Rick Warren’s 5 tips for talking to anyone:


Here are my notes from a large group meeting with Rick Warren – addressing group of leaders at St Judes, London. Wednesday March 21st 2013. Warren gave the following acronym to help those listening talk to anyone: SPEAK.

Story – ask people to “Tell me your story?”

Part of growing a church is about being attractive yourself. Don’t try and be interesting be interested. You get people to like you by liking them. If you want to be trusted – trust others. Ask people to tell you their stories and you will become interesting and trusted.

Passion –ask people “What do you love to do?”

– when someone criticises your ministry – it is often revealing their gift. Eg Saddleback was on the internet in 1993 (apparently the first church on the net). Because there was a guy complaining about the church not having an internet ministry so Rick hired him. Criticism is often a passion being misused. Find ways to discover people’s passions and asking good questions is a great way to start.

Encouragement – say “You would be great at…”

– most people are waiting at permission for doing what God has called them to do. Encourage through the words “you know what you would be good at…” Find ways to affirm what God is doing in their life – encourage from what you have learned in the previous two questions.

Assist – ask “What do you want me to do for you..”

The primary calling of ministers is Ephesians 4 equipping the saints. Asking “what do you want me to do for you” is the question that Jesus asked. Why would he ask that as the omniscient God? Let’s ask our cities “how can we serve?” We are most like Christ when we ask people how we can serve them- Mark 10.45


– who do you know that I need to know, what do you know that I need to know.

So how do you feel about this outline for a conversation? Let’s believe the best that Rick is not intending that this would be used as a mechanistic manipulative tool.

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– servant hearted – looking to encourage and equip other people in ministry

– this is a powerful antidote to much church leadership which is about getting people to serve the leaders agenda

– the emphasis on releasing people to find their sense of identity and purpose in relationship with God and joining in with his mission – is really helpful.


The strange thing is that now you know that Rick has these principles you may well doubt how genuine he is when talking with him. My take on Rick is that he is a very genuine person and he wants to be best friends with everyone but due to the scale of networks he operates in – it is just physically impossible for him to do this – so he tends to over promise and under deliver in his promise of friendship. I guess by sharing this structure for a conversation he is trying to change a mindset in leaders to use their words well to build up and release others


One thought on “Rick Warren’s 5 tips for talking to anyone:

  1. Dave Roberts says:

    I have been a Christian and in the church for over 35 years and I have only ever been asked the first question, and I don’t recall ever being asked the other questions by anybody, particularly church leaders … I usually have to be direct and either tell others the answers (without the question) or just get on with it as best I know…
    I do use these questions when getting others to help me – both online and offline…
    I shall endeavour to pass this on! Thanks for sharing Krish..

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