Rick Warren, author of “The Purpose Driven Life” and pastor of Saddleback Church, spoke to the PLNU campus in chapel on Feb. 21 about finding God’s purpose in life.
Warren founded Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif. beginning with one family meeting in his household. Today the congregation averages about 25,000 weekly attendants with multiple satellite campuses. His book, “The Purpose Driven Life,” has sold 32 million copies and is the best-selling hardback book in American history, according to Publisher’s Weekly.
Norm Shoemaker, professor of Christian Ministry and the founding director of the Center for Pastoral Leadership played a part in signing Warren up to speak in chapel.
“Mary Paul tried to schedule him for a chapel a year or two ago unsuccessfully,” said Shoemaker. “I reached out again through channels at Saddleback to get our invitation to Rick personally, and I got an email on my phone one day that said ‘Pastor Rick has accepted your invitation to speak at Point Loma!’”
Shoemaker has had minimal contact with Warren other than seeing him preach at conferences through Saddleback Church, but was very excited to have had success in inviting him to preach at PLNU. Shoemaker notes that in his 52 years of vocational ministry, he has seen many different personalities come and go, but thinks that Warren has something special about him.
“At the heart of Rick’s influence and opportunity and significance, I have appreciated his personal integrity,” Shoemaker said.
Shoemaker also touches on the fact that it’s impossible to sell as many books as Warren has and not generate a large amount of income, however he gives it all back. Warren and his wife Kay, as stated in chapel on Friday, currently give away 91 percent of their income.
Warren was introduced by Michelle Eastman, a close friend of the Warren family. Eastman and her father are very close to Saddleback Church and have been for many years.
“Something I’ve learned from Rick is that Hawaiian shirts are always good to wear on Sundays, and Rick has a huge heart for people,” Eastman said in her introduction.
According to the Saddleback website, Pastor Warren and his wife Kay are passionate about global missions and what he calls “attacking the five global giants” of poverty, disease, spiritual emptiness, self-serving leadership and illiteracy. These global giants are conquered through the PEACE plan, an effort to mobilize Christians all around the world.
Bree Schiff, a junior, has attended Saddleback church since she was in 4th grade, and knows Warren very well.
“He doesn’t take himself too seriously and I really appreciate his humor and the light-hearted approach he has on life,” said Schiff. “Having your two worlds collide can be weird but I was just excited to have my friends here see a glimpse into what my life outside of Loma is like.”
Senior, Orin Mozon enjoyed the sermon and heard people talking about it for the rest of the day.
“It was a really solid message on the love of God and our worth and purpose in Him,” said Mozon. “I just hope that they can remember the transformational message he brought more than just the jokes he said about how his wife still turns him on and that you’ll go to hell if you don’t follow him on Twitter and Instagram.”