Archives For Rick Warren

10 Commandments of Emotional Health During Stressful Times (Part 1)

Some seasons are more stressful than others—especially seasons of great change. This past year has been such a season for many people, including church leaders. Spiritually leading and nurturing people through an unprecedented time have taken a toll on many pastors. 

Regardless of how much emotional and spiritual reserves you had before the pandemic, a stressful period will deplete your emotional and spiritual tank a little each day, like letting the air out of a tire.

I love what Paul says in the Message paraphrase of Romans 12:12: “Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame.”

How do you keep yourself fueled and emotionally healthy during stressful seasons?

Here are the first five out of 10 biblical actions—or what I’m calling “10 commandments of emotional health”—to prevent burnout:

Show grace to yourself and others. (James 4:6)

Treat yourself and others how God treats you—with grace, mercy, and forgiveness. God always gives us what we need, not what we deserve. During hard times, we need extra grace.

Be kind to yourself. Don’t expect yourself…

Continue Reading

How the Church Can Help with Mental Health

I’ve always believed and taught that God uses our pain to help others. I’ve seen that to be true over and over in my life—and in the lives of those in our Saddleback family. Much of the Purpose Driven framework for ministry came from a time of deep pain I experienced early in my ministry. And Celebrate Recovery was born out of the pain of my dear friend, John Baker. 

The same is true with our church’s mental health ministries. My youngest son, Matthew, struggled since childhood with all kinds of mental and emotional pain. These challenges were difficult for him and our family.

Then, the day came I prayed would never happen. Matthew lost his battle with mental illness and took his life in a moment of despair. It was the worst day of my life.

Although not everything that happens in our life is God’s will, I do know he can turn bad into good. God doesn’t want us to ever waste a hurt. 

Continue Reading

When Fear Gets in the Way of Your Relationships

Relationships are at the heart of every effective ministry. Whether they are with your spouse, your family, your staff, your church, or your community, you can’t lead well without having good relationships.

But one thing that can damage your relationships is fear.

Here are three fears that can have a destructive impact on our relationships:

Fear of admitting our faults.

We often get defensive when it comes to our faults. No one likes to admit their weaknesses. Instead, we deny them and even defend them at times. Think about Adam and Eve’s responses in Genesis 3:12-13: “God asked, ‘Did you eat what I told you not to eat.’ Adam answered, ‘The woman you put here with me gave me the fruit and I ate it.’ She replied, ‘The snake tricked me into eating it.’” 

In those verses, we see two common reactions to dealing with failure. We accuse someone else, and then we excuse ourselves. 

Ask yourself this question: What fault do I get defensive about when it gets mentioned?

Continue Reading

Four Ways to Lead With Integrity

You don’t need to read much of the Bible to realize that God cares deeply about his reputation. 

For example, the Bible says in Ezekiel 20:44,Then you’ll know that I am the LORD, when I will have dealt with you for the benefit of my own reputation and not according to your evil attitudes or corrupt practices” (ISV).

But God doesn’t just care about his reputation. He cares about the church’s reputation, too. This is taught throughout Scripture. As Christians, we are “little Christs” who represent Jesus on earth. We can either bring him fame or shame. 

This is important for all believers, but it’s particularly crucial for those of us who lead. We must be people of integrity. The world is watching how we respond to the tests and trials in our lives. We either draw people to Jesus or repel them with our lack of integrity.

To have a ministry of integrity, make these four commitments:

Speak the truth plainly. 

The Bible tells us in James 5:12, “But most…

Continue Reading

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….

Continue Reading

What the Bible Says About the Doors in Your Life

A few years back, I spent most of the year studying the Bible’s use of the word “door.” The concept is found about 400 times in Scripture, often as a metaphor for opportunities in our lives. 

You may not realize all the doors you have before you right now. Doors can be entrances or exits. They can be a bridge to something great or a barrier. They can represent acceptance or rejection.

As I studied the concept of doors in the Bible, I made a list of over 50 lessons that God wants us to learn about the “doors” in front of us—and here are seven of those lessons:

Every door is a decision.

In the Bible, doors are metaphors for the choices we make every day. We discover early on in life that we can walk through some doors and not others. But we need to make a decision each time we see a door.

My destiny will be shaped by which doors I walk past and which doors I…

Continue Reading

4 Questions to Consider When Making Godly Decisions

As pastors, we’re often asked hard questions about how to make decisions. People will come to us and ask, “Can I be a good Christian and still do ___________?”

Sometimes the Bible is clear about how we should answer their questions. But many times, the issue is morally neutral—neither response is good nor bad.

So what do you do?

Here are four questions to consider when helping people make godly decisions.

Will the action be helpful?

Paul tells us that our freedom in Christ means everything is allowable, but he reminds us that not everything is beneficial. 

He writes, “‘Everything is permissible for me,’ but not everything is helpful.’ Everything is permissible for me,’ but I will not be brought under the control of anything” (1 Corinthians 6:12 HCSB).

In that one verse, Paul gives us two tests to guide our decisions:

  • Will it make me a better person? Many things are not necessarily wrong, but they’re just not necessary. Life is too short to waste on non-essentials,…

    Continue Reading

It’s Never Too Late for a Miracle

Every pastor needs hope. You can’t live without it. You can’t lead without it, either. And you definitely can’t just preach about hope. You need to embrace it personally.

Over the past year, you’ve likely needed to help many people in your community find hope during the pandemic. After a year of helping other people find hope in one of the most difficult seasons any of us have experienced, you may find yourself in need of hope.

So where do you find hope in the midst of pain?

You get it from the resurrection, the central event in all of history. 

Most people don’t understand hope. They think it’s just wishful thinking about the future or optimism. But hope isn’t based on what you think you can do. Hope is what you think God can do. It is based on reality. Hope says, “It’s bad; it’s really, really bad. In fact, I don’t think it’s been any worse than it is right now. But I believe God can bring us through this. I believe God is in control.”

Continue Reading

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…

Continue Reading

“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.


Continue Reading

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…

Continue Reading

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…

Continue Reading