Rick Warren is an evangelical leader, best-selling author, and founding and senior pastor of Saddleback Church in Southern California. Along with his wife, Kay, Warren founded Saddleback in 1980 with just a single family to fill the pews. Today the church has a 120-acre campus, 22,000 weekly attendees, and has provided spiritual guidance and source material to over 400,000 ministers worldwide.
He also leads the Purpose Driven Network of churches, a global coalition of congregations in 162 countries. More than 400,000 ministers and priests have been trained worldwide, and almost 157,000 church leaders subscribe to the Ministry ToolBox, his weekly newsletter. His previous book, The Purpose Driven Church is listed in “100 Christian Books That Changed the 20th Century.” Forbes magazine called it "the best book on entrepreneurship, management, and leadership in print.”
Warren received his BA from California Baptist College, his MA from the Southwest Baptist Theological Seminary, and his Doctor of Ministry from the Fuller Theological Seminary. Warren has recently taken on several issues previously ignore by the evangelical community; he is the most prominent signatory of the "Evangelical Climate Initiative," and is the co-founder and co-director (with his wife) of The Global PEACE Fund, which fights poverty, disease, and illiteracy. Warren has spoken at the United Nations, the World Economic Forum in Davos, the African Union, and the Council on Foreign Relations.
Question: Saddleback: A Diverse Congregation
Rick Warren: If you were to come to the 11:15 service at Saddleback Church on a weekend, you would see the United Nations. We probably speak 50 languages in that one service alone. It’s Black, White, Asian, Persian, Iranian, you know South American.
In Orange County California – people don’t understand this – of the three million people who live there, one million speaks Spanish. We have started over 30 Spanish-speaking churches ourselves. Our church has started these daughter churches. But even in our own services we have people from every kind of background. And it’s not a stew; it’s a mosaic. Everybody has their identity. You know people with this kind of background, and this kind of background; and former this, and former that, and former this, and still this and that, and I love it. You know when I look out on Sunday morning or Saturday night, I don’t want to see plain old vanilla. I want Saddleback’s 31 flavors, you know? We’ve got it all.
Recorded on: December 11, 2007