Nearly 2,900 pastors and church teams visited one of America's largest megachurches to integrate the widely used Purpose Driven model into their own church health.
The Purpose Driven Church Conference, which concludes its four day event today, drew church leaders and wives from 51 countries and 46 states to the Saddleback Community Church location in Lakeforest, Calif. Simultaneous language translations allowed international guests to learn the core principles of purpose driven churches that more than 300,000 pastors have picked up at past conferences.
This year's highlight was the eighth annual Church Health Awards where 46 congregations from 18 states and 13 other nations were recognized for their excellence in adapting the Purpose Driven paradigm to their church life. Nominations were mainly made on the Web with winners awarded on the opening day of the conference. Looking past size, the awards emphasized the balance of worship, fellowship, discipleship, ministry and mission as well as strength - Purpose Driven principles that lead to a healthy church.
Last year, a record high of 76 congregations were honored with the Church Health Awards.
Attendants on the pastoral side were in for a treat themselves as bestselling author of Purpose Driven Life Pastor Rick Warren led the two-day "Preaching for Life Change" seminar. This was the first time in five years that Warren taught the seminar live during the second half of the conference. With some 26,000 people attending Saddleback's services each week, the megachurch pastor revealed the secrets to sermon preparation and how he crafts a message for life change.
Other special seminars included one on the P.E.A.C.E. Plan - a global initiative launched last year during Saddleback's 25th anniversary celebration. Conference attendants had the opportunity to join the massive "church to church" holistic outreach effort against spiritual emptiness, corrupt leadership, poverty, disease, and illiteracy.
The Purpose Driven Church Conference closely followed the first ever Purpose Driven conference for Pentecostal/Charismatic churches. "Uncompromised" brought together 200 pastors from churches that have adopted the Purpose Driven paradigm and successfully. Pentecostal and Charismatic pastors wanted to spread the word to other such church leaders that the famed model could be adopted without compromising the church's distinctiveness.
More than 400,000 church leaders in 22 languages have been directly trained, and purpose driven congregations exist in a large majority of the world. The 40 Days of Purpose campaign is based on Rick Warrens best-selling book, The Purpose Driven Life, which has sold more than 30 million copies since October 2002.