In the most recent issue of his Ministry Toolbox newsletter, Rick Warren writes:

“There were seven characteristics in the life of the Apostle Paul that I think made him the single most effective proponent of Christianity in history. He didn’t have a cell phone, airplane or the Internet; yet he was largely responsible for the spread of Christianity from Israel to the uttermost reaches of the Roman Empire. Here are the reasons for his S-U-C-C-E-S-S:

• S – Sense of direction
• U – Understanding
• C – Commitment
• C – Compassion
• E – Enthusiastic faith
• S – Service to others
• S – Staying power

S – Sense of Direction
“If you don’t know where you’re headed, you’ll probably end up somewhere else. Paul had a crystal clear purpose. In Romans 15:20, Paul writes, ‘It has always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not known, so that I would not be building on someone else’s foundation.’

“I’ve always loved this verse. Like Paul, I’ve always seen myself as a spiritual entrepreneur. Paul was a pioneer. He didn’t want to lead an existing church. He wanted to start something new. But the point isn’t what kind of ministry God had called him to; it’s that he knew what that ministry was.

“Most people don’t succeed because they don’t really know what they want. They do something for a few years, then switch and do something else, then switch again. Finally, they get to 40, 50 or 60 years old, and they’ve done 10 different things. They’ve never focused their lives on anything specific.

“We should always be able to answer this question immediately: What has God called you to do?

“When you figure out the why in life, God will show you the how. When I started Saddleback Church, I didn’t know how God was going to do it, but I knew why and I knew what. I had the message and the motive, and God came up with the method.

“Ministry success starts by understanding what God wants you to do.”

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