Search Results For "BALANCE IS THE KEY"

Church health is the result of balance.

Balance occurs when a church has a strategy and a structure to fulfill the five New Testament purposes for the church: worship, evangelism, fellowship, discipleship, and ministry.

If you don’t have a strategy and a structure that intentionally balances the purposes, the church tends to overemphasize the purpose you as a pastor feel most passionate about.

We tend to go to seed on one truth at a time. You attend one seminar and hear that the key to growth is small groups. At another, it’s volunteer recruitment, or dynamic worship, or creative outreach, or strong preaching.

The fact is, they’re all important.

When a church emphasizes any one purpose to the neglect of others, that produces imbalance — it’s unhealthy. And being unhealthy stunts a lot of churches.

To keep things balanced, four things must happen. You’ve got to:

  • move people into membership
  • build them up to maturity
  • train them for ministry
  • send them out on their mission.

And you need a clear discipleship process to be able to gauge whether you’re doing these things effectively or not. Just as our vital signs tell us whether our physical bodies are in good health or not, the health of a church is…

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The Key to Helping People Find Their Ministry Fit

If you’ve been reading my Ministry Toolbox articles for a while, you’re probably familiar with the concept of SHAPE—but you may not understand it fully. 

For us at Saddleback, SHAPE has become a critical part of how we help mobilize people for ministry. Architecture teaches that function follows form. We believe the opposite is true for ministry—form follows function. Your ministry is determined by your makeup.

When you don’t understand your SHAPE, you sometimes end up doing things God never intended or designed you to do. And when your gifts don’t match the role you play in life, it can be frustrating to you and the people you’re leading. Not only does it produce limited results, but it is also an enormous waste of your talents, time, and energy.

Five important factors make up how God SHAPEs us for ministry.     

Spiritual gifts 

The moment you become a believer, God gives you certain spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 12; Romans 8; Ephesians 4). Every believer has a spiritual gift. 

Most churches say, “Discover your spiritual gift and then you’ll…

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I’ve had the opportunity these last thirty years to be with Rick Warren as he has personally taught well over 400,000 leaders what it means to be a healthy, purpose driven church. In that time I’ve been able to observe some things about how to take the principles of being a healthy church from a philosophy into practice, from something you’d like to do to something you are doing. I’ve learned from watching these thousands of leaders that it takes four things to put principles into practice: message, method, models and mentors.

FIRST, YOU NEED THE RIGHT MESSAGE.

This one may be obvious, but it also must be stated because it is so important. There are a lot of ideas out there about how to grow a church. Many of them will work in one context but not in others or will work for a times but not for the long term. The key to picking the right idea to build on is in looking at the foundation of that idea. While we can learn much from the worlds of business or sociology about how to build a church, those learnings cannot serve as…

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In the coming months and years, the world will be in rebuilding mode. We’ll be rebuilding churches, communities, and economies.

Most importantly, we’ll be rebuilding lives. 

Leadership is critical to any rebuilding effort, and Nehemiah is my favorite leader in the Bible. Jerusalem had been in shambles for more than a century when he arrived, yet he led the effort to rebuild it.

Nehemiah gives us a great example of leadership as we enter into a time of rebuilding. 

What made him such a great leader? I believe it boils down to eight characteristics. 

Compassion

Nehemiah really cared about people. Just four verses into the book and you’re confronted with his compassion. Nehemiah 1:4 says, “When I heard this, I sat down and wept. In fact, for days I mourned, fasted, and prayed to the God of heaven” (NLT).

Nehemiah had a cushy job with the king of Persia. He didn’t have to care about the problems in Jerusalem, where he had never been, but he cared anyway. 

Love is the foundation of Christian leadership. People don’t…

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Why Every Pastor Must Empower and Release Leaders

I know my leadership style. I’m a big-picture, vision-casting leader. The details, frankly, don’t hold much appeal to me.

By itself, my leadership style wouldn’t accomplish much. But surrounded by staff and volunteer teams whose gifts complement mine, I’ve watched God achieve many milestones through Saddleback Church.

He is, after all, both the giver of vision and the giver of those who can handle the details that breathe life into vision.

There’s nothing inherently right or inherently wrong about being a vision-casting leader. It’s simply the way God wired me. He may have wired you differently. The key is for each of us to recognize our personal style, up front.

Then we can recruit a team with gifts that will enhance and supplement our style. This is important because God calls the church a body with many different parts, each having different gifts. Each part is necessary for the overall health of the body.

There’s tremendous power in cooperation. We do our best work when, instead of jockeying for position or trying to build a base of power, we work together—building…

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Church Growth Is Okay, but Church Health Is What Matters

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 4:16 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 The Message).

“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 The Message).

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 poor nutrition or an unsafe environment, their growth was automatic.

If my children had not grown up, something would have been terribly wrong. I would have done whatever it…

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Dave Gonzales was living a life most people dream about. But when divorce sent him into a depression, Dave turned to drinking to cope with the pain and loss. Now looking back on the decade that he spent as an alcoholic, he is grateful that despite the odds, he didn’t end up at the bottom of a grave.

Without a family to go home to, Dave began frequenting local bars and restaurants. What began as a few drinks after work developed into a much greater problem. When the bars would close, Dave would head home to spend the balance of his night drinking and gambling online. Shooting whiskey, drinking beer, and playing cards into the early morning hours became a regular occurrence.

Things grew worse for Dave when the economic crisis set in and his income dropped. Now dependent on alcohol, Dave made cuts everywhere in his life except his bar tab. He lost his apartment and car, and with no place to go, his only option was to sleep on his mom’s couch. Things had spiraled out of control — alcohol controlled Dave’s life. As time went on, his consumption continued to…

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If you’re a parent, then our guess is that you’ve thought about what it’s going to be like when your child eventually leaves home one day. You’ve probably also wondered, what kind of person is my child going to become someday? And have I been a good parent or have I just been the inspiration for my child’s future psychotherapy?

All kidding aside, perhaps this is leading you to wonder: Is how I’m parenting right now really the best I have to offer my kids?

Let’s face it. Raising kids in today’s crazy culture is an incredible challenge! If parents were ever given an owner’s manual with instructions on how to raise kids, it would be so much easier, wouldn’t it?

As ministry leaders, we’ve spent the last 30 years working with thousands of kids. During this time, we’ve talked to many parents who said they desire to help their kids thrive and be successful, yet they don’t feel confident as parents.

The problem is that most parents don’t have a plan when it comes to raising their kids.

Without a plan, most parents default to what we call, Quick-Fix Parenting. This is the reactive, spontaneous, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants parenting….

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Green Leaved Tree

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…

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Editor’s Note: The following is a re-published version of an inspiring interview with Pastor Rick Warren from 2002, and the principles are still extremely relevant to where the church is today. Pass this one along…


 

Jon Walker: You’re known for saying that pastors need to be more “lost” centered, that is, looking at their church from the perspective of someone who doesn’t go to church. Could you elaborate on that?

Rick Warren: The most overlooked principle for church growth is we have to love people the way Jesus did. That’s it! The motive behind everything we’ve done at Saddleback is that we love and care about lost people. The reason Jesus attracted such large crowds is because he loved people. On the other hand, I’ve heard churches justify their lack of growth by saying, “We’re small because we haven’t watered down the Gospel.” But maybe the real reason they don’t have a crowd is because they don’t want a crowd! They love their own comfort more than they love lost people.

To reach unbelievers you have to move outside your own comfort zone and do things that often feel awkward and uncomfortable to you. It…

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What God made you to BE determines whatIf you’ve ever doubted your calling to ministry, consider this: God has been molding and shaping you for ministry since before you were born!

“You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit them together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! It is amazing to think about. Your workmanship is marvelousand how well I know it. You were there while I was being formed in utter seclusion! You saw me before I was born and scheduled each day of my life before I began to breathe.” (Psalm 139:13-16 TLB)

This passage indicates that

  1. God shaped you for a purpose
  2. You are unique
  3. You are wonderfully complex

You are a composite of many different factors, summarized in the acrostic, S.H.A.P.E.:

Spiritual gifts

Heart

Abilities

Personality

Experience

 

Spiritual Gifts

The Bible teaches that God gives every believer certain spiritual gifts to be used in ministry (1 Corinthians 12; Romans 8; Ephesians 4). However, I believe spiritual gifts are only one part of the picture. In my opinion, spiritual gifts are often overemphasized to the neglect of other equally important factors. Natural abilities that…

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Growth

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…” – Eph. 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 Cor. 2:9 (Message)

“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 (Message)

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 poor nutrition or an unsafe environment, their growth was automatic.

If my children had not grown up, something would have been terribly wrong. I would have done whatever it took to discover the disease and correct…

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