally stood out in a crowd.  There isn’t much written about him in the Bible.  In 1 Chronicles 4,…

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Define Your MinistryMinistry is too important to be done haphazardly. How we’re leading in the core of our churches has to do with life-changing, eternity-consequential decisions. Therefore, we need to think through what ministry is all about. Sometimes we are more strategic about our grocery lists than our approach to ministry.

The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body–whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free–and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the…

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How to Preach With AuthenticityThe kind of preaching that changes lives is from the heart to the heart, not from the head to the head. Lives are changed as we speak from our deepest pain and suffering.

Socrates was the first to explain communication in 3 dimensions. He talked about ethos as the speaker’s character, pathos as the speaker’s compassion, and logos as the speaker’s content. We tend to think most about the content of a sermon, but the people to whom we are speaking perceive all three, and ethos is really the most vital of all three dimensions.

Ethos involves your credentials or credibility as a speaker. Socrates was wise enough to conclude that who you are is far more important than what you say when you are speaking. In fact, your character determines what you say and do.

Almost any communications book will tell you that if you want an audience to listen to you, you must be attractive to them – not so much physically (thank God) but attractive in our character. And the most attractive quality of a speaker is authenticity.

In other words, if you want to preach effectively, be you. You’re the only you God ever made. After He finished designing…

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UnityOne of the reasons why Saddleback church has grown over the years is because we have maintained a harmonious atmosphere.  When there is a church that is loving, it attracts people like a magnet.  When a church really loves, really offers love to each other and those who are welcomed into it, you’d have to lock the doors to keep people out.  Because Saddleback is a loving church, we continue to reach out and we continue to grow.

Growth is automatic.  All living things grow and if a church is alive and living, it will grow naturally.  The question, if a church isn’t growing, is, “What is keeping it from growing?”  If you remove the barriers to growth in your ministry or in the church as a whole, it will automatically grow.

A simple reading of Romans 14 reveals six ways that we are to build each other up rather than tearing each other down.

1.  The first commitment to make to grow a more harmonious church is committing ourselves to building each other up.  What kind of difference would it make if all of your church’s staff and key leaders began to write one…

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Plenty of highly charismatic leaders have bombed out and failed because they lacked character, which trumps charisma every time. You don’t have to have charisma to be a leader.  You do have to have character, credibility, because leadership is influence and if you don’t have credibility nobody is going to follow you.

While your reputation is about what people say you are, character is who you really are.  D. L. Moody said, “Character is what you are in the dark when nobody is looking.”  In Timothy 3:1-13, Paul lays out the necessary characteristics for church leadership.  He never addresses having a robust resume, having gone to the right seminary, or having a magnetic public persona. He talks about character traits.

Leaders come in all shapes, sizes, and temperaments. There is no one particular leadership personality. In fact, there are many. You don’t have to be outgoing to be a leader. God wants to use your personality. Paul was a choleric.  Peter was a sanguine.  Moses was a melancholic. Abraham was a phlegmatic.  They are as different as night and day.  God used them all.

The fact is you will burn out if you try to imitate…

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ThinkingWhen Christian leaders become ambitious, things get tough. Often other people will mistake our ambition for pride or presumption. But Jesus was ambitious about building His church. Paul was ambitious about pressing toward the prize. Joshua was ambitious about taking the promised land. The fact is, God responds to bold, audacious vision and ambition in a leader.

So what could be holding your ambition back?

We tend to confuse humility and fear.

Humility is not denying your strengths. Humility is being honest about your weaknesses. All of us are a bundle of both great strengths and great weaknesses and humility is being able to be honest about both. Paul could say, “Follow me as I follow Christ,” because he was also honest about his weaknesses and he said, ”I’m the chief among sinners.” So he writes down both his strengths and his weaknesses.

God wants you to be humble, but He does not want you to be fearful. And to not accomplish anything is not humility but fear. Don’t worry about God humbling you. He has plenty ways to do that. Worry that you might not be all that He wants you to be because…

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You Are BeautifulWe affirm people when we treat them with dignity, knowing that they matter to God. If you want to stand out in your leadership, one secret puts you head and shoulders above everybody else – be an encourager. Encouragement is very difficult to find today.  The Bible says, “Encourage each other and build each other up.”

In America, we live in a very negative culture.  Most people get far more jeers than cheers, far more pokes than strokes.  We live in a society where the number one form of humor is put downs.  People are put down, criticized, maligned.

God calls us to do the exact opposite.  God says, as believers and especially as Pastors and church leaders, we are to value everybody.  When you look around at people — even people who are insulting you and putting you down, you must realize that God died for them.  He sent His Son for them and they matter greatly to God.  When you appreciate people, you raise their value.  Appreciation means to raise in value.  If you have bought or sold real estate in these last few years, you know the meaning…

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BullseyeThe Bible is clear that Christians must be “doers of the Word and not hearers only,” (James 1:22) so it’s clear that our responsibility as Pastors and preachers of the Word is to challenge people to do something in response to what we’ve said. In other words, the goal of preaching is life change.

How can you add more application into our message to make God’s Word more doable? Always aim for a specific response.

The greatest weakness of most preaching is that the sermon has a fuzzy focus. So many sermons are vague & abstract because the pastor isn’t really clear about why he is teaching this particular message, nor does he give the audience a specific direction to go in response.

It’s easy to be abstract, but it takes effort to be specific, but nothing becomes dynamic until it becomes specific! A well-prepared sermon should be more like a bullet than buckshot. Know your purpose and aim right for it!

The most important question you can be asking as you are in the process of studying and preparing your sermon is what specific response am I going to ask for?

Since you are preaching for action, for a verdict, and for…

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