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: Who are you?
Rick Warren: I’m Rick Warren, and I’m Pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California; author of “The Purpose Driven Life”.
I grew up in Northern California. And half of it was in the San Francisco bay area, and half of it was in a little tiny community a couple hours north of that in the mountains called Redwood Valley. In the early years I grew up in the San Francisco Bay area in the ‘50s and the early ‘60s, which was an amazing time of technology development and things like that.
Then we moved two hours north up into the Redwoods where the giant redwoods are. And I spent the rest of my life, from fifth grade through high school, a little town called Redwood Valley – less than 500 people. The only thing in it was a gas station pump next to a general store, and that was it. I had to go nine miles to the nearest high school.
I think the combination of those two things had an influence on me because I’m both urban and rural. And I picked up both of the values, and I can relate to either cosmopolitan area like San Francisco. Or I could relate to living in the total country.
Question: Who was your greatest influence?
Rick Warren: Oh without a doubt my parents. Both my mom and my dad, they’re the most generous people I ever met. Never had a lot of money, but we always grew about an acre in garden. And my dad would grow that much food – we had about 10 acres of land – just so he could give it away. And my mother had the gift of hospitality, and every morning; for years I never would get up in the morning without knowing who would be at breakfast, because somebody would have come in that night and spent the night and slept at our place.
In fact, one time my dad added up how many meals my mother had made over one year, and she had served over 1,000 meals in our home to guests in one year.
Recorded on: December 11, 2007