12 Random Things I Learned from My Time with Rick Warren

I had an awesome opportunity a few weeks ago to spend a couple hours with Rick Warren and a dozen or so other pastors. Rick was in town to speak to a conference and Ed Stetzer arranged for him to meet with us. Obviously, this man is a mega-influencer just because of the book, the publicity he has received, and the impact he has in the church world and society. He is becoming a statesman for the church around the world.

It was a humbling experience. I didn’t choose the seat of honor (I promise), but I ended up sitting next to him in the meeting. Rick talked randomly and conversationally with us and I took notes as fast as I could. There are so many principles I took from our time, but here are 12 random things I gleaned from him: (Some are quotes…I put them in quotation marks…some are random points of information I heard from Rick’s talk.)

“We need to be reproducing churches. We need to reward multiplication of churches, not size of churches.”

“The model of Saddleback is to take people from “come and see” to “come and die”…as Jesus modeled.”

“You only listen to people you like. Be likable.”

Rick has the gift of faith. He sees things God wants to do that others can’t and has faith that it can happen. (That’s what leaders do!)

Until a few years ago, Rick read a book a day. He is a consummate learner.

Rick Warren is passionate about equipping pastors and leaders for the next generation and wants to spend the rest of his life equipping pastors.

“The ministry is not hills and valleys, but like a railroad passing through two extremes all the time.”

When he wrote “Purpose Driven Life” God told him “It’s not about you”. He never knew how many times he would be tested by that word from God.

Rick’s prayer every Saturday and Sunday before he preaches is, “Remind me that I belong to you…not this church…and this church does not belong to me”

“Jesus hung out with lepers…today that would be people with full blown AIDS”

“If you want your ministry to last, pastors need integrity, humility, and generosity.”

“Satan tempts us to use the strengths and gifts we have in a way that gives us glory instead of God.”

I realize Rick has his critics. Honestly, until you’ve sat where I sit and had a chance to hear his heart, I wouldn’t judge his ministry. He has some incredible plans for the next phase of his ministry and the influence of Saddleback Church in the years to come. I left more impressed than before I arrived. He’s the real deal.

Has the ministry of Rick Warren had an impact on you, your ministry or church?

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Ron Edmondson

Author Ron Edmondson

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Join the discussion 11 Comments

  • Jason says:

    A few weeks ago I did a blog entry about one of his sermons and he sent me a personal note about what I had written. It completely blew me away that Rick Warren would take the time to not only watch what I had done but then send me a personal note about it. I mean, this is Rick freaking Warren. He took the time to message me? I felt incredibly unworthy of it. But it showed me the man's heart. He's the real deal. He cares about everyone. There's no fake image, there's no scanning the polls to see what he needs to say and when.

  • I'll be honest I've only read Purpose Driven Life, and that was when it came out. It had a pretty big impact on me at the time but beyond that, I only know of Rick from the negativity I hear from other people. I started following him a few months ago on Twitter and he tweets some awesome stuff. His heart definitely comes across in 140 or less.

    I love these insights that you captured. I'll continue to pray for him and all the leaders in the body of Christ (you included Ron!).

  • bryan a says:

    Thanks Ron, great thoughts. So encouraging that Rick has not allowed the success of his church or his writing to bring him ruin. Testament to being humble and trusting God.

  • Jonathan says:

    PDL is one of my most 'marked up' and 'highlighted' books. I still refer to it often.

    Ron, thanks for sharing your experiences with the rest of us!

  • Ken Hitte says:

    Wow … I am sooooooo blessed by this … Loved it … Heard RW 2 yrs ago in Orlando. He IS the real deal. Thanks for sharing!

  • @mholloway49 says:

    Of course The Purpose Driven Life was a great read and had an impact. I enjoy following him on Twitter and his daily devotional writings are great. I appreciate the way you said not to judge the ministry until you've had a chance to sit with him. In today's digital world, it is easy to fool ourselves into thinking we know a person merely by reading what they write. While that may give us some real insight, the true person still remains part mystery.

    Since we can't all have the privilege, thanks for the recap.

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