Rick Warren: 3 Commitments Every Spiritual Leader Must Make

Rick Warren (Charisma Leader archives)

Leaders are defined by their commitments—nonnegotiables they must keep in order to lead effectively and biblically in a ministry setting. Such commitments aren't standards that other people set for them. In fact, great leaders often expect more from themselves than they do from their followers.

Six times in the New Testament, the Bible says to "make every effort." I believe if you make personal vows to live out these commitments, you will become an increasingly effective and productive leader.

There are a total of six vows. I'll share three this week and three more in my next "Ministry Toolbox" article.

  1. As a leader, I vow to maintain my integrity. "Make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with [God]" (2 Pet. 3:14, NIV). You don't need to be perfect to be an effective leader, but you do need to be transparent about your weaknesses. The Bible says hiding your sins leads to failure, "but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy" (Prov.28:13).

    A person of integrity doesn't claim to have it all together in every area. On the contrary, a person of integrity says, "This is where I'm confident in my abilities, and this is where I'm not." When you have integrity, you live out what you say you believe. You don't just teach truth; you model it too.

If you're going to lead, people must trust you. All leadership is built on trust, which stems from having a reputation for telling the truth.

  1. As a leader, I vow to forgive those who have hurt me. "Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many" (Heb. 12:14-15). You will be hurt in ministry, both intentionally and unintentionally. That's a guarantee.

Get Spirit-filled content delivered right to your inbox! Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.

Pioneers always get the arrows!

That's why bitterness wreaks havoc on many ministry leaders. If you allow bitterness to "grow up" in your life, it will choke your heart for God—and it'll choke your love for people until your heart shrivels.

Without making this vow, you'll be tempted to retaliate when you're maligned in ministry. You can't get away with that and still be a leader. Spiritual leadership requires forgiveness.

Even Jesus, who was a perfect leader, was betrayed. It's not always your fault, but it will be your fault if you carry bitterness in your heart, as it will keep you from being the leader God wants you to be.

  1. As a leader, I vow to relax and trust God. "Anyone who enters God's rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter [God's] rest" (Heb. 4:10-11). You'll need to learn what I call "relaxed concern" to be effective in ministry. You must be concerned about the needs of the people around you, but also remember you're not God. You cannot bear everybody's burden all the time.

    God is in control. Ultimately, it's his responsibility to make your ministry grow. Your job is to be faithful, so let God be God.

    How do you trust God more in your ministry so stress doesn't overwhelm you? You pray more. You meditate on God's promises and remember his track record of faithfulness in your life.

    And don't forget to laugh more. I've found that humor is a tremendous stress reliever in ministry.

These commitments will be a source of great strength in your ministry. Next time, I'll share three more vows every ministry leader needs to make and keep.

Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church, one of America's largest and most influential churches. He is the author of the New York Times' bestseller The Purpose Driven Life. His book, The Purpose Driven Church, was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. Pastor Rick started The PEACE Plan to show the local church how God works through ordinary people to address the five global giants of spiritual emptiness, self-serving leadership, poverty, disease, and illiteracy. You can listen to Daily Hope, Pastor Rick's daily 25-minute audio teaching, or sign up for his free daily devotionals at PastorRick.com. He is also the founder of Pastors.com, a global online community created to encourage pastors.

For the original article, visit pastors.com.

Get Spirit-filled content delivered right to your inbox! Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.

Dr. Steve Greene is now sharing stories, teachings, and conversations with guests who lead with love on Love Leads, a new podcast. Listen now.


Help Charisma stay strong for years to come as we report on life in the Spirit. Become an integral part of Charisma’s work by joining Charisma Media Partners. Click here to keep us strong!

Dr. Mark Rutland's

National Institute of Christian Leadership (NICL)

The NICL is one of the top leadership training programs in the U.S. taught by Dr. Mark Rutland. If you're the type of leader that likes to have total control over every aspect of your ministry and your future success, the NICL is right for you!

FREE NICL MINI-COURSE - Enroll for 3-hours of training from Dr. Rutland's full leadership course. Experience the NICL and decide if this training is right for you and your team.

Do you feel stuck? Do you feel like you’re not growing? Do you need help from an expert in leadership? There is no other leadership training like the NICL. Gain the leadership skills and confidence you need to lead your church, business or ministry. Get ready to accomplish all of your God-given dreams. CLICK HERE for NICL training dates and details.

The NICL Online is an option for any leader with time or schedule constraints. It's also for leaders who want to expedite their training to receive advanced standing for Master Level credit hours. Work through Dr. Rutland's full training from the comfort of your home or ministry at your pace. Learn more about NICL Online. Learn more about NICL Online.

Charisma Leader — Serving and empowering church leaders