Pastor Rick Warren joined West Angeles in celebrating the 75th birthday of Bishop Blake on Friday, July 31. Here are his thoughts on Bishop Blake and the powerful effects he has had on West Angeles and around the world.
On Friday, at the great West Angeles Church of God in Christ Cathedral in Los Angeles, I had the privilege of honoring the 75th birthday of one America’s great pastors, a wonderful co-worker in ministry, a powerful force for good in the city of Los Angeles, and dear friend of mine. Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake has pastored West Angeles Church in the heart of L.A. for FORTY-SIX YEARS. That’s what you call “putting down roots” in a congregation and a city! There aren’t many pastors who’ve cared for one congregation for that long.
There are too many advantages and benefits of staying in one place for ministry than I have space to mention in this post, but here’s one benefit I’ve witnessed over and over: when you lead with love and integrity, your ministry gets better every year. If you don’t lead with love and integrity, it gets worse and more difficult every year. You can pretend to love people for a few years, but you can’t fake love for decades! The people figure out if you are legit, because there is never a moment when they aren’t watching you and testing your credibility.
If you are a leader, people are constantly doing a “credit check” on you before they invest themselves. People want to know:
1) Does my pastor love me?
2) Does he practice what he preaches? And –
3) Does he lead by example, making the first sacrifice?
“The good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep” (John 10:11), and if a pastor does that humbly and consistently – year after year after year – the people will follow you anywhere, even if it means charging into hell with squirt guns!
“When you lead with love and integrity, your ministry gets better every year.” – Pastor Rick Warren
Bishop Charles Blake is that kind of leader. For 46 years he has been able to impact Los Angeles in ways like no other pastor I know, because he stayed put! In 1 Timothy1:12, Paul said “I thank God for putting me into the ministry.” Ministry is received, not achieved. It is a gift of God’s grace. And if God puts you into ministry, then you must stay put until he announces other plans for you!
I was deeply touched when my friend Charles Blake called and asked me to preach at his 75th birthday celebration. During the past eight years, he has also served as leader of the Church Of God In Christ, America’s oldest and largest African-American Pentecostal denomination with 6.5 million members worldwide. Charles has spoken twice at Saddleback Church and helped me and my wife, Kay, launch our summit on caring for people with AIDS. Years ago, he asked me to come to the COGIC Annual Bishops and Elders gathering to teach The Purpose Driven Church seminar to their leadership.
The world – and the Church – needs far more partnerships between black, white, brown, and every other color of pastors and churches. It was encouraging to see Caucasian and Asian and Hispanic pastors working in solidarity with our sister Black churches after the tragedies of Ferguson and [Charleston]. The only way to overcome evil is with good, and the only way to overcome hatred is with love.
Pastor Rick Warren and his wife Kay are the founders of Saddleback Church in Lake Forrest, CA, where he continues to serve as the senior pastor over its 14 campuses. He is the author of The Purpose Driven Church, as well as the New York Times best-selling book, The Purpose Driven Life, which has sold over 30 million copies. “Pastor Rick,” as he’s affectionately known, earned a Bachelor of Arts from California Baptist University, a Master of Divinity from Southwestern Theological Seminary, and a Doctor of Ministry from Fuller Theological Seminary.
Adapted from “The Value of Staying In One Place To Minister,” by Pastor Rick Warren. Posted July 31, 2015 at 1:34pm via Facebook Mentions.
DID YOU KNOW?
- In 1980, at 25 years of age, Pastor Rick Warren founded Saddleback church with his wife Kay, and has been at its helm for 35 years.
- He is the author of “The Purpose Driven Life,” which is the best-selling hardback book in American history with over 60 million readers.
- Today, Saddleback members speak 67 languages, and there are Saddleback churches in every (United Nations) country in the world. “We want our church to look like Heaven’s gonna look,” said Pastor Rick.