Rick Warren, the best-selling pastor of Saddleback Church near Los Angeles, who skyrocketed into prominence in the Evangelical world with his Purpose-Driven book series in the early 2000s, has announced his retirement.
In his 42 Years of leading Saddleback, the church has grown to 30,000 in average weekly attendance. There are now 14 campuses in Southern California and four international campuses. Warren has also developed a social media presence of 11 million followers. Time magazine named Warren, author of multiple books including The Purpose Driven Life, one of the “100 Most Influential People in the World.”
Megachurch pastor Rick Warren has announced his retirement after 42 years of leading Saddleback Church in Southern California. A search for his successor will be launched this week.
The well-known evangelical pastor and best-selling author tole his congregation on Sunday that the search is not the end but the “beginning of the beginning,” The Orange County Register reported Monday.
Warren, 67, said he will continue to serve as lead pastor until a successor is in place. He will then step back into a less “visible position as founding pastor.”
There is no timeline for the search, which will look at candidates both within and outside the church. Warren declined to speak about his retirement plans on Monday.
“Kay and I made this crazy promise when we were 25 years old that we would give 40 years to one location and wouldn’t move and that we wouldn’t be tempted to go to another church,” Warren said before preaching his 40th Easter service in 2019.
Warren said then that he was offered a series of jobs with Christian organizations, seminaries, and denominations, but never moved.
With its main campus in Lake Forest, south of Los Angeles, Saddleback church has grown to 14 locations in Southern California with an average weekly attendance of 30,000. There are four international campuses in Hong Kong, Germany, the Philippines and Argentina.