Saddleback Church, founded by Pastor Rick and Kay Warren, celebrated 35 years of ministry influence and impact during a special community-wide service on Saturday (March 21, 2015) at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California.
According to a news release from A. Larry Ross Communications, Some twenty thousand people from around the world, including Rwanda and many countries in Latin America, attended the service during which the Warrens announced plans for the next chapter of Saddleback Church’s history.
Pastor Warren preached the same sermon he preached during the first service hosted by Saddleback Church in 1980, titled “A Daring Faith” – but in past tense, proving how the founding members’ vision has become a reality.
“God has blessed Saddleback Church in an unusual way, but it has nothing to do with our being deserving,” said Pastor Warren, speaking on the mound at the famed baseball home of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
“It has everything to do with God’s grace. We dared to dream big, and God has done big things in the life of this church.”
On a poignant note, Rick Warren, shared about the terrible loss of his son, Matthew Warren, who died at the age of 27, from a self-inflicted gunshot wound some two years ago, after a lifelong struggle with depression and mental illness.
During a press conference prior to the service, he said, “You never get over something like this…I cry every day for him.”
That tragedy brought mental health issues to the front in the thinking of Rick and Kay Warren, who now have a great emphasis on people helping people these problems. They even held a “Gathering on Mental Health & The Church” on March 28, 2014, at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California.
The Warrens also announced plans for Saddleback’s next stage called “Daring Faith.” Over the next 10 weeks, church members will be encouraged to participate in special small groups to foster unity across the congregation as the church enters its next decades of ministry.
Pastor Warren will be placing a special emphasis on how to dream biblically.
Through “Daring Faith,” Saddleback plans to double its Southern California campuses from 10 to 20 in the next three years. Additionally, the church will expand its “PEACE Center” to each of the many Saddleback campuses throughout Southern California.
“People have said ‘Happy Anniversary’ to Rick and me, but this is our anniversary – the whole congregation,” said Kay Warren. “It’s the church members who make Saddleback what it is today. This celebration is a statement of faith for the future of Saddleback taking the Gospel across the globe.”
“All of our biggest dreams and best days are ahead of us,” added Pastor Warren.
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SOURCE: ASSIST News Service