I believe what you do is absolutely essential. You are on the frontlines of what is proving to be a brand new reformation of the Church.
I come from a long line of pastors. My great-grandfather was converted through Charles Spurgeon's historic ministry in London and came to the United States as a pioneer circuit-riding pastor.
Both my father and my father-in-law were pastors and spent more than 50 years in ministry. My sister is married to a pastor, and I spent part of my childhood growing up on a seminary campus where my father served on staff. So I have a deep love for pastors. I love being around them. I hurt with them when they hurt. I believe they are the most underrated leaders in our society.
My greatest admiration is for the thousands of you who are bi-vocational pastors and support yourself with a second job in order to shepherd churches that are too small to provide a full-time salary. You are the heroes of the faith, in my view. You will get the highest honors in heaven. I feel obligated to help you in any way I can.
Because I believe in the urgency of what God is doing in the world through you, my fellow local church pastors, I'm now offering free sermons to anyone who wants to use them. For years, I've tried to help other pastors by making the materials I've created available everywhere. Now I want to be even more helpful to your ministry by giving you a sermon on a regular basis for free. These sermons will be available as PDF files for download on Pastors.com. Check back often, because this list will be updated frequently.
I pray that these messages will help you prepare life-changing messages in your own church context. Feel free to use as much or as little as you want. They are a gift to you.
I believe what you do is absolutely essential. You are on the frontlines of what is proving to be a brand new reformation of the Church. It's through your leadership that churches will learn to tackle the global giants oppressing billions around the world, such as spiritual lostness, egocentric leadership, poverty, disease, and ignorance. I'm willing to do whatever it takes to help you do this. That's why Im offering these sermons.
It is both a great privilege and an awesome responsibility to be a pastor of a local church. If I didn't believe pastors have the best chance of making a difference in our world, I'd be doing something else. I have no intention of wasting my life.
Today, the pastoral ministry is a hundred times more complex than it was just a generation ago. Even in the best circumstances, ministry is incredibly difficult. But there are also many more resources to help you if you avail yourself of them. It's up to you to take advantage of them.
I believe we are standing on the footsteps of history. God is doing something new in the Church. Let's work together and be a part of what he is doing.
Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America's largest and best-known churches. In addition, Rick is author of the New York Times bestseller The Purpose-Driven Life and The Purpose-Driven Church, which was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th Century. He is also founder of Pastors.com, a global Internet community for ministers. Copyright 2005 Pastors.com, Inc. Used with permission. All rights reserved.
Adapted from Rick Warren's Ministry ToolBox, a free weekly e-newsletter for pastors and church leaders, available at Pastors.com.