January 14, 2009
"An Offered Kindness"
Rick Warren explains why Saddleback extends help to other churches.
Last Friday, regular readers of CT's Liveblog know I posted about Rick Warren's offer of assistance to Anglicans who are about to lose their church buildings in hostile litigation or who were starting a new congregation through new Anglican structures. (In early December after the Civil Forum in Washington, Rick and I discussed the Anglicans story.)
First, a 'mea culpa' from me that this offer was done on a private basis and I misread this message as part of a public gesture. (I wrote a cover story Purpose Driven in Rwanda and an update interview with Rick was published in CT recently.) So CT staff agreed to take the posting off the CT site. But, of course, it lives on via RSS feeds and elsewhere.
This story has taken on quite a life of its own. So since Liveblog has been silent on this subject for days, I asked Rick for a brief clarification. He's given permission to release these comments:
"In our first 13 years as a congregation, Saddleback was forced to use 79 different meeting places, so we understand the difficulty of finding space. So, as standard procedure, anytime an evangelical congregation loses its place to meet, we offer them space, out of gratitude, to the churches that helped us before we got our own building.
It's just one of many quiet ways we support the Body of Christ behind the scenes. Without any press, we've helped 5 other denominations plant new churches in the Saddleback Valley. We never view other congregations as competition, but as team members in the Great Commission. Helping other congregations is consistent with my calling, and 30 year track record, of serving, encouraging, and championing other pastors.
It is what the Purpose Driven Network is all about.
When I read in the paper that another local congregation has lost its place to meet, I send a private email to the leadership offering space. It certainly wasn't a reaction to anyone or any group. I cc'd Tim Morgan because he's a personal friend who has traveled with me to Africa twice and he knew the folks I wrote to. The letter wasn't intended to be a public statement, just an offered kindness. Those who contacted me learned this. Those who didn't attributed a inaccurate motivation and misread the timing."
Global PEACE Coalition
Purpose Driven Network
I'll add in. There's no mystery, no malice, or hidden agenda here. Gratitude still works, Thanks be to God.