Pastor Rick Warren has a message for the some 20,000 people who attend Saddleback Church: If you want to remain a passive Christian, find another church.
During his weekend sermon, Warren laid out a plan for Saddleback's next "Decade of Destiny" in which he's anticipating exponential growth. And the plan has no room for fake Christians, he indicated.
"Let me just be honest with you as somebody who loves you. If you passively just want to sit around in the next 10 years and just waste your life on things that won't last, you probably want to find another church because you're not going to really feel comfortable here. Because if you're in this church, I'm coming after you to be mobilized," said the renowned southern California pastor.
Saddleback celebrated its 30th anniversary last month and in preparation for the megachurch's next decade, Warren took the congregation back to the first church in the New Testament for a look at what "real Christianity" is all about.
"There are a lot of things done in the name of Christianity in the church that Jesus Christ would disavow," he lamented. "There's fake Christianity, there's phony Christianity, there's pseudo-Christianity.
"I want us to look at the real deal. What does it mean to really be a follower of Jesus Christ?"
Preaching on Pentecost Sunday – the anniversary or birthday of the first church – Warren said that just as a child is born with its entire DNA, all the DNA was in the body of Christ when it was birthed more than 2,000 years ago.
Unfortunately, the churches and Christians he sees today in the 21st century are a far cry from how they were in the first century, he noted.
Aligning Saddleback with the DNA of the original church – which grew from 120 believers to dominating the Roman Empire within 300 years – Warren directed the congregation to adopt and strengthen eight characteristics of real Christianity as found in the book of Acts.
They include: supernatural power through prayer, using everybody's language and every communication channel for mission, mobilizing everybody from kids to seniors, life-changing truth, loving support or fellowship, joyful worship, generous sacrifices and exponential growth.
"Real Christianity uses everyone's gifts," said Warren, author of The Purpose Driven Life, as he rejected passive and consumer Christians.
"Everybody's a minister," he stressed. In the original church, there were no audiences. Rather, everyone was a contributor and participator which led to the tremendous growth of Christianity.
Over the next 10 years, the megachurch will be launching Saddleback worship services in every city in Orange County and in other cities across the country and the world. The Lake Forest, Calif., church also plans to become the first church in history to send someone to every nation in the world to share the Good News.
"We're going to sing until the whole world knows" is the theme song for the next decade, Warren said.
"If we went back to New Testament real Christianity, not the fake stuff ... do you think we could reach more people for Jesus?" he posed.
"Without a doubt. We'd reach more people in the next 10 years than the 30 years combined."