I received the following email this morning:
My Opinion on Purpose Driven Life Campaign
I am interested in receiving your weekly e-mails. I am the new minister of Education at First Baptist Church of Norfolk, VA. Our greatest surge in growth came recently from our 40 Days of Purpose. We saw a 25% surge in growth and baptized about 80 during this two month period of time. I am so pleased with what we saw, that we are starting more home groups this fall as facilities are limited.
I have read many of your articles and have found them helpful. Please add me to your list.
I thought I would take this opportunity to share my opinion of the Purpose Driven Life Campaign. I have been in dozens of churches that have been through the campaign and heard feedback from countless people--pastors and laymen.
I want offer a hearty and wholehearted endorsement of the campaign. Feedback from churches all across the country in various sizes and situations have all been positive. The actual feedback ranges from extremely positive to mildly positive, but it is ALL positive--no exceptions.
If I were a pastor I would undoubtedly try to lead my church to go through the campaign. I have seen it revolutionize churches and individuals.
I have been a follower and fan of Rick Warren from the early days of his ministry at Saddleback. My life has been profoundly blessed by his ministry. His specific methods must be adapted to other situations, as Rick would readily admit, but his core principles are solid as a rock and dead on.
Rather, than going on and on, I have decided to quote from Rick himself about the feedback he is getting all over the world from the Purpose Driven Life Campaign:
|If your church baptized 671 new believers, added 1,200 new members, and increased your average attendance by 2,000 in just 40 days, would you call that a revival?|
If, during those same 40 days, 2,200 previously uninvolved people volunteered to serve in a ministry of your church, and another 3,700 committed to go on missions somewhere in the world next year, what would you call that? An awakening?
What term would you use if your members became so burdened for their neighbors that they started 2,400 Home Bible Study groups and convinced nearly 25,000 of their friends, neighbors, and co-workers to attend for six weeks? A miracle?
Whatever you call it, this actually happened at Saddleback Church in the Fall of 2002 during an incredible spiritual growth emphasis called 40 Days of Purpose.
But it just didn't happen at Saddleback! Over 12,000 churches from all 50 states and 19 countries have now participated in 40 Days of Purpose. Many of these churches have reported that it was the most transforming event in their congregation's history. Hundreds of pastors have written or called saying, "Our church will never be the same" and "This is the greatest thing that has ever happened in our church." One pastor wrote, "I've seen more growth in our members and our church in 40 days than in the previous 13 years."
Through 40 Days of Purpose, thousands of people have come to Christ, been baptized, welcomed into membership, connected to a small group or Sunday School class for fellowship, taught the meaning of real worship, equipped for personal ministry, and commissioned to fulfill their mission in the world.
40 Days of Purpose has a track record of changing lives and churches because it is built on five transforming principles:
The Bible says, "Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain." (Psalm 127:1) Months of prayer preparation precede this journey. This is an indispensable ingredient. Many churches schedule days of fasting to prepare their hearts for awakening. Jesus said there is mountain-moving power in unified prayer.
During 40 Days of Purpose, the entire church-every age group, every ministry, every small group or Sunday school class, and every worship service-focuses on the same thing together: God's purposes for our lives. Most of the time, church programs point members in twenty different directions. It is amazing what happens when your church concentrates on the same truth at the same time.
We designed this journey around four vital habits that everyone needs to grow spiritually: the habit of weekly worship attendance, a daily quiet time, a weekly group Bible study, and a weekly Scripture memory verse. These will keep your people growing long after 40 Days of Purpose is finished.
Each of the messages are designed to cause people to become "doers of the Word, and not hearers only." (James 1:22) Each sermon has either a homework assignment, or event after the service, like the Ministry Fair or Missions Fair, where members can take action on what they've learned.
This kind of thinking stretches your faith. It is thinking so big that you are forced to completely depend on God because you know you cannot reach your goal on your own power. This "faith factor" is what takes the 40 Days of Purpose out of the realm of "What we've always done" or "What we think we could do" and instead expects God to do something that's never been done before in your church.
At Saddleback Church, we're always experimenting with new ways to help our people grow spiritually and reach out to our community. Every once in a while, we stumble across something that really produces a significant spiritual harvest, and we feel obligated to share it with other churches. In our 24-year history, nothing else has produced more life change in our church than 40 Days of Purpose. It has transformed our church and mobilized our members in ways we never dreamed of. That's why we want to share it with you. We're all on the same team!
This campaign is all about the Kingdom of God, fulfilling his agenda in His world. Nothing brings more glory to God than having his churches, small groups, and his people fulfilling His Purposes. Because 40 Days of Purpose is about God's Kingdom, it is much bigger than any individual, church or denomination. We must work together "to serve God's purpose in our generation." (Acts. 13:36)
I hope and pray that your church won't miss out on this movement of God. I invite you to join us. We're waiting to partner with you on the journey of a lifetime!
For more information about how you can be involved in the Purpose Driven Life, see www.purposedriven.com