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.

By Teri

I am a grateful believer in Jesus Christ, an overcomer of grief and loss, who struggles with food addiction and unhealthy self-reliance, and my name is Teri.

I come from a Christian home with wonderful parents, and I remember well my first encounter with godly conviction and recognizing my need for Jesus. That was the first day I remember asking Jesus to forgive me and telling Him I would love Him forever. Though I strayed away from my faith during my teens, His love wouldn’t let me go, and I’ve now been walking with Jesus for 42 years.

For many years I lived out my walk with Jesus, believing that God gave me a sound mind, and therefore He expected me to be independent and use my head to figure things out. I relied on my knowledge and abilities to solve my problems. Though I would say the words, “I need you, God,” I meant I needed Him to forgive me and to get me to Heaven, but I didn’t really need Him in my day-to-day living. I was self-sufficient. When problems arose, whether in marriage or parenting, my first go-to was…

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God Is on Your Side

By Rick Warren

“For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.”

Philippians 2:13 (NLT)

No matter what you face this week, you don’t have to face it alone.

God is with you, working powerfully in your life. The word “working” in Greek is the word energeo, from which we get the word “energy.” God is the energy driver in your life. You don’t have to rely on willpower, and the truth is, willpower isn’t enough.

God’s energy is transforming you from the inside out. This means he gives you the right desires in your heart and mind so that you do the right thing with your actions and words. This is the life he created you to live.

God is also for you. God is your ally. In fact, he is committed to your success. Some people think God is like an angry parent who is mad at them all the time. That couldn’t be further from the truth. He’s not mad at you, he’s mad about you.

Since God is for us, there is no challenge we can’t overcome….

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By Teri

It was my first day back to work after spending 26 days at my husband’s hospital bedside. The doctor’s prognosis? He would likely never walk again. My only comfort was that the three walls of my cubicle allowed me to hide my tears. My husband was the responsible one in our marriage, always filling my car with gas when I left it on empty and tying up loose ends I’d left undone. How would I pick up the slack and provide him emotional support when I was such a wreck? A co-worker shared I Peter 5:7, “Cast your cares upon Him for He cares for you.” I protested, “God, I did cast my cares upon you, and nothing has changed!” As the tears continued, I found myself lost in a memory…

On the shore of my favorite fishing pond, I cast my line with intention. I did this as many times as necessary to get my baited hook on target. Though the surface waters were as glass, it was only a matter of time before the unseen currents below pulled my line from where I had cast, and so, I cast…

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Why We Never Vote for Leaders at Saddleback

Leadership is an important part of ministry. In fact, most ministries rise and fall on leadership. You can have a ministry that meets a real need in your community. You can give it all the resources it needs to thrive. You can support it financially and prayerfully.

But if you don’t have effective leaders, your ministry won’t last. 

So how do you find the right leaders for your ministries? 

Some churches get leaders by voting for them. We’ve never done that at Saddleback—and here are six reasons why:

Some people will never get involved if the position needs to be voted on.

Many people who could be leaders in your church won’t put themselves through an election. They can’t handle the rejection

New ministries need to develop slowly, without the bright lights of public scrutiny.

That’s why we start every ministry small. Whenever someone comes up with a ministry idea, they often want to start it with big fanfare. We don’t do that. We want to give the ministry a chance to get planted and develop roots before it…

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“My purpose in writing is to encourage you and assure you that what you are experiencing is truly part of God’s grace for you. Stand firm in this grace.”

1 Peter 5:12 (NLT)

Today, do you need encouragement?

If you feel like giving up, God is with you. He understands your situation completely because Jesus felt like giving up too. He will help you stand firm with his sustaining grace. If you stumble, he will lift you up.

You don’t deserve it, and you can’t earn it. His grace is a free gift.

God’s sustaining grace gives you wisdom when you’re tempted. The Bible promises that God will provide a way of escape when you’re tempted. It may mean turning off your favorite show. It may mean leaving a situation. It may mean changing the way you’re thinking. God will provide a way for you to escape temptation.

God’s sustaining grace gives you energy when you’re tired. Have you noticed the easy thing and the right thing are not always the same thing? God gives you the power to do the right thing when you’re exhausted.

God’s…

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Broken Chains from https://www.brokenchainsjc.com/

By Jeff

I grew up as the youngest of 4 children. My mother and father worked full time, leaving my sisters to take care of me most of the time. As I look back, I can see where eating became my way of comforting the lack of attention from my parents. It was easier to give me something to eat than to be bothered with me. I became overweight as a result and spent much of my adolescence as the “fat kid.” Others made fun of me, and I had a hard time fitting in.

At 13 years old, I smoked marijuana for the first time and drank alcohol. Soon I fitted in with the “cool kids.” By age 15, I began lifting weights and boxing. I decided that I would never be picked on again. Getting high and fighting became normal for me as a teenager.

After graduating high school, I joined the Army. I bought a motorcycle for cheap transportation to work. I learned that drinking and fighting were all I wanted to do during my off-hours. Soon I was shot in the leg in…

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By Jeff Stultz, National Director Broken Chains

John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy; I have come that they might have life, and have it to the full.”

We were all created by God with a purpose. We’re born with all that we need to accomplish that purpose. However, many times the enemy works in our lives when we’re young to steal, kill, and destroy our ability to fulfill that purpose. When the enemy makes us question our self-worth as children, we grow into insecure adults—feeling unworthy of God’s love and forcing us to find communities where we fit in with others that struggle with the same low self-esteem. We medicate this pain in our lives with various hurts, hang-ups, and habits like drug addiction, pornography, co-dependency, relationships, etc. This self-medicating effectively destroys our ability to be used by God for the purpose we were created for. This leads us to a life of pain and a circle of hiding that pain and finding happiness with unhealthy behaviors.

Jesus came that we might have life and have it to the full. But this is not a promise. Focus…

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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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10 Steps to Training People for Ministry

I believe we have a sleeping giant in our churches today. If that sleeping giant awakes, the world won’t be the same. The sleeping giant is lay people who aren’t serving somewhere in ministry.

Our greatest need in the church today is to release an army of lay ministers to do what God is calling them to do.

You don’t need a big budget to awaken that giant. You simply need a process. 

How can your church release an army of lay people? These 10 steps have been critical in helping us release lay people into ministry at Saddleback. 

1. Teach the biblical basis for lay ministry.

There are four biblical principles from Romans 12:1-8 that sit at the foundation of what we believe about ministry.

-Every believer is a minister: A non-serving, non-ministering Christian is a contradiction.
-Every ministry is important: Although every ministry has a different function, they are all important.
-We are all dependent on one another: We…

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Five Steps to Navigating Loss

Life is full of losses. It’s sobering to remember that nothing around us is permanent. Pastor, everyone in our congregations will go through seasons of loss where they lose their finances, jobs, health, marriage, or loved ones. And we need to help them through these periods.

Here are five steps we can share with our members to help them navigate seasons of loss:

Help them release their grief.

Tragedy always produces strong emotions—loss, anger, fear, depression, worry, and sometimes guilt. Some people never deal with these feelings. They simply push them down and pretend they’re not there. Then they’re still struggling with their unresolved emotions 30 years later.

A myth exists that God wants us to walk around with a smile on our faces no matter what we’re dealing with on the inside. Jesus taught the exact opposite. He said in Matthew 4:4, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted” (NIV). When a loved one dies, it’s only natural that we will miss the person.

It’s important that instead of rehearsing these feelings in our…

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By Sabrena

I’m a grateful believer in Jesus Christ who struggles with codependency, food issues, and other addictive/compulsive behaviors to seek escape. My name is Sabrena.

My childhood was filled with chaos I could not control and feelings too overwhelming for a child to handle: loneliness, abandonment, fear, anger, resentment, and sadness­– to name a few. My father was an alcoholic, and my mother codependent. They loved my sister and me, but fell very short of supplying the love, attention, care, and direction we needed. As a result, I turned to coping mechanisms that helped me survive in the moment. Ultimately, this caused cycles of greater damage, more negative emotions, and escalation of addictive, compulsive behaviors.

At a very young age, food became my comfort– my first drug of choice. As I ate, I didn’t have to deal with my feelings; I could block out how bad my life was. It helped me when I was sad, lonely, depressed, angry, and confused. As I began to gain weight, other kids called me names and made fun of me, which only added to my home life’s pain. This hurt caused me to turn to food…

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By Sabrena Stolze, National State Rep Trainer

Shame is a terrible motivator. I have struggled in all areas of self-discipline for most of my life and have unwittingly tried to use shame to motivate myself to change. After 13 years of working the Principles and Steps in Celebrate Recovery, I thought I had let go of my shame, allowing God’s love, mercy, grace, and forgiveness to become my motivators to change, with the Holy Spirit providing the power to do so.

However, the last year of COVID restrictions, resulting in working from home and increased isolation, has challenged me greatly in the area of self-discipline, and I realized there is still work to be done. While I have stepped into God’s grace to a much greater degree than years past, I still judge myself harshly for “what I do not do” rather than rejoicing in who I am in Christ and the accomplishments He gives me each day. Sometimes it’s an accomplishment just getting out of bed or not acting out in addictive, compulsive ways for one more day.

God’s word tells us in Romans 8:1, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those…

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