SAN DIEGO (BP)–Rick Warren welcomed more than 70 members of the Baptist Communicators Association April 24 during the group’s opening session of its annual workshop in San Diego. Warren is pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., and author of the best-selling book, “The Purpose-Driven Life.”
“As communicators, we learned a long time ago that God loves us, but everybody else has a plan for our lives,” Warren said.
He outlined seven ways Christians can last in the ministry. “Jesus was stress-resistant because He knew who He was,” Warren said. “If you don’t know who you are, someone will pressure you to be something you’re not.”
Warren said everyone faces criticism from someone, but what they do with it is what matters. “Treat criticism like praise — chew on it a while and spit it out. Don’t pay attention to the cheers or the jeers in the stands. God is my judge, not others.”
Warren’s seven principles of how to last in the ministry:
1. Identification — “Know who I am,” he said. “Write down your strengths and be honest about your weaknesses.”
2. Motivation — “I must know who I am trying to please. Ask yourself: ‘Why do I do what I do?’ Continually consider this. The ‘why’ always determines the ‘how long.'”
3. Prioritization — “I must know my purpose. What does your schedule reveal about your priorities, and how can you change one thing to reflect more of God’s purpose?”
4. Education — “I must never stop learning. Growing ministries require growing ministers,” he said. “Ecclesiastes 10:10 says, ‘… skill will bring success.’ Not dedication. If you go pick cotton with a tomato picker, no matter how much you pray, it won’t work.”
5. Meditation — “I must get alone with God often. If I don’t, I can become like a poor photo — overexposed and underdeveloped.”
6. Relaxation — “I must take time off to enjoy life. Jesus went to the desert. I use this as a biblical example for a Palm Springs vacation,” Warren laughed. “Matthew 11:10 says, ‘Jesus came enjoying life.’ If you don’t take time to come apart, you will come apart. Rest is so important that God put it in the top 10 — take a sabbath.”
7. Concentration — “I must focus my life. We think, ‘I’ve got to do this or I have to do that.’ No, we don’t. We can get so many irons in the fire that the fire goes out. The more focused I am, the more effective I will be. I have just enough time to do God’s will. Figure out what God’s will is and do that and don’t worry about the rest.”
As part of the BCA workshop, about 30 members visited Saddleback Church April 26. Warren addressed the group again, and praise and worship leader Rick Muchow, a band and some choir members participated in the session. Warren outlined the five purposes for life — worship, fellowship, discipleship, ministry and mission — reflected in his book and talked about the upcoming “40 Days of Purpose” campaign this fall in more than 1,300 churches across the nation.
The group also toured the Saddleback Church grounds and attended a Saturday evening worship service.