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Rick Warren quits Saddleback Church

by ervte

Bestselling author of The Purpose Driven Life, Rick Warren, has announced that he is retiring as senior pastor of Saddleback Church after 40 years at the helm of one of America’s most influential churches.

Warren will step down from office in September when he hands over the reins to his successor, Andy Wood, the lead pastor of Echo Church in San Jose, California. Andy’s wife, Stacie Wood, a pastor at Echo Church, will take on the same role at Saddleback.Rick Warren quits Saddleback Church

Kay and I are excited to share that @andywoodand @stacie_wood of https://t.co/G9jRA2VKLi; San Jose, has been called to lead Saddleback! Andy will be installed as our Pastor in September. https://t.co/7887TJTAGf pic.twitter.com/4W8qx1lhzf

— Rick Warren (@RickWarren) June 2, 2022

Announcing the transition on Twitter on June 2, Warren praised Andy Wood for his experience in “growing a megachurch from scratch” during his 14 years with Echo Church and his biblical character traits.

“Like Kay and I, Andy and Stacie started a brand new, purpose-driven church with just a handful of people and grew it to nearly 3,000 attendees across four campuses. Kay, I, and our elders unanimously chose Andy Wood to lead us into the future as a Church family. We are all SO excited! You are going to love this couple. Andy is 40 years old and full of God’s love!” Warren wrote on the Saddleback website.

Warren, 68, and his wife Kay planted Saddleback in 1980 (when they were just 25) in Lake Forest, California, as part of the Southern Baptist Convention. Over the years, the church has grown to more than 30,000 weekly visitors in 16 locations, including four international and an online campus. Saddleback Church has built up a reach of over 300 community ministries. Based on Rick Warren’s bestseller, The Purpose Driven Life, published in 2002, pastoral training tools have been used by more than 1.1 million pastors in 165 countries.

In a video, Warren explained that he and the Saddleback elders had considered nearly 100 candidates in the search for his successor. This search began in June 2021, after Warren guided the church through the height of the COVID pandemic.

“Saddleback is an incredibly complex church, with campuses on four continents,” Warren says. The publisher of Forbes magazine once said of Saddleback if it were a business, Saddleback would be compared to Dell, Google, or Starbucks.

“Now, pastors are usually not asked to speak to the United Nations or TED, TED,s. But people are listening to Saddleback, a heavy responsibility for the new leader. And I knew that with our size, purposeful system, and saddleback style, it would take someone truly unique to lead our amazing church…

“In many miraculous ways, God has confirmed His choice for our next pastor,” he said.

After nearly 43 years of pastoring at Saddleback Church, Kay and I announce that God is calling us to step aside for the next generation! We feel deep love and humble gratitude for our Church family. What an adventure of faith it was! Now we are called to 2 new ministries. More later pic.twitter.com/RHklogHQ7b

Warren described his decision to “step aside for the next generation” as “a deeply satisfying and emotional moment for Kay and me.”

“We are filled with love and gratitude for YOU!” Warren wrote to the “Saddleback Family,”. “Like Paul, we can say, ‘I fought the good fight. I’m done with the race. And I have kept the faith!’ 2 Timothy 4:7 (NIV) Now is the time for us to pass the torch to a new generation who will love, lead, and lead our church family for decades to come.”

As for the future for Warren, he has suggested being involved in “2 new ministries”. In another tweet, he clarified that he is being “transferred” rather than retiring. No doubt more details will be announced soon.

I don’t believe in retirement from serving God, but I DO believe in #reassignment. I see now how EVERYTHING God has led me through and taught me in 43 years, pastoring and training leaders in 165 countries, was a preparation for His greatest assignment. God shaped me for FTT’s global challenge pic.twitter.com/zV0p79i0XK

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