Leadership Lessons: Rick Warren

rick-warren-smile-2_miniTen years ago at the National Pastors Convention, I attended a session led by Rick Warren of Saddleback Church entitled, “For Leaders Under Age 35: What I Know Now That I Wish I Had Known Then.” I took pages of notes and recently re-discovered them when I was cleaning out my files. Here are some of Warren’s timeless nuggets of wisdom from that session.

  • “God wants you to love real people, not ideal people.”
  • “God often blesses people I disagree with.”
  • “The only way to be continually relevant is to be eternal.”
  • “Be a proponent of the new, not an opponent of the old.”
  • On Saddleback’s growth: “When you’re little, they ignore you; when you’re growing, they criticize you; when you’re big, they resent you.”
  • “There’s a difference between two visions and two ideas.”
  • “Failure leads to experience which leads to skill.”
  • “Geography is more important than generation in determining culture.”
  • “God has uniquely shaped you to reach a certain kind of people.”
  • “The average pastor leaves a church because of eight critics.”
  • “A lot of churches would rather be cutting edge than effective.”
  • “You must continually change your structure. Structure keeps more churches from growing past 300. The skills that will take a church past 150 will kill it at 1,000.”
  • “There is no correlation between size and strength of a church.”
  • “If a church is healthy, you can’t keep it from growing.”
  • “God blesses the church that cares about other churches.”
  • “Excellence is often an idol. It doesn’t have to be perfect for God to use it.”
  • “What attracts people to a church is not drama, music, preaching, artsy stuff. What attracts people to a church is changed lives.”
  • “The future is not a denomination, it’s a network.”
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