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Rick Warren: Pastors Who Lead the Way


Rick Warren in 2004.

Rick Warren, “Pastors Who Lead the Way” Enrichment 9:1 (Winter 2004).

“The good news is that while we may never achieve excellence in administration, we can learn to lead the way.”

In this article, Rick Warren states that he knows his leadership style. He is the big picture, vision-casting leader. Details do not appeal to him so he surrounds himself with staff and volunteers who gifts will compliment his giftings.

He reminds the reader that there is nothing wrong with being a vision-casting leader. What the leader needs to do is recruit team members that will enhance and supplement the leader’s style.

“There is tremendous power in cooperation. We do our best work when, instead of jockeying for position or trying to build a base of power, we work together—building on each other’s strengths and shoring up each other’s weaknesses.

“The good news is that while we may never achieve excellence in administration, we can learn to lead the way.”

He discusses six principles on how a pastor is to lead. The first is “What a Biblical Leader is Not.” He quotes from Luke 22:24-27 where the disciples are discussing who is the greatest among themselves. The temptation to controlling, demanding, and throwing our weight around grieves the heart of Jesus the example of a Servant-leader. Rick Warren states, “I think of it this way: You need to decide in life whether you want to influence or impress people. You can impress people from a distance, but you can only influence them close up.”

He uses Nehemiah as an example prayer from a leader’s heart in Nehemiah 1.

Secondly, “Must a Pastor Lead?” He quotes from Ephesians 4:11-12 and states that by definition the pastor is a leader. Then he refers to Jesus statement to Peter in John 21:17, “Do you love me? … Feed My sheep” that a pastor must show love and care for his people.

Love being introduced into the picture you will not feel coerced into leadership but rather do what we gifted to do and lead willingly. Leadership is guiding and being an example rather than controlling and being a boss.

Third, Rick Warren discusses, “Can leadership be earned?” “We may know our gifts are clustered in the areas of preaching and teaching, not administration.”

Even though we may not achieve in excellence in administration we can still be effective leaders. He says that we need to practice habits and that habits can be learned. This will enhance effectiveness in the pulpit, in staff meetings, and in interactions with the church board.

“Leading with limited resources” is the fourth principle that he deals with in this article. Rick recognized the need for administrative leadership at Saddleback. The church was in the position in which they were able to hire someone for this position.

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Category: Ministry, Summer 2004

About the Author: Carl J. Halquist went home to be with his Lord on April 7, 2021. Retired in 2014, most recently he had served as the Senior and Visitation Pastor at Trinity Assembly of God in Mt. Morris, Michigan. In full-time ministry since 1964, Pastor Carl served Assemblies of God churches in California, Indiana, and Michigan and served as a Sectional Presbyter for the Assemblies of God, Michigan District for 5 years.

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