Saddleback Church Pastor Rick Warren has shared a "hard message" with followers, telling them that many Christians do not love the church.
"Too many Christians use the church, but don't love it. This is a hard message for many of us to hear," Warren said Wednesday on his Facebook page.
"We've been deeply hurt by members of the church, we've been disappointed, we can be discouraged. But the Church is the bride of Christ. It's the hope of the world, the vessel through which God works out his plan. We have to learn to love the church," he continued.
"For some of us that means there's people we need to forgive, for others it means we need to get involved in service, and for others it means we need to change how we talk of the church. Jesus loves his church. If for no other reason than that — we must love the church also."
Warren has in the past called for Christian unity in a number of issues, including a large outreach program aimed at reaching out to the last remaining 3,000 groups of people who have never heard the Gospel.
Warren announced in November he is partnering up with Christian speaker Francis Chan for the "H" Initiative for Daring Faith, which in a conference in December brought together ideas about ministering to unreached and religiously unengaged people.
The Finishing the Task website, part of Warren's initiative, described that Jesus "gave us the task of making disciples of all nations, and we know that eventually there will be people from every tribe, tongue, people and nation around his throne."
Warren was recently named the most popular pastor in America by Newsmax in the publication's list of "Top 50 Megachurches in America."
The Christian Post's contributing editor Johnnie Moore, who compiled the list, noted that if you ask 10 pastors, eight of them would likely name Warren as "the most well-known pastor in America."
"His book, Purpose Driven Life, is second only to the Bible in non-fiction best-sellers; he was recently the subject of a major motion picture; he's trained hundreds of thousands of church leaders in every nation in the world; and he's on the speed dial of presidents, prime ministers, rock stars, and celebrities," Moore said at the time.
"For years, insiders have joked that Warren is the 'Evangelical pope.' No one was joking any longer when Pope Francis came to America for the World Meeting of Families in September and invited the Evangelical Pastor Warren to deliver the keynote address."
The list placed Potter's House Church in Dallas, Texas, led by Bishop T.D. Jakes, as No. 2, while Lakewood Church in Houston Texas and Pastor Joel Osteen came in third.