- (Photo: AP Images / Luis M. Alvarez)
Pastor Rick Warren was named this week as one of Forbes' top 20 most influential Twitter celebrities.
The only other religious figure on the list was the Dalai Lama.
"All glory belongs to God," the Southern California pastor said in a statement Thursday. "For 30 years we’ve always tried to use every means available to help as many as possible, and share the transforming message of the Gospel."
The top 20 list, based on a person's klout (or social media influence) score, included mostly entertainment celebrities. Lady Gaga, Joe Jonas, Kanye West and Conan O'Brien were among the most influential on the microblogging site. Topping the list was 16-year-old Pop sensation Justin Bieber, who has more than 6.3 million followers.
He received a perfect klout score of 100. Brazilian novelist Paulo Coelho came in second.
Individuals were ranked based on the impact of their opinions, links and recommendations across their social graph. The klout score was compiled using an algorithm that takes into account 35 factors, including the number of retweets and followers.
President Barack Obama made the list with a score of 88.5. Warren, who has more than 209,000 followers, was listed as the 20th most influential on Twitter with a score of 86.7.
According to the klout profile, Warren "has built a very large and expanding network quickly through quality, trustworthy content, and he is regularly engaged by other influential people who often act on or amplify his messages."
Author of The Purpose Driven Life, the bestselling hardback book in American history, Warren was initially reluctant to sign on to Twitter when it first appeared in 2007.
"My staff told me that I should sign up, but I said no way," he recalled. "The idea of telling people the minutia of my life seemed so narcissistic."
It wasn't until he spoke with evangelical pastor John Piper last year that he changed his mind.
"He told me he used Twitter to teach," Warren said, recalling the conversation with Piper. "So I decided to add it as one of the mentoring tools I use with my network of young church leaders. I guess other people wanted to listen in, too."
Along with some personal tweets, Warren mostly offers challenges, Scripture verses, mentoring advice and encouragement to his Twitter followers.
Among his latest tweets are: "Slandering people makes you inferior to them. Getting even puts you on their level. Forgiving shows superior character" and "If you always feel comfortable reading God's Word, you're either not reading ALL of it, or you aren't letting it sink in."
While Warren appreciates Twitter as a way to reach out to a more diverse audience, particularly those who'd never attend a church service, he stressed, "[T]echnology is never an end in itself and the message still trumps the medium.
"Hopefully, these new channels help begin conversations that will lead to deeper, face-to-face community, through our small groups and one-on-one friendships."