Saddleback Church Pastor Rick Warren announces search for his successor to begin

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Saddleback Church Pastor Rick Warren announces search for his successor to begin

Saddleback Church Pastor Rick Warren announced June 6 that the church will begin the search for his successor this week.

“We’re going to start looking for the next generation pastor who will replace me and lead our family into the future,” Warren said.

Warren is a well-known leader and author of the best-selling books “The Purpose-Driven Church” and “The Purpose-Driven Life,” which has sold more than 50 million copies worldwide.

He founded the Southern California megachurch in 1980. When the new lead pastor is in place, Warren will transition to the role of founding pastor, he said.

Saddleback Church is one of the largest Southern Baptist churches in the United States. According to a 2019 article in the Orange County Register, the church averages 30,000 attendees and 7,000 small groups each week. The church has 15 domestic campuses and another four around the world in Germany, Argentina, Hong Kong and the Philippines.

Noting he is “the only lead pastor our [church] family has ever had,” Warren said, “This is not the end of my ministry. It’s not even the beginning of the end. … We’re going to take one step at a time in the timing of God. … God has already blessed me more than I could ever possibly imagine. I don’t deserve any of it, and so this next transition in my life is something I am anticipating with zero regrets, zero fears, zero worries.”

In 2010, Saddleback announced the church had sent mission teams to every nation in the world. In 1991, the church started its Celebrate Recovery ministry, which is now used in more than 35,000 churches around the world. In 2018, Saddleback celebrated its 50,000th baptism.

Baptist Press contributed (, news service of the Southern Baptist Convention.