Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Never Start a Ministry Without a Minister by Rick Warren

Saddleback didn’t have an organized youth ministry until we had 500 in attendance. We didn’t have a singles ministry until we had 1,000 people in attendance.

And I’m glad we didn’t.

It’s not because those ministries aren’t important. They’re vital! But God hadn’t provided anyone to lead them. Never create a ministry position and then fill it. It’s backwards. Your most critical component to a new ministry isn’t the idea to start it—it’s the leadership of the ministry. Every ministry rises and falls on leadership. Without the right leader, a ministry will just stumble along. It may even do more harm than good. I could tell you some horror stories about poorly-led ministries.

Be patient and trust God’s timing. Don’t try to outrun or outthink Him. The staff at Saddleback never starts new ministries. We may suggest an idea but we let the idea percolate until God provides the right person to lead it.

Don’t push people into ministry either. It’s not about you finding the right person to start your dream ministry. It’s about God raising up the right person. If you push people into ministry spots, you’ll be stuck with a motivation problem for the life of the ministry.

Most small churches get in a hurry and try to do too much. Pray and wait for God to bring you the person best shaped to lead it, then let them start the ministry. If there’s no interest in a particular ministry, don’t worry about it. It is so important for church leaders to have a long-term perspective concerning their church’s development.  Solid growth takes time.

Study the book of Acts and you’ll discover that any organization always followed what the Holy Spirit was doing first. Not once in Acts do you find people organizing a ministry and then praying, “Now God please bless our idea.”  God would begin moving in peoples’ hearts, a ministry would spontaneously spring up in a small way, and, as it grew larger, they would add some structure to it.

Follow the model of the early church!

Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

My Election 2012 Experience

It’s 10:30 AM on Wednesday, November 7, 2012 and I still don’t know the results of yesterday’s national elections. I have purposely reclused myself with the intent of blogging on a most unusual community outreach ministry experience yesterday.

Earlier this year the Lord began to urge me to get involved in local politics on behalf of the GOP. Knowing that 2012 elections would be pivotal for our country I decided to attend the Senate District 36 Republican caucus in February. That night I signed up to become an election judge, thinking that it would be interesting and informative.
After completing the obligatory election judge training and attending rallies for different candidates during the summer, I spent part of two days last week at the phone bank calling registered republicans encouraging them to “get out the vote”.  The whole process was very energizing. Now I was finally part of the solution.
What I saw as an opportunity to make a difference in America’s future, turned out to be a most revealing experience for me of the depth of God’s love for all people.

Yesterday afternoon I reported to my assigned polling place in Brooklyn Park. For six hours I sat with people and registered them to vote. Many were voting for the first time. I could tell that their lives and political views were totally different than mine. Most of them, I am sure, were voting for a candidate whose political ideology I do not agree with.

In the midst of the experience I was overwhelmed with a love for people that I have never experienced before. I saw that God’s arms envelope everyone; Democrat, Republican and Independent.  When I arrived home last night I was physically exhausted but revitalized with a vision to reach out to those in my community.  

Eventually I’ll hear what happened in the races for local, state and national office, but until then this 'fasting' experience has been most calming.

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