Rick Warren: How to Develop a God-Sized Vision for Your Church in 2020

I believe 2020 could be your church's best year yet. (Photo by Matt Noble on Unsplash)

Your biggest decision as you begin 2020: Do you want this year to be like the last? Or are you ready for God to do something new in your church?

I believe 2020 could be your church's best year yet. It could be the launching point for the next level of health and growth that you've been praying for.

It could also be just another ordinary year when you and your church drift and don't take the next step forward. I believe the choice is yours.

I'm not just preaching this message to other churches; I'm encouraging myself and my staff to make 2020 different. I'm convinced that God's best years for Saddleback are ahead of us, not behind us. I believe we've just scratched the surface of what God wants to do through our church. How do I know that? I'm listening to God. I've been walking with God for more than 50 years. I know His voice. When God speaks, I know He's the one talking.

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I don't know what situation you're in, but I know that you need to trust God for the impossible—a plan He will faithfully provide as you listen to Him. For your church to have its best year yet, you need God's plan for 2020. You need to hear His voice, and you need to set goals you can't accomplish without His power. You need to set goals that are so big that you'll fall flat on your face if God doesn't intervene.

Hebrews 11:6 (NIV) says, "Without faith it is impossible to please God." I want to please God in 2020 and I'm sure you do, too. Pleasing God will require faith.

I can give you dozens of accomplishments in my life that I can't explain except that God did it—I was bound to fail unless God bailed me out. I want to push you to set audacious goals for 2020.

Your church can't grow, and you can't grow personally, until you set goals that you need to trust God for. When I started Saddleback Church in 1980, I stood up in our preview service, a week before launching the church on Easter, and announced a dream God had given me. I described the vision in detail in The Purpose Driven Church, but it was audacious: 20,000 people in our church, sharing Christ with hundreds of thousands of people in our community, 50 acres of land for a regional church and much more.

I'll never forget how scared I felt after sharing that vision during the dress rehearsal. A fear of failure overwhelmed me. I wondered what would happen if God didn't step up and fulfill the dream He gave me. I hadn't just written my vision down in a journal; I had shared it publicly. I couldn't go back. I had to trust that God would fulfill the vision He gave me—and He did.

2020 is a special year for Saddleback. When I shared that vision in 1980, I made a commitment to spend at least 40 years at this church. Most people figured this vision was crazy, but God came through. Every big goal God challenged me to make has happened.

God isn't done yet. I'm sure of it. He's not done yet with your church, either.

Opposition will come. That's guaranteed. I've faced plenty in the last 40 years at Saddleback. I promise you that whatever your big, faith-inspiring goal is, you won't reach it without opposition.

Opportunity plus opposition equals the will of God. Wherever you get opposition, I guarantee you'll find an opportunity. You must learn to live with both opportunity and opposition in your ministry. That's just part of a mature, unwavering faith in God.

Yet God is always there to help us. In Revelation 3:8 (NLT), Jesus told the apostle John: "I have opened a door for you that no one can close."

I have witnessed the truth of that verse in my own walk with Jesus. As I've pursued God's goals for our church, He has been faithful to open doors that no one on earth could close. Opposition has come, but it has been no match for the power of God.

It won't be any match for God's work in your church either.

I believe 2020 is your church's year. What big goal are you trusting God for?

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.

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