One common challenge faced by leaders, including pastors and church leaders, is the fear of embarrassment—especially when met with hard questions or situations where we might not have all the answers. We’re afraid we’ll look dumb in front of those we lead. 

Some of the greatest leaders in history have struggled with this. Consider Moses’ burning bush interaction with God. When God called Moses to lead the people out of Egyptian slavery, the first question Moses asked God was about his own identity: “Who am I to . . . lead your people?” (Exodus 3:11 CEV). But notice the second question: “What should I say, if they ask me your name?” (Exodus 3:13 CEV). Moses is worried he won’t know how to answer the Israelites’ questions.

I know many pastors who resonate with this fear. Everyone expects the pastor to answer any question about Scripture and life in general. But no one knows everything. If you had to know the answer to every question to be the leader, you’d never lead.

God responds to Moses with…

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Satan painted a bullseye on your back the moment you stepped up to serve Jesus. So, no matter how you’re serving in ministry, you can expect to encounter problems. 

Fear is one of the most significant weapons that Satan uses against you. Most leaders never do what God wants them to do because they let fear stand in their way. They lock themselves in a self-imposed prison. 

In one of the most famous passages in the Bible, Moses faces a fear we commonly face in ministry—the fear of inadequacy.

You can easily split Moses’ life into three parts. He spent the first 40 years in Pharaoh’s court learning how to be somebody. He spent the next 40 years in the desert learning to be a nobody. Then he spent his final 40 years learning to be God’s somebody. 

As you already know, at the end of period two, God appeared to Moses in a burning bush, where God spoke to him and commissioned him to lead the Israelites out of slavery. 

Moses’ first response is similar to how we today often respond to God’s…

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Faith is an interesting substance. You don’t get it by sitting in a Bible study group. You don’t get it by just talking about it. You don’t get it by just thinking, hoping, or wishing. 

Faith is like a muscle. You develop it more by using it more. The more you use a muscle, the stronger it gets. The more you use the little faith you have, the more it gets stretched. The more it gets stretched, the more God blesses your life.  

Just ask Joshua. 

Joshua 1 tells the story of his installment as the leader of Israel. God had given Joshua the impossible task of possessing the Promised Land. As you know, the rest of the book tells the story of Joshua leading God’s people to do exactly that. 

I don’t know what God has called you to do through your ministry, but I know he is leading you to a step of faith that feels just as impossible as Joshua’s. 

But I also know this: Your ministry will never please God if you don’t take risks. 

The Bible says, “Without…

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Learn From Failure

By Rick Warren

Every pastor makes mistakes; every pastor has defeats. Mistakes are a part of life. Sadly, so is sin. Not even a pastor can escape Romans 3:23: “All of us have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory” (CEV).

None of us are perfect.

The difference between successful and unsuccessful leaders isn’t that the successful people don’t fail. The difference is that successful leaders learn from their failures.

I heard a story years ago about a young man who asked an executive, “What is the secret of success?”

“The secret of success is the right decisions,” the executive responded. 

“How do you make the right decisions?”

“By experience.”

“How do you get experience?”

“By making mistakes.”

I always told my staff at Saddleback to call failure an education. We did more things that didn’t work than did. That means I had a highly educated staff!

But the important part was we weren’t afraid to admit our mistakes and learn from them. The road to success is paved with failure. But what’s critical is this: We need…

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Take a Leap in 2024

By Rick Warren

Commitment is key to accomplishing anything in ministry. Without commitment, you won’t finish anything.

You probably know many people in your church who struggle to commit. They jump from one relationship to another, one career to another, or one church to another. They never seem to give God time to work in their lives, and they always have a Plan B; they’re ready to bolt when life gets complicated. It’s a frustrating experience for leaders.

But, pastor, are you doing the same thing? Are you watching your ministry flounder because you’re regularly shuffling through new priorities?

That pattern never leads to success in ministry or any other area of your life.

There are three things that tempt us as leaders to give up before finishing: 

  • Problems—Every good idea has something wrong with it. Even the Promised Land had giants in it. Unfortunately, those problems scare us and make us want to quit what God is calling us to do.
  • Pressures—Reaching the goal can become too much responsibility to handle alone. Moses’s father-in-law recognized this and told him,…

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By Jeni Baker, Global Co-Executive Director of CR

As a recovering Co-Dependent and an Adult Child of Family Dysfunction, a big part of my recovery was learning that my emotions dont make me a burden. When I share my feelings, people wont think that I’m not worth it and leave me. Im lovable even if Im feeling bad, or low, or having a hard time.

Just shy of a year into this Covid pandemic, I was writing a gratitude list about this past year, and something occurred to me. I spent the first 5-6 months of the pandemic angry. Like really angry, bitter, and resentful. But as I look back on all that God has done for me this past year, I realized he let me have my big feelings, and my temper tantrums, and my pity parties, and he still loved me. He let me work through my emotions without abandoning me, giving up on me, or forsaking me. He let me be honest about how I was feeling, and he so gently led me through the process of refining those thoughts and feelings….

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Recently, a storm was moving through the Pacific Northwest that knocked out our power in the middle of the night. I was immediately aware of all the new risks to our household. Our phones lacked the power to provide the charge they needed for the next day. Our gas furnace would work, but the fans would not move the warm air. I wondered if the power would return quickly enough that our frozen food would stay frozen. Worse than all of those, I was aware that our security system would no longer keep me notified if anything happened to our house.

As I sat in silence, I truly understood the definition of powerlessness. I could do nothing to restore the comforts I have grown to expect. On top of that, I didn’t even know which tree was to blame for my discomfort. I very much wanted to make something happen, but at 1 am, I was powerless.

My years in Celebrate Recovery showed me the pathway back to peaceful slumber. Knowing I was powerless, I turned to the one with all power. I handed over my role…

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Confidence is important for all leaders, but it’s particularly important for leaders pursuing God’s mission in the world. Why is confidence so important for biblical leadership?

Because doubt is the opposite of faith, and the Bible says, “Without faith it is impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11:6 NIV). 

Too often, the enemy gets us to question the goals God has given us for our ministry. We start asking, “Is this really God’s will? What if I’m wrong?” But we can’t afford to doubt what God is calling us to do. 

A few years back, I saw a Peanuts cartoon that illustrates this perfectly. Charlie Brown is standing on the pitcher’s mound. He says, “A pop fly. I’ve got it. It’s all mine. If I catch this ball, we’ll win the first game of the season.” 

Then he starts praying, “Please let me catch it. Please let me be the hero. Please let me catch it. Please.” 

Then, as the ball comes down, he says, “On the other hand, do I think I deserve to be the hero? Is the baseball…

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Has God given you what feels like an impossible assignment? Maybe he is leading your church to reach a new community or meet an additional need. Maybe you’re in the middle of starting a new church among people who desperately need to hear about Jesus.

You’re not the first person God has given an impossible task. Take Joshua, for example. In Deuteronomy 7:1, Moses told the Israelites about the land that Joshua would lead them to possess after Moses died. Seven nations inhabited the land. All of them were stronger than Israel. 

It must have looked impossible to Joshua. But God made a promise to him. It’s the same promise he makes to you: “Be strong and brave. Be sure to obey all the teachings my servant Moses gave you. If you follow them exactly, you will be successful in everything you do. Always remember what is written in the Book of the Teachings. Study it day and night to be sure to obey everything that is written there. If you do this, you will be wise and successful in everything” (Joshua 1:7-8…

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When it comes to churches, bigger isn’t better. Healthy is better.

Your ministry matters to God, no matter the size or location. Never confuse prominence with significance. My nose is prominent. (I have a big nose!) But my nose is not significant. My nose could get cut off, but I could still live happily

Even though I’ve never seen my liver, heart, or lungs, they’re all significant. If I lost any of them, I’d drop dead. 

Your ministry is significant, even if it’s not prominent. As you head into 2024, it’s easy to lose sight of what matters most. You may never go viral on social media. You might not get a book contract or grace the cover of a magazine. You might feel as if no one sees your ministry.

But God does. One day, you’ll stand before your loving Creator so he can say to you, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You’ve been faithful in little things. Now be faithful in much.” Your church’s size won’t matter then, and it doesn’t matter now. Every church matters to God. 

Imagine…

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When you got involved in ministry, you weren’t given a pass that gets you out of difficulties. You know this. Like anyone else, pastors have habits they struggle to let go of. 

Some of those self-defeating habits were actually survival tactics when you were a kid. They helped you cope with trauma when you didn’t know how to fight back.

Eventually, these patterns become old friends. You know now that they aren’t good for you, but you’re accustomed to them and identify them as part of you.

But you don’t need to be a slave to those patterns. You can change them—but it won’t be easy. While you can change anything for a day or a week, lasting change requires something more. The Bible gives four principles for lasting change. Do what God’s Word says, and you can make even the hardest changes in your life.

  1. Learn and face the truth. It’s painful to face the truth about ourselves, so we would rather stay deluded. The truth is, we’re all broken. We’re all imperfect. That includes you and me. 1 John 1:8 says,…

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Hi, I am a grateful believer in Jesus Christ who struggles with grief and control. My name is Amanda. 

My heart is no longer hardened by grief, anxiety, and control. I used to hide my pain and wonder why my heart hurt, even when I prayed and read God’s Word. I was missing a piece of the puzzle. I wasn’t letting the pain out. When I started coming to Celebrate Recovery two years ago, I kept hearing James 5:16, “Therefore, confess your sins and pray for one another, that you may be healed.” 

 Sharing my struggles and peeling back the layers of shame, guilt, hurt, and harm have helped me gain a sound mind. My husband Warren and I are healing old wounds, learning to communicate hard things, and finding a shared vision for parenting God’s way. I delight in my children instead of losing my cool. In fact, our entire family comes to CR. 

I grew up in a big, chaotic family as the oldest of 10 children. We suffered several tragedies, including losing my baby brother to an accidental drowning when I…

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