Rick Warren's brief testimony about God's blessings on building Saddleback Church

Updated on November, 18th, 2008

The following is an excerpt from the transcript of the Pew Forum's biannual Faith Angle conference on religion, politics and public life, held on May, 2005.

Please read it and be aware of Rick Warren overwhelmed with gratitude for God's blessings on the building and growing of the Saddleback Church.

I started Saddleback in my home 25 years ago with my wife. And you need to understand, I am a country boy. I grew up in northern California in a town of less than 500 people. So the church I pastor is about a zillion times bigger than the town I grew up in and that has been cultural shock for me. And I've watched the church grow from just my wife and me over the past 25 years. One of the things we wanted to prove is that you don't have to have a building to grow a church, so we grew the church to over 10,000 before we had our first building. We went 15 years without a building. We met in 73 different facilities in the first 15 years. We said, "We're the church that, if you can figure out where we are, you get to come, because we only want really smart people." So we kept changing it. But we wanted to prove it's not a church. We met in warehouses, bank buildings, stadiums, tents, whatever. So today, we have a 120-acre campus, we have about 30 acres just in parking, if you can imagine that. It's like I'm in the Dumbo parking lot or the Goofy parking lot or whatever.

If I were to drop dead right now, Saddleback Church would keep growing, because it's not built on me. It is a purpose-driven church, rather than a personality-driven church. We've all seen what happens when churches or ministries are built on personality and that guy has a moral failure or he flames out or something and the whole ministry collapses. When I wrote "The Purpose Driven Life," I took off seven months and I did not preach, and I did not teach, and I did not lead my staff of 300, but I just wrote the book. And while I was gone, the church grew by 800 people because it's not built on me, it's built on the 9,200 lay ministers in the church. (Online resource)

Ooops! Didn't find the word "God" or "Lord" or "Jesus"? Neither did I.
(I counted this, though: 15 "I's", 4 "Me's" and 13 "We's.")

Should a church prevail because it is based on the true Gospel of Jesus Christ or because it is built on a purpose driven teaching?

Now, he (Mr. Warren) proclaims himself a pastor, not an evangelist. But I just saw an interview with him in a very stupid, I must say, TV show in which Mr. Warren said that he wasn't a pastor, he said he was a shepherd. Did he mean to say "the" shepherd? I hope not.

What is going on with this people, that seem to have fogotten who's the owner of all things and to whom we ought to be thankful for everything we have and "acomplished"? What are they teaching to the church? Not the real Gospel, as far as I can tell.



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