LAKE FOREST, Calif. – Today, Pastor Rick Warren concluded the three day New Hope for Your Church conference at Saddleback Church’s Lake Forest, California campus.
Visibly moved in front of the crowd of thousands of leaders, Pastor Warren began the conference by saying, “this is an emotional experience for me. This is the first time in 10 years I have taught this material in America.”
“The greatest title I bear is ‘pastor to pastors’ …a crowd is not a church. If your church is known for love, you’ll have to lock the doors to keep people out. I believe the greatest churches in history are still yet to be built,” Warren told the crowd of thousands of pastors.
After a decade-long focus on providing international training to pastors in every country in the world, the New Hope for Your Church conference represents a new focus by Pastor Warren on renewing churches in the United States even while Saddleback Church continues its work around the world.
The conference served as the launch of the Purpose Driven Fellowship in the United States. The Purpose Driven Fellowship brings together thousands of churches in the United States and around the world that have adopted the “Purpose Driven paradigm,” first described in Warren’s 1996 bestselling book The Purpose Driven Church. Churches can join the fellowship online at www.pd.church. Fellowship churches will have access to exclusive coaching, events and resources. Next month, the Purpose Driven fellowship will start a nationwide tour hosting one-day summits, encouraging pastors and churches all across America.
Purpose Driven conferences – like New Hope for Your Church – were a hallmark of Saddleback Church’s ministry to pastors in the United States for more than a decade before Warren entered into his season focused almost exclusively on ministry around the world through the PEACE Plan. During that time of international focus, more than 25,000 Saddleback Church members ministered in 196 countries and Warren trained hundreds of thousands of pastors from huts in obscure villages to the world’s largest cities to Promote reconciliation, Equip leaders, Assist the poor, Care for the sick, and Educate a new generation.
All along the way, churches were planted.
“Now that the PEACE PLAN is mature and impacting millions of people around the world through thousands of churches, God has shifted my focus from church planting to church renewal, beginning in America,” said Pastor Rick Warren. “We must help plateaued churches and discouraged pastors, and we must train a whole new generation to embrace God’s five purposes for the church: fellowship, discipleship, worship, ministry and evangelism. We need to introduce a new generation to the paradigm all together, and we need to introduce our old friends to what we’ve learned in the last ten years,” said Warren.
Nearly 70% of the attendees at this week’s conference had never attended a Purpose Driven conference or event in the past. The audience was young and diverse, representing all 50 states and 33 countries.
At the New Hope for Your Church conference, Pastor Rick Warren also revealed his intention to call all of America’s pastors, churches, and civic leaders to designate 2017 as the “Year of Hope.” The “Year of Hope” will be focused upon personal, relational and missional renewal. It will be anchored upon a twelve-week nationwide church campaign called “The Hope We Need.”
“The world needs hope like never before. Our hope is not in government. It will never come through a politician. Our hope is not in who we put in the White House, but in who we put on the cross,” said Warren. “I’m betting on the church to change the world, and I’m betting on the church to give us all the hope we need.”