Archives For Rick Warren

Fellow Pastors and church leaders, we are in a battle for souls. The Bible encourages us to “endure hardship as a soldier.” This is not to say that we are at war with people, and we need to be very careful to realize that the war we are involved in is spiritual in nature. In fact, the war we are engaged in is far more important than any earthly one. The implications of our war are eternal. Victory is not a matter of who will be in charge politically or who will control natural resources. It’s a battle that will determine how many people we can rescue from sin forever. We’re talking about souls for eternity.

In any war, in any battle, there absolutely must be a strategy before the engagement starts. I want to share with you seven aspects of the strategy that any local church needs to adopt to take their communities by storm.

1. Your church must share a single concept of operation.

Unity is vital to winning. No matter its size, a local church is the body of Christ,…

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In their return to Saddleback Church after the death of their son, Pastor Rick and Kay share the very personal story of Matthew and his battle with mental illness. They explore the stages of loss that they are walking through with honesty and transparency, teaching us how to do the same in the tough and tragic times of our lives, reminding us that through it all, God is with us and loves us, and urging us to follow Paul’s teaching in 2 Corinthians 1:4-6 — to comfort others in their troubles as God comforts us.

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Piers, Rick, and KayAfter teaching How to Get Through What You’re Going Through” for the past eight weeks, Kay and I felt it was time to grant the first media interview since Matthew’s death. We chose CNN’s Piers Morgan Live because it offered a full-hour for us to share our thoughts, rather than just short sound bites.

What happened in the taping surprised us all. Several members of the tech/camera crew were in tears, hugged us, and told us that their lives had been profoundly impacted by the experience. Piers Morgan was unusually sensitive to the moment, allowing us all the time we needed without interruption. At lunch, Piers shared that it was the most moving interview he’s ever done.

In kindness, the CNN team came to us, taping the interview at our Acts of Mercy family foundation office. In our conversation, we discussed:

  • What it was like to parent a child who battled mental illness all his life.
  • What it has been like to grieve our son’s suicide as public figures.
  • Mental illness, depression, guns, grief, and God.
  • What needs to change in our culture, including removing the stigma from mental illness.
  • How to support the mentally ill and the families who care for…

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Pastors and leaders, I’m going to give you a sneak peek at your final exam.  You’re going to stand before God one day and He’s going to evaluate your faithfulness.  He’s going to look at eight different aspects of your life to judge your faithfulness and you should be highly interested developing these areas of your life and leadership.

1. Do you possess the right values?

A faithful person knows what’s important in life and what isn’t important in life.  A faithful person knows how to invest his or her life.  A faithful person makes their life count.  A faithful person knows the significant apart from the trivial.

Proverbs 28:20 says, “A faithful man will be richly blessed but one eager to get rich will not go unpunished.”  This verse contrasts faithfulness with a desire to get rich quick.  He’s not talking about making money.  He’s saying that what we have to realize is there is more to life than just the accumulation of things.  The Bible says we’re to live like fish swimming upstream in a very materialistic world.  Faithfulness is proven by our refusal to buy into the system that says the almighty…

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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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