Seven Pointers for Perseverance

May 05, 2003 03:38 PM EDT

SAN DIEGO – More than 70 members of the Baptist Communicators Association gathered for the annual workshop in San Diego, April 24. Rick Warren, pastor and author welcomed the members with 7 pointers for perseverance in Christian ministry.

"As communicators, we learned a long time ago that God loves us, but everybody else has a plan for our lives," Warren said.

Warren is the pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif. and author of the best-selling book, "The Purpose-Driven Life."

"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."

In facing criticism, Warren suggested treating “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."

The seven principles Warren suggested were:

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."

In an April 26 workshop following the event, Warren outlined the five purposes for life as worship, fellowship, discipleship, ministry and mission. He also talked about the upcoming "40 Days of Purpose" campaign this fall in more than 1,300 churches across the nation.

By Pauline J.