Next up was the surprise speaker, Rick Warren. I believe he was a replacement for Rick McKinley. Warren spoke with the poise and confidence of some kind of elder statesman of the community, granting his blessings on the event. The guys behind me just kept saying “wow” over and over again during his talk. He was able to capture the audience’s attention and hold it effortlessly. This was the first time I’ve had any interaction with him or his ideas; I was pleasantly surprised.
But where to start with his talk..?
His opening ideas: It is easy to be relevant, if you don’t want to be Biblical. It’s easy to be Biblical if you don’t want to be relevant. We must balance the two, but the greatest temptation for a leader is to be in imbalance, because it’s so very much easier.
Relationship needs to be personal, not programmatic. We need to be living a lifestyle, not following a strategy. We don’t need innovation, we need incarnation. And, most importantly: you ARE the message.
The secular culture offers three major temptations:
· Lust of the Flesh: “I want to feel good.” This is hedonism.
· Lust of the Eyes: “I see it, I want it.” This is materialism.
· Pride of Life: “I want to be…” This is secularism.
Warren suggests that we haven’t engaged culture because of our arrogance. We need, instead, humility. Humility is teachability.
In thinking of the future, we need to not simply be looking at what is going to change, but also what is NOT going to change. People will always need love. People will always feel guilty, will always hold on to resentment, they will always feel lonely. People will need meaning and purpose. One hundred years from now, people will still need to be loved.
I love that here, less than an hour into our week, and Warren breaks everything we’re talking about down into one simple phrase that should be on our minds whenever we’re talking about changing culture, or culture being changed: 100 years from now, people will still need to be loved. That’s the core of everything, really.
Warren’s message was definitely the most pastoral message today. It had the most “nuggets” that you can easily take away. As he himself said about his book, Purpose Driven Life, however, he didn’t say much “new” – he just said it in an easier way to understand. Looking back on his talk, I think it resonates with us because we can easily get the points he was making. We can hold on to them and they have this great big stamp-of-approval because they came from Rick Warren’s mouth. I am NOT saying this is a bad thing.
Looking back, his talk was one of the easier ones to deal with. He nailed it on some very important concepts, but he articulated his ideas with such warmth and clarity that they hang on the tip of your mind.
In 100 years, people will still need to be loved. Even me.