(Photo: AP Images / Nick Ut)
Saddleback Church launched five new campuses over the Christmas weekend as part of its 10-year expansion and spiritual growth campaign.
Led by Pastor Rick Warren, the megachurch now has a total of 10 campuses throughout Southern California as well as an Internet campus.
The Christmas Eve launches are just a preview of what is to come over the next decade – which has been labeled "Decade of Destiny" at Saddleback. After 30 years of growth to some 22,000 weekly attendees and outreach on an international level, Warren anticipates the next 10 years to be "the greatest decade yet."
"The Decade of Destiny is all about moving forward and stepping out in faith," said the well-known pastor and author of The Purpose Driven Life.
Warren and his wife, Kay, have chosen to step out in faith by committing to give $1 million a year for the next three years to Saddleback.
"[T]his is how deeply we believe in the vision of this church," the California pastor said in an email to the congregation. Notably, Warren takes no salary from the church and supports his family with 9 percent of the royalties from his books while giving away the other 91 percent. He revealed that last year his personal income from his books was $87,000.
This month, Saddleback is aiming to collect $5 million in tithes and offerings to kick off the Decade of Destiny. Warren's $1 million a year commitment is part of his belief that leadership is always by example.
"Leaders lead by doing it first. I am to show you with my own life, not simply tell you. If I don't lead by example I don't lead at all," he told the Saddleback family. "For 30 years I’ve lived by the principle of Jesus: I will never ask you to do anything that I’m not already doing. I will never ask you to serve or sacrifice more than Kay and I do."
Saddleback is hoping to get 5,000 small groups and families to make a three-year faith and giving commitment to help fund new campuses and church plants and train new leaders.
David Chrzan, pastor and chief of staff at Saddleback, explained that part of the Decade of Destiny involves people investing their time, talent and treasure, and that doesn't exclude the senior pastor.
"Every time we've done these campaigns, Pastor Rick and his wife have always led the effort by saying what they're going to commit or give," he told The Christian Post. "They're committing based out of a slogan we've been using here: Not equal gifts but equal sacrifice."
The Decade of Destiny campaign was first announced during Saddleback Church's 30th anniversary celebration in April.
Over the next 10 years, Saddleback will be gearing up to launch 100 churches a year by the end of the decade. The church plants will include independent churches and Saddleback campuses, where Warren's messages are video-beamed and each of which is led by a campus pastor and staff.