- (Photo: Tommy Huynh/Saddleback Church)
Influential pastor Rick Warren, founding and senior pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., celebrated his 59th birthday on Monday.
Although Warren didn't mention his birthday to his nearly 900,000 Twitter followers, his wife, Kay, tweeted, "Happy Birthday to the love of my life, @RickWarren! What a guy!!" While Seattle megachurch pastor Mark Driscoll tweeted, "Happy birthday, @RickWarren! Jesus loves you and so do many of us."
Actress Roma Downey tweeted, "@RickWarren: You CAN'T make God stop loving you. because his love for you is based on who HE is, not what YOU do. Happy Birthday Rick!" And Christian conservative political strategist Ralph Reed tweeted, "Happy birthday, @rickwarren. I appreciate your ministry. Stand firm for the Gospel."
Besides having one of the largest churches in the United States and writing the best-selling non-fiction hardback in history, Warren was also named by Forbes in 2010 as one of the top 20 most influential Twitter celebrities.
"All glory belongs to God," Warren had said in a statement about making the Forbes top Twitter celebrity list. "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."
Since the success of his book, Warren has returned 25-years' worth of salary back to his church and no longer takes a salary while still serving as the church's senior pastor. The Warrens are also known to "reverse tithe," giving away 90 percent of their income and living on 10 percent.
In recent years, the Warrens have focused on getting the Church more involved in fighting HIV/AIDS. In 2005, Saddleback Church hosted the first-ever, large-scale church conference to address AIDS/HIV. The annual conference now draws local pastors, leading experts, and even sometimes politicians to network and educate pastors on how their churches can help fight HIV/AIDS.
Warren is also known for his PEACE Plan, which seeks to mobilize 1 billion Christians around the world to combat five "global giant" problems – spiritual emptiness, corrupt leadership, extreme poverty, pandemic diseases, and illiteracy and lack of education – by Planting churches, Equipping servant leaders, Assisting the poor, Caring for the sick, and Educating (PEACE) the next generation.