Rick Warren Biography & Facts
Richard Duane Warren (born January 28, 1954) is an American Southern Baptist evangelical Christian pastor and author. He is the founder of Saddleback Church, an evangelical megachurch affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention in Lake Forest, California.
Early life and education
Warren was born in San Jose, California, the son of Jimmy and Dot Warren. His father was a Baptist minister, his mother a high-school librarian. He was raised in Ukiah, California, and graduated from Ukiah High School in 1972, where he founded the first Christian club on the school's campus.He studied at California Baptist University in Riverside, California and earned a Bachelor of Arts, then he studied at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas and earned a Master of Divinity in 1979. He also studied at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California and earned a Doctor of Ministry.
Warren says he was called to full-time ministry when he was a 19-year-old student at California Baptist University. In November 1973, he and a friend skipped classes and drove 350 miles to hear W. A. Criswell preach at the Jack Tar Hotel in San Francisco. Warren waited afterwards to shake hands with Criswell, who focused on Warren, stating, "I feel led to lay hands on you and pray for you!"During his time at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Warren worked at the Texas Ranch for Christ, a ministry facility of Billie Hanks Jr., where he began writing books. He co-wrote two books, The Victory Scripture Memory Series and Twelve Dynamic Bible Study Methods for Laity, with Hanks and Wayne Watts.In January 1980, Warren began a Bible study group with seven people and his wife at their Saddleback Valley condo in Orange County, California. In April 1980, Warren held Saddleback Church's first public service on Easter Sunday at the Laguna Hills High School Theater with 200 people in attendance. Warren's church growth methods led to rapid expansion, with the church using nearly 80 different facilities in its 35-year history. The church now averages nearly 20,000 people in attendance each week.Warren has been invited to speak at national and international forums, including the United Nations, the World Economic Forum in Davos, the African Union, the Council on Foreign Relations, Harvard Kennedy School, TED, and Time's Global Health Summit. He has been a member of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) since 2005.In August 2008, Warren drew greater national attention by hosting the Civil Forum on the Presidency, featuring senators John McCain and Barack Obama at Saddleback Church. The forum marked McCain and Obama's first joint appearance as the presumptive Republican and Democratic presidential nominees and was broadcast live on national television.
In December 2008, President-elect Obama chose Warren to give the invocation at his inauguration ceremony. The decision angered pro-choice and LGBT advocates and led to criticism of both Obama and Warren. Obama defended his choice of Warren, saying that although he disagreed with the minister's positions on abortion and same-sex marriage, there should be room for dialogue on such difficult social issues. More controversy ensued when it was announced that Warren would be the keynote speaker at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Annual Commemorative Service on January 19, 2009, the day prior to the inauguration. On January 20, 2009, Warren delivered the invocation, which was generally praised for its positive message.In January 2009, Warren and the Reader's Digest Association partnered in the launch of the Purpose Driven Connection, a quarterly publication sold as part of a bundle of multimedia products. In November 2009, the partners announced that the magazine had not drawn enough paying members and would cease after publication of the fourth issue that month.In 2010, Warren was chosen to lead a prayer at the inauguration ceremony of the President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame. Since that date, he has been part of the latter's Presidential Advisory Council. In June 2021, Warren announced he would be retiring from the senior pastor position at Saddleback, but that he would stay on until his successor is appointed.In 2022, Warren stepped down as lead pastor while maintaining a founding pastor role.
Warren taught the material that would one day become the Purpose Driven philosophy of ministry to individual pastors who called or wrote him in Saddleback's early days.
Warren gained experience teaching the material through his participation in the Institute for Evangelism and Church Growth, affiliated with Fuller Theological Seminary.
In 1995 Zondervan published Warren's best-selling book, The Purpose Driven Church, which distilled many of the lessons he had learned while starting Saddleback Church and honed during years of training other pastors. After sharing the "Saddleback Story", the book makes a case for building a church around five purposes (worship, fellowship, discipleship, ministry, and evangelism) through what Warren called a "crowd to core" method of church growth. He encouraged churches to reach their community, bring in a crowd, turn attendees into members, develop those members to maturity, turn them into ministers, and send them out on a mission. (The Purpose Driven Church, table of contents)
In 2004, more than 10,000 churches of various denominations attended a seminar or a conference led by Warren.
In 2003, Saddleback Church, Kay and Rick Warren founded the P.E.A.C.E. Plan, a humanitarian development program for churches.
In 2004, Warren was named one of the "leaders who mattered most in 2004" by Time. In April 2005, Warren was named by Time as one of the "100 Most Influential People in the World". Warren was named one of "America's Top 25 Leaders" in October 2005, by U.S. News & World Report. In 2006, Warren was named by Newsweek one of "15 People Who Make America Great".In 2006, The Purpose Driven Life sold more than 30 million copies, making Warren a 'New York Times' bestselling author.
Warren has been married to Kay Warren since June 21, 1975. They have three adult children and four grandchildren. He considers Billy Graham, Peter Drucker, and his own father to be among his mentors.
In 2006, after the success of his book The Purpose Driven Life, he claimed to have made the decision to "reverse the tithe", donating 90% of his income to three foundations and no longer receive a salary from the church.Warren's youngest son, Matthew, took his own life on April 6, 2013, after 10 years of struggling with mental illness. Warren says that, after the suicide, more than 10,000 people wrote to him about their struggles with mental illness within the church. About a year later, Warren launched a ministry to educate the church on its role to help people struggling with mental illness at The Gathering on Mental Health and the Church in March 2014.
Political and social views
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