Archives For Ministry

These articles are written to encourage and equip you and your people to serve others by meeting needs in love.

Topics include: leadership, preaching, vision, SHAPE, building ministry teams, developing leaders, becoming Purpose Driven, mental health, kids, students, etc.

“I am suffering here in prison. But I am not ashamed of it, for I know the one in whom I trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until the day of his return.”

2 Timothy 1:12 (NLT)

When something is precious to you—a rare coin, an expensive piece of jewelry, or an irreplaceable heirloom—you take it to the bank and entrust it to the protection of a safe deposit box. You trust that it won’t be stolen, broken, or burned up. 

What do you need to entrust to God today? Consider giving him these two things: whatever you’re worried about and whatever is causing you pain. God promises to take care of them. 

Worry is practical atheism. It’s acting like you don’t believe you have a Father in heaven who loves you. Worry is saying you don’t believe God can be trusted to take care of the things that matter to you. 

The most difficult thing to put in God’s safe deposit box is your pain. But God is your Comforter, and he…

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By Cindy

I would love to say that I needed recovery because of a few unhealthy habits or because of a short, dark period of my life. However, my need for recovery spans almost 40 years. I needed healing because I allowed fear, worry, anxiety, and low self-esteem to influence every factor of my existence. I followed them down dangerous paths. And I made decisions based upon my dependence on them. That is why I get so excited when I can now say this:

Hello, my name is Cindy. I am a fierce believer in my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I have victory in fear, worry, and anxiety. And I am currently recovering from low self-esteem and self-hatred.

Filtering my world through fear started very early in my life. I grew up in a home where my mom feared almost everything, and my dad ran the family by high expectations. My identity and self-worth became tied to how well I performed for my parents and how I could ease my mom’s fears. However, I falsely became deluded into thinking that high achievements and mitigating fears were my main purpose. Whenever I failed in…

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By Richard Cobb

“The Lord your God will drive out those nations before you, little by little. You will not be allowed to eliminate them all at once, or the wild animals will multiply around you.”

Deuteronomy 7:22 (NIV)

For those of us in need of sustained recovery, we come to Celebrate Recovery because we have been participating in unhealthy habits or hang-ups or because we are dealing with hurts in unhealthy ways. Through the benefits of Celebrate Recovery, we discover that recovery comes as we walk a step-by-step process. Our healing and sustained recovery does not come as an all-at-once experience. Celebrate Recovery is specifically designed to guide us through the 12 Steps and the 8 Principles. The recovery process requires an investment over a substantial period of time. We receive the help necessary to retrain our hearts and readjust our lives at a safe, reliable, and sustainable pace through our investment and participation in the step-by-step method.

This method mirrors how God assisted the Israelites in Deuteronomy 7:22, shown above. While God most definitely had the power to defeat all obstacles from their path at once, he purposefully instructed…

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Your love for preaching isn’t important. What’s important is whether you love the people to whom you’re preaching. In fact, the single most important key to being an effective communicator is your love for people.

The Bible says that if I “have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal” (1 Corinthians 13:1 NKJV). You don’t want to be a clanging cymbal. 

I say this with a great degree of humility that the people of Saddleback Church would follow me anywhere. Why? Because they know I love them. I’ve given them 40-plus years of my life. You can fake love for a year or two. You can’t fake it for 40 years. 

You either love those you’re preaching to—or you don’t.

Before every message, I pray: “God, I love these people with all my heart. And they love me. And God, I love you, and you love me. You love these people, and I love them, and there is no fear in love. Perfect love casts out all fear. This is not an audience to be…

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By David

My name is David, I’m a child of God, and I am in recovery for sex addiction. I want to share with you how working the steps of a Step Study has changed my life. My recovery journey began almost two years ago, around the time the pandemic started in 2020. Due to social distancing, I started working from home. It was a safe environment for my health but being alone allowed my porn addiction to run rampant. I never thought of myself as a sex addict, but it dawned on me I had a problem. After enough guilt and shame, I finally mustered up the courage to confess to my wife of my porn addiction. Unfortunately, I absolutely broke my wife’s heart, and we didn’t know how to restore our marriage or heal from the pain. I thankfully, however, remembered hearing about Celebrate Recovery during my church’s announcements. Originally, I thought of it as the ministry for drug and alcohol abuse, but I found it was the place for me to join after doing some research.

I found CR in an interesting time when hardly anyone met in groups, so…

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Managing Your Choices

By Rick Warren

“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but I will not be mastered by anything.

1 Corinthians 6:12 (NIV)

Some things are not necessarily wrong; they’re just not necessary. Many of the choices you make in life are not between good and evil. The choices you make in life are between what’s good and what’s best. Everything is permissible, “but not everything is beneficial.” Most of the decisions you make are morally neutral. So when making a choice, the question is: “Will this help me, or will this hinder me in pursuing my life purpose?”

For example, you could spend your entire week watching television. That might not be morally wrong, but it’s definitely a waste of time. When you waste your time, you’re wasting your life.

Until you figure out why God put you here on earth, you really have no basis by which to make decisions. Until you know your purpose, all the other decisions have no context by which you can determine, “This helps me move toward my goal in life. This helps me become what…

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Four Habits for Building Healthy Relationships

You can’t have an effective ministry without strong relationships. Your ministry is only as successful as your relationships.

Relationships are the key to a happy life—and a happy ministry. In fact, one of the most important lessons we can learn in our ministries isn’t how to preach better or draw a bigger crowd. It’s how to love people.

Paul understood this. When he wrote his most joyful letter in the Bible—the book of Philippians—he modeled four relational habits that will make our relationships happier and more enjoyable.

We must be grateful for the people in our lives. 

Study after study has shown that gratitude is tied to happiness. Happy relationships start with gratitude. 

But gratitude doesn’t come naturally to our relationships. We usually think first about what the other person can do for us. But that’s not where Paul began. He wrote in Philippians 1:3, “Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God” (NLT).

Paul didn’t have a smooth experience when he started the church in Philippi. In fact, it was one…

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7 Stress-Busting Habits to Transform Your Year

It’s no secret that the last two years have been stressful for pastors. One LifeWay Research study in 2021 found that nearly two-thirds of pastors say they’re frequently overwhelmed.

If that’s you, you’re not alone. 

But it’s important that you deal with your stress now rather than later. Your well-being depends on it. Psalm 23 provides us with a tremendous blueprint for reducing stress. In the Psalm, David outlines seven stress-busting habits that will make us happier and healthier.

1. Depend on God to meet your needs. “The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need” (Psalm 23:1 NLT).

It’s easy to put your trust in other people to meet your needs—your spouse, your congregation, your friends, and so on.

But that’s also a constant source of stress. We should never base our security on something that can be taken away from us. When you realize God will meet every one of your needs, it calms you down. He will never disappoint you, either.

2. Obey God’s instructions…

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Why Planning Your Preaching Matters

You can easily tell the difference between a well-prepared meal and one that was just thrown together at the last minute. 

If you eat all your meals at fast-food restaurants, you likely won’t be healthy. The same is true if you feed your church fast-food sermons. You can’t grow a healthy church on sermons you don’t prepare with care. When you skimp on sermon preparation, your church gets cheated. 

That’s why sermon planning is so important. I know many pastors who don’t plan their preaching at all. They wake up every Monday morning asking themselves, “What am I going to preach on this week?”

Some pastors don’t plan because they believe spirituality and spontaneity go together. There’s a constant tension between the human and the divine in what God does through people, whether it’s preaching or something else.

When it comes to planning, we need to depend upon the Holy Spirit. We need to be willing to throw everything out if the Holy Spirit tells us to do so. Our sermons must be about God’s agenda, not ours. 

Yet planning…

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Facing Your Struggles

By Rodney Holmstrom, Global Field Director

I am a big sports fan. Of course, my desire is for my team to win the championship every year. Not a very big wish, huh?

I was thinking this morning, what if when the season started, they just automatically said, “Rodney, without even starting the season, your team won. They are the new champions of their league.”

If I’m being honest, that excitement might last about 3 seconds and then I would be asking questions like, “What?! How? They didn’t do anything?!” Holding the trophy in the end without the journey toward it doesn’t quite mean the same thing, does it?

You see, what makes crossing the finish line sweet is not just about receiving a trophy, but it’s also about understanding and being satisfied with the work that went into the process and the journey.

Think about the stories of the journeys we took to get to where we are now. You will hear things like, “We had some rough spots that challenged us, but with God’s help, we persevered and kept fighting.”

I am reminded that while I have been given the privilege and honor of…

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By Rodney, Carol, Taylor, and Jason

I’m a grateful believer in Jesus and I struggle with drugs, alcohol, and food issues.

My name is Rodney.

I came from a dysfunctional home, one of four boys and a mom dealing with her own pain, addictions, and baggage. We lived in a home where verbal, emotional, and physical abuse ran rampant. At the young age of 10, I began smoking marijuana and when that wasn’t enough to mask the pain, I turned to alcohol and eventually, cocaine.

My mom moved away, and I stayed behind to live with my “friends” who were drug dealers. I was now homeless, a high school dropout with absolutely no hope for a future. I found myself wandering the streets with no sense of purpose. God certainly didn’t know I existed. He wasn’t present in my madness and certainly wasn’t strong enough to help me out of this mess, or so I thought…

I knew it was time to get out of there and so I moved to stay with my mom. I truly believed I was leaving my problems behind. Little did I know, running would not bring me the peace I…

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Who Is Your Provider?

By Rick Warren

Who Is Your Provider?

“My cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life.”

Psalm 23:5-6 (NIV)

Is your focus on what you can provide or on what God can provide?

Even though he was walking through difficult times, David was able to be thankful for God’s goodness and love because his cup was overflowing. God was his Provider, so David had more than he needed.

As you walk through the different seasons of life, you can choose between two different attitudes. You can have a shortage mindset or a surplus mindset.

With a shortage mindset, you constantly think, “I don’t have enough time. I don’t have enough money. I don’t have enough energy. I don’t have enough contacts, opportunities, knowledge, or education.” It’s the sense that you’re always a day late and a dollar short.

A shortage mindset focuses on your limited resources, and the result is an overwhelmed life.

A surplus mindset focuses on God’s limitless resources, and the result is an overflowing life. He wants to meet all your needs—beyond what you can imagine—and he’s the only one who can! Have you ever worried that…

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