Archives For Pastor Rick Warren

The Type of Leader God Uses, Part 2
(This article is part 2 of a 2 part series, you can find part 1 HERE.)

God uses people of faith. The Bible says, “Without faith, it is impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11:6 NIV). The Bible also says, “Whatever is not of faith is sin” (Romans 14:23 NASB95). As a leader, you need to learn how to be a person of faith.

God uses the leader who expects the church to grow.

The difference between failure and success is often one thing: attitude. Enthusiasm is an essential attitude for church growth. Enthusiasm is much more than positive thinking. Enthusiasm comes from two Greek words, en and theos. Theos is the word for God. En theos means that if you get in God, you’ll be enthusiastic. The more you tap into God’s power, trusting in him, the more enthusiastic you become.

I hope you get this:

You get to choose how you will respond to what happens in your life and your ministry.

You might be facing all kinds of problems in your ministry or in your personal life. Right now Satan is planning ways…

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The Type of Leader God Uses - Part 1

God uses people of faith. The Bible says, “Without faith, it is impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11:6 NIV). The Bible also says, “Whatever is not of faith is sin” (Romans 14:23 NASB95). As a leader, you need to learn how to be a person of faith.

God uses the leader who has a dream.

God uses the person who has a dream, vision, or goal because these things are demonstrations of faith.

A church will never outgrow its vision. The vision of the church is never larger than the vision of the leadership, and the leadership’s vision is never larger than the vision of the pastor.

Proverbs 11:27 says, “If your goals are good, you will be respected” (GNT). I want to challenge you to dream great dreams and believe God for great things.

The great thing about dreaming is, it doesn’t cost anything. You can dream all you want for what God can do in your church, and it won’t cost you a thing—but faith starts with a goal. It starts with a dream. It starts with a vision.

What are the two common mistakes we make…

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The Kind of Godly Man Your Church Needs

As Father’s Day rolls around this month, you’ll have the attention of men in your community in ways you might not have for the rest of the year. I encourage you to use this opportunity. The mission of your church depends upon it.

Your ability to engage the mission of God in your community is tied to awakening the men in your church. So, what are the characteristics of a faithful man of God, the kind you need to build a community revival?

Take a look at an often overlooked passage from Philippians 2. As Paul writes about Timothy and Epaphroditus, he tells us the characteristics found in a man of God.

He tells us:

1. A faithful man of God cares about others.

Paul describes Timothy like this: “I have no one else like him, who will show genuine concern for your welfare. For everyone looks out for their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 2:20-21 NIV). Timothy was unselfish in that he put Paul’s needs before his own. We live in a world where movies, songs, TV shows, advertisements, video games—they teach that it’s all…

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3 Keys to Getting Healthy

Everything you have is a gift from God.

Most of us are accustomed to looking at our money, our talents, and our time as a gift. However, stewardship is so much more. God wants us to manage every aspect of our lives in a way that will maximize our influence.

That includes how we take care of our bodies. Honestly, I didn’t pay attention to my health for years. But I had an epiphany a few years ago: I realized my health could limit my ministry, and I needed the energy to do what God was calling me to do.

God had given me a vision for the PEACE Plan, to mobilize my church and churches around the world to lean on God’s power to tackle some of the biggest global challenges. At Saddleback, we were making plans to engage churches worldwide to plant churches that promote reconciliation, equip servant leaders, assist the poor, care for the sick, and educate the next generation.

It was a tall order!

To fulfill what God had called me to do, I was going to need more energy and had to make the most of the…

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This Car is Awesome.

At Saddleback, we’ve always tried to make it easy for people to serve. You don’t need to be a committed Christian to pass out donuts or bulletins at our church. We shouldn’t need to check on a person’s doctrinal convictions in order to let them greet people outside of our worship services.

In fact, as I’ve written before, getting new people involved in serving early on can help you keep them connected to your church.

However, leadership is different from serving.

You know that your church won’t grow unless you develop leaders. When we’re considering new leaders, we can be tempted to lower the standards.

As you likely know, taking shortcuts is dangerous.

But the LORD said to him, “Pay no attention to how tall and handsome he is. I have rejected him, because I do not judge as people judge. They look at the outward appearance, but I look at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7, GNB).

Leadership isn’t about charisma. It’s about character and competence, demonstrated through maturity. Some of the most charismatic leaders of the past century were also the worst (Hitler, Mao, and…

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We still bear fruit.

Everyone is broken.

It’s a fact of life that’s not only clear from the pages of the Bible but also from the practical reality of what we see around us and in our own lives. Our bodies are broken. Our emotions are broken. Guess what? Our minds are broken, too.

If your liver stops working, you can go to a doctor to get it fixed. If you have a broken bone, you can get it set.

We don’t look down at people who get sick. We don’t second-guess the fact that they need medicine. We don’t tell them they need to pray harder.

But what do we say to people with mental health challenges?

We’ve stigmatized mental health for far too long. But the truth is, your brain is just another organ. It’s not a sin to be sick. Your character isn’t defined by your chemistry. Your identity is not your illness.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 1 in 5 Americans experiences mental illness, and nearly 10 million Americans live with a serious mental illness.

Every single one of us knows someone with a mental illness.

Yet, for some reason, the stigma surrounding…

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As leaders we cannot successfully walk through ministry alone. We must be connected to people who are ahead of us in the journey, people who are right behind us, and people who are walking alongside us.

Paul described this kind of multigenerational mentoring relationship in 2 Timothy 2:2: “You have heard me teach things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses. Now teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others” (NLT).

Paul and Timothy modeled three kinds of relationships all Christian leaders need in order to grow and serve effectively. Their relationship showed us that:

1. We need a spiritual father.

Paul calls Timothy “my true son in the faith” in 1 Timothy 1:2 (NLT). We first meet Timothy in Acts 16 when Paul is heading out on his second missionary journey. He stops in Lystra to pick up the young disciple who accompanies him, assists him, and serves as a sort of apprentice under him. Paul becomes a spiritual father to Timothy.

My heart hurts as I see the number of young pastors and leaders who are enthusiastically serving with big dreams but lack spiritual…

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5 Reasons People Come Back to Your Church

The best way your church will break through growth barriers is to do so quickly. I hear from pastors all the time who want to break through specific attendance barriers, whether it’s 100, 150, 250, or even 1,000. Churches rarely break those kinds of barriers through gradual growth.

When I started Saddleback, I thought that’s what would happen. I figured I’d add a few people each week and eventually we’d get to 20,000. In fact, I can show you a chart I created that showed how we could grow from just Kay and me to 20,000 in 40 years by simply adding two people a year.

But it just doesn’t work like that.

At Saddleback, we grew to about 15 people in the first 12 weeks of the little Bible study I hosted in our apartment. Then, as we approached Easter Sunday 1980, we prayed, we planned, and we advertised. We managed to get 205 people to show up. Yes, not all of them returned the next week, but we still grew more in the weeks following Easter than we would have in two years by just…

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Why Celebrate Recovery Works

I’ve never kept this much of a secret: Celebrate Recovery® is my favorite ministry at Saddleback. We have lots of great ministries at our church, and I love all of them.

But hands down, Celebrate Recovery is my favorite. Why?

This ministry is one of the best expressions of what God wants the church to be. Celebrate Recovery is all about life change. People come into this ministry broken and battered, turn their lives over to Christ, leave behind the hurts, hang-ups, and habits, and discover a new purpose for living.

Then they become leaders in our church. Celebrate Recovery has produced more leaders at Saddleback Church than any other ministry.

I can give you a whole list of reasons why Celebrate Recovery works. It emphasizes personal responsibility. It calls for a commitment to Jesus Christ. It expresses healing and emphasizes growth within a community. All of those are critical reasons why God changes lives through Celebrate Recovery.

But I think the biggest reason so many people who enter the program find lasting change is because it’s based upon God’s Word. It’s based upon the actual words of Jesus.

That’s what makes Celebrate Recovery…

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How to Be Spiritually Ready for Easter

It’s just a few days before Easter. We’re always in a spiritual battle, but if you’re like me, this is when you’re particularly vulnerable to spiritual attack. Everything intensifies during Easter because Satan knows God is getting ready to do something incredible through your church.

So what do you do?

I’m guessing you’ve preached from Ephesians 6 on multiple occasions. I want to remind you that preparing for spiritual warfare isn’t just for the people we teach. As leaders in God’s family, we’re in the battle, too.

The Bible says in Ephesians 6:13, “Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm” (NLT).

Let’s look at what we need to do in order to stand firm:

  • Belt of truth (6:14): This represents integrity, which means not compartmentalizing your life so you’re behaving one way in the pulpit and another way the rest of the week. If you…

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Why You Need to Think Like a Fish

You can’t be a good fisherman unless you learn to think like a fish. You need to learn their habits, preferences, and feeding patterns if you want to catch them. Certain fish like smooth, still waters. Others like the rushing rivers. Certain fish are bottom-feeders. Others like to hide among the rocks. If you don’t understand the patterns of the fish you’re trying to catch, you’re wasting your time.

The same is true when you’re trying to reach people with the Gospel. Jesus gives us a great example of someone thinking like a fish.

The Bible says in Luke 6:8, “Jesus knew what they were thinking” (GW). In fact, multiple times in Scripture we read that Jesus knew what people were thinking.

But here’s the problem: The longer you are a Christian, the less you think like an unbeliever. I don’t think like a non-Christian; I think like a Christian. In fact, I think like a pastor. That’s even worse! It’s two steps removed from the people I want to reach.

You can tell just how differently pastors think than spiritually lost people when you look at church…

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Preaching For a Decision this Easter!

Your Easter sermon this year will come down to two words: Will you?

You’ll likely have more unchurched guests at Easter than at any worship service all year long. They’ll come because their mother invited them to dinner, and church is a prerequisite. They’ll come because it’s a cultural tradition. Or they’ll come because you sent them an invitation.

Regardless of why guests show up for Easter, it’s a great opportunity to share the Gospel with them.

That’s why those two words matter.

Will you? Will you make the decision to follow Jesus?

Frankly, every sermon comes down to the words “Will you?” Preaching that leads to life change enlightens the mind, engages the emotions, and challenges the will.

Many pastors embrace the need to enlighten the mind and engage the emotions, but they avoid challenging the will. You can’t preach for a decision unless you’re willing to stand on the Word of God and humbly yet forcibly challenge people.

You need to ask people to make a decision. How do you do that? Let me give you six ways I ask for a specific decision, particularly the decision to follow Jesus:

  1. Use…

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