“We need a radical change in the typical twenty-first-century pastor’s church-leadership paradigm . . . Pastoral ministry certainly includes the central responsibilities of teaching and preaching the Bible, but far too many pastors stop there. Leading a church in today’s and tomorrow’s world involves training leaders who will develop other leaders to carry the ministry torch to the third and fourth generations.”
– Aubrey Malphurs, & Will Mancini, Building Leaders:
Blueprints for Developing Leadership at Every Level in Your Church
Ten 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.”
“Once you have an inner knowledge of your true vocation, you have a point of orientation. That will help you decide what to do and what to let go of, what to say and what to remain silent about, when to go out and when to stay home, who to be with and who to avoid.
“When you get exhausted, frustrated, overwhelmed, or run down your body is saying that you are doing things that are none of your business. . . .Your way of being present to your community may require times of absence, prayer, writing, or solitude. . . .When it is part of your vocation to offer your people a vision that will nurture them and allow them to keep moving forward, it is crucial that you give yourself the time and space to let that vision mature in you and become an integral part of your being.”
– Henri Nouwen, “The Inner Voice of Love”
“For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the greatness of his government and peace
there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty
will accomplish this.”
– Isaiah 9:6-7