Kay Warren is an evangelical leader, author, AIDS activist, and co-founder of Saddleback Church in Southern California. Along with her husband, Rick, Warren founded Saddleback in 1980 with just a single family to fill the pews. Today it has 120-acre campus, 22,000 weekly attendees, and has provided spiritual guidance and source material to over 400,000 ministers worldwide.
In 2002, Warren became "seriously disturbed" by the scope of the AIDS epidemic; she has since set up an AIDS ministry at Saddleback and spoken out about the disease around the world. Warren is the co-founder and co-director (with her husband) of The Global PEACE Fund, which fights poverty, disease, and illiteracy.
Warren has spoken to the United Nations Global Coalition on Women and AIDS. In 2006, Warren was among eight women honored for their humanitarian efforts at the CNN Inspire Summit. Warren is the author of Foundations Participant's Guide and Dangerous Surrender: What Happens When You Say Yes to God.
Question: What is the state of religion in America?
Warren: Well I’m both hopeful and pessimistic. I’m pessimistic when I watch television or watch a lot of the stuff that reflects culture, because I do see a deterioration of some of the values that I think Americans have been known for. But I also see a resurgence of hope in that I see churches coming to the table and saying it’s not enough for us to just talk about the souls of people. We also need to talk about their bodies. When I see churches that are coming to the table and saying let’s not just talk about people’s salvation; but let’s talk about the fact that the people that we’re trying to bring salvation to also are hungry. They’re not wearing any clothes. They don’t have a way to make a living. They’re sick. They have HIV. They don’t have access to good water. They don’t have access to good healthcare. When I see the marriage of those two ideas together – caring for the body and the soul, and a lot of churches realizing that’s our responsibility – to me that gives me a lot of hope.