Prompted by the nation’s economic recession reflected in its own backyard, Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., opened a center with free community services aimed at providing Orange County residents with much needed relief on Tuesday.
Bestselling author and pastor Rick Warren said that in the process of his church’s food pantry serving more than 72,000 people with free groceries during the last year-and-a-half, staff members discovered that people needed help in several other areas as well. While some financial analysts have been downplaying the severity and length of the nation's economic downturn, Warren believes the country is headed into its fifth year of the "great recession."
Long considered as a fairly affluent county with miles of coastal property and mega-rich land developers such as the Irvine Co., the Saddleback Valley region located in the southern part of the county struggles with an 11 percent unemployment rate and a high number of home foreclosures. more >>
The sprawling parking lots and 3,500-seat worship center at Saddleback Church in Orange County were empty during the five regularly scheduled service times last weekend. Pastor Rick Warren canceled them on purpose.
However, that didn’t mean that the church’s 20,000 members were necessarily avoiding God.
Several weeks ago, Warren asked his members to consider God’s second greatest commandment, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” (Matt. 22:39) and put faith into action by taking at least a half day on Saturday or Sunday (Dec. 10, 11) to perform acts of kindness in the communities across Southern California. more >>
Reaching out to neighbors with acts of kindness was one thing, but finding neighbors to serve was another for Saddleback Church members John and Laura Cipres.
When Pastor Rick Warren of the megachurch in Orange County, Calif., announced a few weeks ago that all worship services during the second weekend in December would be cancelled so that the congregation could participate in volunteer opportunities throughout Southern California, the couple was faced with a bit of a dilemma.
Warren's plan to mobilize its base of 5,000 small study groups, and at least a majority of its 20,000 members sounded good to the Cipreses, but they really didn’t have any neighbors to offer their services to. Their home is located across from a Catholic school parking lot and next to them live residents of the Catholic school and its community, all busy with their own church activities. more >>
Although most Christians hearing of megachurch pastor Rick Warren’s plan to cancel regularly scheduled worship services this weekend in order to help facilitate community service projects have given the thumbs up, others say the event sends a mixed message.
“Good Neighbor Weekend” has been enthusiastically received by the majority of the 20,000 members at Saddleback Church in Orange County. Many have already signed-up online for acts of kindness, according to church officials.
Volunteer opportunities suggested and organized by church members include visiting severely disabled children in hospitals, serving breakfast to homeless and families living in motels, and helping families having members in the military stationed away from home with house chores. more >>
LAKE FOREST, Calif. – In a rare move, the 20,000-member Saddleback Church in Orange County is canceling all of its worship services during the second weekend in December in order to help facilitate a huge neighborhood volunteer opportunity.
Best-selling author and pastor Rick Warren is asking members of his congregation to take at least a half day on Saturday or Sunday (Dec. 10, 11) to go “serve in the community and love your neighbor as yourself.”
In its 31-year history, the megachurch has canceled weekend services less than a handful of times, according to Warren. more >>
LAKE FOREST, Calif. – Christian author and speaker Dr. Frank Turek, speaking at Saddleback Church as part of its “Apologetics Weekend” series on Sunday, made a case for the truth of the New Testament by saying its authors would not have disclosed embarrassing details about themselves had they been lying about what transpired with Jesus.
Turek, who authored I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist and is a co-leader with other Christian apologetics on the website CrossExamined.org, was one of five speakers during separate sessions at pastor Rick Warren’s megachurch in Orange County this past weekend.
Warren annually hosts the weekend in which experts teach on defending Christianity. more >>