I’ve started to write this post quite a few times, and each time, I’ve deleted it. It’s hard to know what to say when someone you admire and love goes through something as tragic as what Rick and Kay Warren have endured the last few days. Their son, Matthew, ended his own life at the age of 27 after battling severe mental illness for many years. I have heard Rick speak of this behind closed office doors, asking for prayer and pouring his heart out concerning his love for his son and his trust in his God in spite of not understanding all the reasons why Matthew suffered so terribly.
The church we are planting, Grace Hills, is part of the Saddleback Network, a new, still-forming initiative to cover the earth with purpose driven churches. Today, there are four of us in the network. Peter Dupre is planting Revive Community Church in the Boston area. Jose Gonzalez is planting a Hispanic congregation in Anaheim. And now, Lower Manhattan Community Church, led by Pastor Ryan Holladay, is part of us as well.
Thirteen years ago, I read The Purpose-Driven Church: Growth Without Compromising Your Message & Mission for the first time. The first chapter contains the story of how Rick and Kay Warren packed up their belongings and headed to a community to which God had called them to plant Saddleback Church. They arrived in Orange County with a moving truck and about $1,000 and started a church with seven people at the first Bible study.
Is the earth still spinning? Are waves still crashing on the beach? God. Is. Up. To. Something… guaranteed!
That’s how God keeps growing us. He never lets us sit still. Even if we spend our entires lives in one place geographically, things are changing inside us and around us all the time.
Saddleback Church is making huge leaps forward when it comes to interacting with people across a more social web. Johnny Baker recently became Pastor of the Online Campus, which is finally recognized as an official campus rather than simply an internet-based broadcasting tool. And now, Saddleback is rolling out online small groups.
Today’s staff meeting at Saddleback was a bit different from the norm at Saddleback Church. Pastor Tom Holladay shared from his heart 10 lessons he’s learned from watching Glen Kreun over the past twenty years of ministry.
Yesterday, the Host Pastor of Praise, one of Saddleback’s Lake Forest venues, was unable to be at services and I happened to be standing in sight of our Program Director, so I was drafted into service to fill in for the day. Saddleback offers one message in many venues so that people who connect in worship through various styles can express themselves the way God wired them. And thus far, I think Praise is my own personal favorite place to sing on Sunday.
This weekend, Pastor Rick Warren kicked off our Decade of Destiny spiritual growth campaign at Saddleback with a message about having a goal, a vision, a dream for your life. He used the scriptural example of Eleazar going back to Iraq to find a bride for Isaac, but my mind kept running to other examples of Bible heroes who articulated big dreams. One that stands out to me is the Apostle Paul…