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7 keys to Paul’s ministry recapped by Rick Warren

FORT WORTH, Texas (BP)–To Rick Warren, “Ministry is a marathon.”
The pastor of 13,000-member Saddleback Valley Community Church in Lake Forest, Calif., noted, “It’s not how you start in ministry, it’s how you finish” during a chapel address at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas.
Warren, using 2 Corinthians 4:1-18, gave seven secrets to Paul’s ministry to explain “How Not to Perish in the Parish” in his April 23 message.
1) (v. 1) Remember God’s mercy. “God has given us our ministries,” Warren said. “We don’t have to prove our worth through our ministry and we don’t have to wallow in our mistakes. You do not have to earn our place as a pastor or leader in the church.”
2) (v. 2) Heed the warning for Christians not to distort the Word of God and to be truthful and honest in all they do. “Maintain your integrity,” Warren said, “because integrity produces power in your life, while guilt zaps your energy. You need to finish with your character intact.”
3) (v. 5) Be motivated to work for Jesus’ sake, not out of selfish desires. “We need a right motivation. A lot of guys start off as servants and end up celebrities,” Warren said. “You need to learn to live your life for an audience of one — Jesus Christ.”
4) (v. 7) Realize that Christians are only human. “We must accept our limitations, and the quickest way to burn out is to try to be Superman,” Warren said. “Humility is being honest about our weaknesses.”
5) (v. 15) Develop a true love for others. “Churches thrive, grow and survive when love endures,” Warren said. “You must love people or you won’t last in the ministry. Churches love and grow because people without Jesus die and go to hell.”
6) (v. 16) Allow time for inward rejuvenation. “Divert daily, withdraw weekly and abandon annually,” Warren advised. “Take time for recharging. Like the Air Force, we need to learn the art of mid-flight refueling. You don’t have to land every time you need refueling.”
7) (v. 17-18) Stay focused on the important things, not distracted by momentary troubles. “Keep your eyes on the goal, not the problem. Only he who sees the invisible can accomplish the impossible,” Warren said.
To be a winner in the marathon of ministerial service, Christians need to realize “great people are just ordinary people with an extraordinary amount of determination,” Warren said. “If we run from problems, we’ll never be able to become what God wants us to be.”

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  • Bob Griner