Rick Warren

From Academic Kids

Missing image
'Photo by Blake Little [1] (http://www.time.com/time/subscriber/2005/time100/scientists/100warren.html)

Rick Warren (born 1954) is an American Evangelical Christian pastor and author. He is best known as the author of The Purpose Driven Life, which has topped the New York Times Bestseller list for nonfiction for the past 111 weeks (as of March 13, 2005).1 The book presents what Warren believes to be the five biblical principles for a fulfilled life: worship, fellowship, discipleship, ministry, and evangelism.

Warren is also the pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest in the south Orange County portion of Southern California, an Evangelical Christian church which averages 20,100 in attendance at weekend services as of 2004.2 He also leads the "Purpose Driven Church" seminars, which are focused on teaching other church leaders to integrate the five purposes into their local church structures.

Born in San Jose, California, Warren holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from California Baptist College in Riverside, California, a Master of Divinity degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, as well as a Doctor of Ministry degree from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. He also holds several honorary doctorates.3 A fourth generation pastor, his father's dying wish was to have "one more for Jesus" brought into God's kingdom.4 According to Warren, this moment at his father's deathbed moved him to have this ". . .be the theme of the rest of my life."5

Warren and his wife Kay began Saddleback Church in 1980 with one family.6 His goal was to build a significantly large church, and then afterwards share his knowledge in doing so with other church leaders that would replicate across nations and cultures. Not a pretentious person who seeks the limelight, he quietly goes about his work and has been called by one journalist "the most influentual evangelist you've never heard of."7 Christianity Today magazine named him as "America's most influential pastor" in 2002. He is often in a Hawaiian-style shirt, with deck shoes sans socks, even when giving messages in his laid-back, informal style church. He seeks to be inclusive beyond his conservative Southern Baptist denominational lines in like manner as conservative evangelist Billy Graham and admits pastors and leaders from all denominations to his training programs, chalking up what he terms "non-essentials" of the Christian faith as elements that can cause, from his point of view, needless division. He sticks to what he terms the "essentials" of the faith and focuses on "loving people into the Kingdom" of God in an attractive way without compromising his faith's essential tenets.8

Unlike other well-known Christian and religious leaders, Warren doesn't have his own television or radio program. He is more impressed that people know the content of his teaching than know his name or the name of his church. He avoids both denominational and governmental politics, and lives in a home similar to one his own church members and attenders would live in. He drives his own SUV. His colleagues describe him as generous, fun-loving, and unpretentious - a man whose private life mirrors his public life of a "regular guy" who just happens to be a pastor of a large conservative Evangelical church.9

Warren and his wife Kay live in the Trabuco Canyon area of southern Orange County, California with their three children and a dog.10


  • 2 Top 100 Churches (in USA) (http://www.outreachmagazine.com/article_archive/article_17.html) (Scroll down past end of article for information tables)
  • 5 Ibid, p. 288.
  • 8 Ibid.


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