Friday, May 27, 2005

Article by Rick Warren

What a purpose driven church is not
by Rick Warren

Learning about Purpose Driven
More than 3,600 pastors and church leaders crowd into Saddleback's worship center and three other satellite venues on campus to learn from Pastor Rick Warren just what it means to be a Purpose Driven church at this year's Purpose Driven Church Conference. Photo by Craig Pulsifer

We devote a great deal of time and effort to helping people understand the biblical vision of the purpose driven church, but some myths seem determined to persist. As you lead your church into greater health and effectiveness, you're going to encounter these myths.

Let me spell out seven things a purpose driven church is not ...

It's not about being contemporary
Being Purpose Driven is not about trying to be contemporary. It is about being biblical. The five purposes of the church commanded by Jesus in the Great Commandment and Great Commission never go out of style. They are not a fad. They are eternally relevant. Any church that fails to fulfill the five purposes Jesus established for his people is not really a church!

It's not about your evangelistic target
There are now hundreds of thousands of Purpose Driven churches around the world focusing on reaching thousands of different people groups. There are PDCs for every age group: Builders, Boomers, GenXers, and Millennials. There are thousands of PDCs reaching every possible lifestyle group: cowboys, bikers, professionals, singles, artists, surfers, academics, Amazon boat people, pre-moderns, moderns, post-moderns, and someday intergalactic aliens! There are PDCs in over a hundred languages and dialects.

'Leaders are learners.' - Rick Warren
A group of pastors listen intently to Rick Warren as he shares Purpose Driven principles during this year's PDC Conference at Saddleback Church. Photo by Craig Pulsifer
It's not about being 'seeker sensitive'
Purpose Driven churches are committed to the purpose of evangelism (one of the five New Testament purposes), not any particular method of evangelism. Thousands of Purpose Driven churches do not have an evangelistic seeker service. They do evangelism in many different formats.

It's not about your worship style
Purpose Driven churches affirm variety in worship -- as long as it is offered to God "in spirit and truth" (authentically and accurately). Purpose Driven churches worship God in thousands of styles -- liturgical, charismatic, traditional, contemporary, country, multi-sensory, casual, and many others. What matters is that your worship style matches the people you are seeking to reach and mature in your ministry area.

It's not about the size of your church
Purpose Driven churches come in all sizes and shapes. The Purpose Driven strategy focuses on balance, health and strength, not size or shape. There is no correlation between the size and strength of a church. Purpose Driven is a church health strategy, not a mega-church strategy.

It's not about your location
Purpose Driven churches are now found all around the world -- in huge cities, towns, villages, and open space. In fact, there are now probably more Purpose Driven churches outside of the United States than within. Purpose Driven is not an American strategy -- it is a biblical strategy, and anything that is biblical will work anywhere!

It's not a denomination
There are Purpose Driven churches in over 200 different denominations and associations. We work with denominations to strengthen their churches. We encourage every church to maintain its own heritage and doctrinal convictions while we cooperate together on what every church is called to do -- the five biblical purposes of worship, fellowship, discipleship, ministry, and evangelism. Everybody agrees on that!

Until next week,

Rick Warren

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Help for Men

I saw this and I hope it is a great help to you guys in understanding what your woman means when she says certain things.

1. FINE - This is the word a woman uses at the end of any argument that she feels she is right about but needs to shut you up. NEVER use fine to describe how a woman looks. This will cause you to have one of those arguments.

2. FIVE MINUTES - This is half an hour. It is equivalent to the five minutes that your football/hockey or whatever game is going to last before you take out the trash, so she feels that it's an even trade.

3. NOTHING - This means something and you should be on your toes. "Nothing" is usually used to describe the feeling a woman has of wanting to turn you inside out, upside down, and backwards. "Nothing" usually signifies an argument that will last "Five Minutes" and end with the word "Fine".

4. GO AHEAD (w/ Raised Eyebrows) - This is a dare. One that will result in a woman getting upset over "Nothing" and eventually causes an argument that will last "Five Minutes" and end with the word "Fine".

5. GO AHEAD (w/out raised eyebrows) - This means "I give up. Do what you want because I don't care." You will, however, get a Raised Eyebrow "Go Ahead" in just a few minutes, followed by "Nothing", and a "Five Minute" argument ending with "Fine".

6. LOUD SIGH - Not actually a word of course but often a verbal cue misunderstood by men. The "Loud Sigh" means she thinks you're an idiot and wonders why she is wasting her time standing there having a "Five Minute" argument with you over "Nothing".

7. SOFT SIGH - One of the few sounds that some men actually understand. She is content. Your best bet is not to move or breathe. Just stay clear.

8. THAT'S OKAY - This is one of the most dangerous statements that a woman can say to a man. It means she needs to think long and hard about the severe retributions you will receive for doing whatever it is you have done or not doing whatever it is you haven't done. If you respond to "That's Okay" you will invariably get "Fine" in conjunction with the Raised Eyebrow "Go Ahead". This is one of those things that she will remember forever and will come back to haunt you in every "Five Minute" argument you have with her until death do you part.

9. PLEASE DO - This is an offer. She is giving you the chance to come up with whatever excuse or reason you have for doing whatever you have done or not doing whatever it is you have not done. Do not take her up on her offer. Remain silent at all costs. She is currently only skeptical. Say anything and you're sure to get a "That's Okay".

10. THANKS - This is ok. A woman is just plain thanking you. Do not faint, just say, you're welcome.

11. THANKS A LOT - This is different from "Thanks". It is only used when you have hurt her in that very callous way in which women can only be hurt by men they love. "Thanks A Lot" is almost invariably followed by the "Loud Sigh". Do not ask what is wrong after this. She will say "Nothing".

Friday, May 20, 2005 | Encouraging pastors and church leaders

I believe that Leadership is the biggest need in the church today. | Encouraging pastors and church leaders

A philosophy of leadership
by Rick Warren

When you become a pastor, you become a leader. I'm often asked specifics about my administrative style, but I think it's more important to understand some basic concepts about leadership:

1. Nothing happens until someone provides leadership for it
This is a law of life. For instance, the Civil Rights movement made little progress until a man came along named Martin Luther King Jr., who said, "I have a dream." The NASA space program was quite limited until John Kennedy said, "We're going to put a man on the moon by the end of the decade."

Saddleback Church started because God said, "Rick, I want you to be a leader and get the thing off the ground." When problems arise in your own family, nothing happens until somebody assumes leadership and says, "We're going to do something about it."

Everything rises or falls on leadership, and most problems can be traced to a lack of competent leadership. I believe one of the greatest problems today is a leadership shortage within our churches.

2. Leadership is influence
If I had to summarize leadership in one word it would be influence -- for good or for bad.

Have you ever watched a playground at school? Within about five minutes you can usually determine who the leaders are -- and whether they're good leaders or bad.

Have you ever been with a group of teenagers and within five minutes you know who the leaders are?

What about a committee meeting, as you figure out the chairman is not really the leader?

Every time you influence somebody, you're assuming leadership. In 1 Timothy 4:12 (paraphrase), Paul told Timothy, "As a young man, be an example in leadership." Age has nothing to do with leadership. You can be an influence at any age, and you're a role model whether you like it or not.

3. The test of leadership is "Is anybody following?"
If you want to know whether you're a leader or not, simply look over your shoulder.

My friend John Maxwell says, "He who thinketh he leadeth and hath no one following him is only taking a walk."

If you have to remind people that you're the leader, then you're not. The Sunday I stand up at Saddleback and say, "Folks, we're going to do it my way because I am the leader" -- that's the Sunday I've ceased to be the leader.

You don't have to remind people. Leadership is influence and if you're not influencing anybody, it doesn't matter if you think you're the leader -- you're not.

4. The foundation of leadership is character, not charisma
You may have enough charisma to be a TV evangelist, but if you have no character, you bomb. The foundation of leadership is character, not charisma. In fact, you don't have to have charisma to be a leader, but you do have to have character. This kind of credibility is essential because without it, no one will follow you.

5. Leadership can be learned
Everyone can be a great leader. Philippians 4:9 (NIV) says, "Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me -- put into practice." Contrary to conventional wisdom, leaders are made, not born. There is no such thing as a born leader. Leaders are made by the way they respond to circumstances. The priority of training leaders can be seen in the ministry of Jesus. Mark 3:14 (NIV) says, "He appointed twelve -- designating them apostles -- that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach."

Jesus had a public ministry and a private ministry. His public ministry involved preaching, teaching and healing. His private ministry involved training the disciples.

Even within the twelve, he had an inner circle -- Peter, James, John -- who got to go to the Garden of Gethsemane and the Mount of Transfiguration. They got extra attention. In Galatians, Paul said Peter, James, and John were the pillars of the church. Jesus invested the maximum time with those who would bear the maximum responsibility. He fed the masses, but he spent most of his time training leadership, and that's one reason why I believe leadership can be learned.

6. The moment you stop learning, you stop leading
All leaders MUST be learners. The moment you stop learning is the moment you stop leading. The moment I, as a pastor, stop growing, then I believe Saddleback Church will stop growing. You must always be developing and growing and becoming what God wants you to be. Learning to be a leader takes a lifetime.

Until next week,

(Article by Rick Warren
Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America's largest and best-known churches. In addition, Rick is author of the New York Times bestseller The Purpose-Driven Life and The Purpose-Driven Church, which was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th Century. He is also founder of, a global Internet community for ministers. Copyright 2005, Inc. Used with permission. All rights reserved.)

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Good Article on Transitioning a Church

Transitioning: Growing into the church you want to be
by Dan Southerland

Around the world, churches are in need of transition. The 21st century is presenting church leaders with new challenges and new opportunities. It appears that God is doing something fresh and new in his church. At least four movements of God are sweeping through the Body of Christ:

The small-group movement started in the Korean churches during the 1950s. Cells of various forms are present in almost all of the largest and fastest-growing churches in the world today.

The contemporary music movement began in the 1960s at Calvary Chapel in Costa Mesa, Calif. Many churches throughout the world today are embracing a style of music that is culturally relevant to their setting.

The seeker movement was birthed in the Willowcreek Community Church of Chicago. The idea of doing church for the unchurched is rapidly changing the philosophy of many church leaders.

The purpose driven church movement originated at the Saddleback Church of Lake Forest, Calif. Rick Warren has given the world a new blueprint for how to do church (For more information, read The Purpose-Driven Church or go to

These four major movements and many other smaller ones are causing church leaders to evaluate the need for change in their own congregations. Many are frustrated by the lack of growth. Others simply want to get in on what God is doing.

The central question is this: How can we lead the transition from the church we are to the church we want to be?

The Book of Nehemiah offers an eight-step process for leading change in the church. The process was first implemented at the Flamingo Road Church of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and it’s being followed today by thousands of church leaders around the world. If you’re looking for a road map for transition, try these eight steps.

Step 1: Prepare for Change
Most church leaders are so desperate for change that they simply plunge in without giving any thought to preparation. The results can be disastrous.

There are five parts to preparation:
Information gathering - You need to go to school on the unchurched people in your community. To reach them, you must know them. You also want to study the churches in your community that are reaching unchurched people.

A holy discontent - Nothing changes until someone is dissatisfied. God usually gives us vision when we are desperate for it.

Fasting - This is the most serious form of prayer. Yet many church leaders spend more time each year going to conferences to hear from other men than they do fasting to hear from God.

Prayer - Nehemiah prayed for "some days" before he began making his transition (Nehemiah 1:5-11). If you do not bathe your transitions in prayer, they’re doomed from the start.

Waiting - You must wait on God. God’s will is doing the right thing in the right way for the right motive at the right time.

Step 2: Define Your Vision
Before you can know which changes are necessary, you must answer three questions related to your vision:

What is our purpose?
This question deals with what God wants the church to do. Every church is driven by something, but until you’re driven by purpose, you do not know which changes to make.

Who is our target?
In Acts 1:8, Jesus taught his disciples that they were to begin in Jerusalem. This question identifies who your immediate community is. Every person in your community is on your target, but who is at the center of the bull’s-eye?

What is our strategy?
This question deals with the methods you’ll use to accomplish your purpose. A strategy that is process-driven rather than event-driven is best.

Step 3: Plant the Vision
Next you need to plant your vision with key church leaders. Before changes can be presented to the church, they must be shared with three key groups of leaders:

The power brokers - These are the opinion-makers in your church, the people of influence. When they speak, others listen.

The doers - These people will provide the needed resources of time, talent, and treasure that are necessary to make the changes happen.

The vision team - This is a small group of people who help the pastor dream the dream and define and implement the needed changes.

Step 4: Share the Vision
It is now time to share the coming changes with the remaining leaders and with the entire church. Since vision is both caught and taught, it’s best to communicate the vision in multiple ways. They include preaching, small-group studies, purpose statements, vision phrases, vision verses, tapes and books, conferences, testimonies, one-on-one encounters, and demonstrating the vision in your own life.

Step 5: Implement Change
After thorough preparation it’s time to start making changes. At this point there are four principles to be followed:

Implement the changes one at a time - No church deals well with multiple transitions occurring all at once.

Set up a strategic order for making changes - It’s usually best to make alterations in purpose first, target second, and strategy third. If you change your strategy without defining your purpose and target, the process is likely to fail.

Put lay leaders in the forefront of change - Let them lead the charge whenever possible.

Put people to work wherever they are vested - When they’re working on a piece of the vision that they own, and when the changes will benefit their families, they’ll put their all into it.

Step 6: Deal With Opposition
Anyone who attempts to do anything for God encounters opposition. Those who are courageous enough to lead change in a church certainly will. Nehemiah had a twofold plan for dealing with it:

Expect opposition (Nehemiah 4:1-8) - The greatest difficulty with negativity is that it discourages you and causes you to doubt your vision. Nehemiah experienced apathy, anger, ridicule, criticism, and even a fight! We must expect the same.

Keep on track (Nehemiah 4:16) - Opposition distracts you from your vision and shifts your attention from those you can lead to those you cannot. You need to keep on leading, working, praying, encouraging, and watching over the church.

Step 7: Make Adjustments
In the course of any long journey, there are always detours, barriers, and surprises. In the process of leading change, we must learn as we go and make the needed adjustments. Nehemiah made three course corrections:

Care for the neglected (Nehemiah 5:13) - During any type of change, there will be some who feel left out or overlooked. We need to demonstrate our care for them.

Be prepared to negotiate peace (Nehemiah 5:9) - Change often brings conflict. Leaders must be ready to negotiate between those who like the changes and those who don’t, between those who are involved and those who aren’t, and between old-guard leaders who tend to resist change and new-guard leaders who tend to support it.

Stay among your people (Nehemiah 5:16) - When church members sense that their leader is one of them, they tend to follow. That means we need to be aware of the things that tend to separate us from our people. Ivory-tower leadership is not nearly as effective as leadership from within.

Step 8: Evaluate the Results
The last eight chapters of Nehemiah describe eight specific results of vision. When we lead change well, these results should be present:

Completion of the transition - God is a finisher. We must finish the changes we begin.

Obvious demonstration of God’s work - It will be so obvious that God is at work that only he can get the credit.

Continued opposition and criticism - It never stops.

Emergence of new leaders - When the right changes are made, new leaders step forward.

Major contributions by the people - People give to vision. Churches do not have financial problems; they have vision problems.

Renewed commitment to worship and obedience - The right changes will produce a new depth in the church.

New people joining in - A new vision will draw new people.

Openness to further change - When we lead a transition well, people will be more open to transition in the future.

It takes great courage to lead a church in change. May the fear of missing out on what God wants to do in our churches be even stronger in us than the fear of failure.


Article by Dan Southerland
Church Transitions Inc.
Following 13 successful years as the lead pastor/teacher of Flamingo Road Church, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Dan Southerland started Church Transitions Inc., an organization that trains pastors and church leaders to effectively manage major transitions. Dan has trained over 70,000 pastors and church leaders in the past five years, and he is the leading expert on implementing the purpose driven paradigm in existing churches. Dan and his wife, Mary, have two children, Jered and Danna.