Archives For Rick Warren

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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Vision+44One of your most important roles as a pastor is as vision caster. Sharing the vision of your church can’t be a one-time event.

The Bible says, “If people can’t see what God is doing, they stumble all over themselves.” (Proverbs 29:18, MSG)

As the leader, God has called you to help your congregation see what God is doing in your midst.

That’s why you must continually put the vision of your church before your congregation—at least every 26 days. That’s the Nehemiah Principle.

In Nehemiah’s story of rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem, halfway through the project people got discouraged and wanted to give up. Like many churches, they lost their sense of purpose and, as a result, became overwhelmed with fatigue, frustration and fear.  Nehemiah rallied the people back to work by reorganizing the project and recasting the vision.  He reminded them of the importance of their work and reassured them that God would help them fulfill his purpose (Neh. 4:6-15).

Although the wall took only 52 days to complete, the people became discouraged at the halfway point: just 26 days into the project! Nehemiah had to renew their vision.

You’ve got to…

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TransitionIf your church has plateaued in its growth for a while or shows signs of being unhealthy, things may need to change, and the Pastor is the point person to produce positive change in any church’s culture. Having said that, leading a church through change is difficult, and sometimes can be detrimental if you don’t consider some important questions before starting the process.

Three aspects of change you should evaluate before shaking things up are:

Location

  • Is this church in the right place for growth?
  • Are there more people around this church that we should be reaching?
  • Does this church actually need to die and be reborn somewhere else?
  • Is there a more receptive area where we could reach more people?
  • Could I be a more effective leader somewhere else?
  • What is the realistic potential if the church is renewed successfully?

Leadership

  • Am I the right Pastor to lead this change?
  • Is this the kind of church I should be pastoring?
  • Do I match the congregation? Do I match the community?
  • Is the existing leadership likely to support me in change?

Longevity

The final question you need to wrestle with is, Am I willing to give the rest of my life to this church? If you…

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Too many churches are led by wounded pastors and leaders who can’t really love people or be vulnerable or focus on the future because of past rejection and hurt. But there is healing for wounded leaders!

There are a lot of things that wound us in life.  Maybe you were wounded because somebody lied to you.  Maybe a promise was made to you that was broken. Or maybe you were in a conflict with a church member or fellow leader. In that conflict some angry words were said and you were deeply wounded.  Maybe you were wounded by a betrayal, by rejection, or by being misunderstood.  You may have been wounded by being devalued, overlooked, or not valued enough.  And you can be wounded by loneliness.

There are a lot of things in life that wound you, but God says, I need you to let go of these things.  Get them out of the garbage bag and throw them over the cliff so you don’t have to deal with them any more.

David said in Psalm 109, “My heart is wounded…

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PrayerYou can have a thriving ministry without a thriving relationship with God, but only temporarily. Anyone can fake it in the short run, but to go the distance, you need a passionate devotional life and continual closeness to Jesus. Often, pastors tend to allow the busyness of ministry and the necessity of studying for sermon preparation to replace a real, personal walk with Jesus. But God wants better for you.

Three T’s for a thriving walk with Jesus…

1.  TIME.

It takes time to get to know somebody.  I know Jesus Christ a whole lot better than I did five years ago or ten years ago or twenty years ago.  It just takes time.  When you spend time with Jesus, it doesn’t make you more religious.  It makes you more natural.  In fact, God doesn’t want you to be religious.  He wants you to be you.

You can’t develop an intimate relationship with anybody in a crowd.  My wife tells me this all the time.  My favorite joy is to greet people on our church’s patio and talk to 100 different people.  Meanwhile Kay would like to get with one person and spend an hour…

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Rev. Thomas Chalmers, 1780 - 1847. Preacher and social reformer (shown preaching)Jesus was definitely an iconoclast, continually challenging the conventional thinking of His day. Twenty different times Jesus said, “You’ve heard it said… but I say to you…” And even today, his thoughts on leadership go against the grain.

Most modern books on leadership, whether Christian or secular, give the same advice – be confident, never admit fear, maintain control and be composed, be convincing and never show weakness. But Jesus had a different style altogether. Instead of leading from a position of strength (lording authority over people), Jesus led from a position of weakness, becoming a servant.

The fact is, everybody has weaknesses. And our weaknesses are multi-faceted. We have physical, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual weaknesses. The question is, what do you do with your weaknesses? While most people deny, defend, or excuse their weaknesses, Christian leaders can embrace them and ask God to use them! When God works through weak people, His power is shown more clearly!

Let me define what I’m talking about when I use the word weakness. I’m not talking about a character flaw that can and should be changed. A weakness is any limitation…

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The Post-It PrankPastors, we tend to share a lot throughout the year. Some of you are preparing two or three messages and presentations every week. When you repeat that process 52 times in a year, life gets exhausting. How do you stay motivated to keep going?

Let me share with you how I’ve managed to motivate myself. Here are seventeen things you can do to keep yourself motivated.

1. Put your plans on paper.

Write out what you want to accomplish. Spell it out. Dawson Trotman said, ”Thoughts disentangle themselves when they pass through the lips and the fingertips.” If I can say it and I can write it down, then it’s clear. If I haven’t written it down, then it’s vague.

A lot of us go around with anxiety which is this free-floating, vague fear that I’m not getting it all accomplished. Just the very fact of putting it down, a lot of times, gives credence and relief to your mind and you’re able to focus on it.

2. Break big tasks into small steps.

When I’m preparing a sermon, I think, “What do I have to do? I’ve got to collect the verses, study the…

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Purpose Driven ChurchWhen I wrote The Purpose Driven Church, I predicted that church health – not church growth – would be the primary concern of the 21st Century church. I believe that prediction is proving itself true.

The New Testament says a lot about the health of the church. Consider just a few verses:

“As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow,
so that the whole body is healthy and growing. …” (Ephesians 4:16b, NLT)

“The focus of my letter wasn’t on punishing the offender but on getting you to take responsibility for the health of the church.” (2 Corinthians 2:9, Msg)

“You can develop a healthy, robust community that lives right with God and enjoy its results only if you do the hard work of getting along with each other. …” (James 3:18, Msg)

Church health is the key to church growth. All living things grow if they’re healthy. You don’t have to make them grow – it’s just natural for living organisms. As a parent, I didn’t have to force my three children to grow. They naturally grew up. As long as I removed the hindrances, such as…

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Editor’s Note: The following article by Pastor Rick originally appeared in the January/February 2013 issue of Ministry Today when he served as Guest Editor. Please continue to pray for the Warren family as they grieve the loss of Rick and Kay’s son, Matthew. 


The greatest need in the world today is to release the latent energy bottled up in believers who are doing nothing for the Kingdom of God. It’s time for the Church to rise up and be the Church. The Church is the Body of Christ; but it seems like our hands and feet have been amputated, and most of the time we’re just a big mouth. It’s time for the Church to stop being known for what we’re against and start being known for what we stand for: grace, compassion, mercy, forgiveness, salvation, and new life in Jesus Christ.

That’s why we began re-thinking our mission strategy at Saddleback. Jesus tells us to “go everywhere in the world, and tell the Good News to everyone” (Mark 16:15 NCV). “Go” is a key word…

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True MissionPastor, you’ve got a sleeping giant in your church. If you awake that sleeping giant, it’ll change your church, your community and the world. This sleeping giant in your church is your unengaged lay people.

If 10 percent of your church does most of the work, you have nine entire churches your size sitting on the sidelines each week. Fully engaged, the ministry potential of your church is mind-boggling!

Each Sunday, church pews are filled with members who are doing nothing with their faith except “keeping” it. The designation active member in most churches simply means those who attend regularly and financially support the church. Not much more is expected.

But God has far greater expectations for every Christian. He expects every Christian to use their gifts and talents in ministry. If we can ever awaken and unleash the massive talent, resources, creativity, and energy found in the typical local church, Christianity will explode with growth at an unprecedented rate.

I believe that the greatest need in evangelical churches is the release of members for ministry. George Gallup once took a survey and discovered that only ten percent of American church…

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StepsDo you realize that if your weekend attendance totals about 90 people, you’re an above average church (at least in the United States and when measuring by such numbers)?

If you’re wondering what you need to do to grow, here are eight steps that can help you break an attendance barrier:

1) Decide you really, really want to grow — Believe it or not, the primary barrier to church growth is desire. Do you really want to grow? If the answer is yes, then you must commit to this goal and be willing to accept changes.

And the people in your congregation must also be willing to accept changes.

The Bible says, “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain” (John 12:24, NKJV). In order for a church to grow, some things have to die. Those who had intimacy with the pastor have to learn to share him with new people. They have to be willing to let go of the control they have in certain decisions and in certain areas.

It takes an incredible unselfishness. They must be willing to die to…

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