"During his last year in seminary, he and Kay drove west to visit
Robert Schuller's Institute for Church Growth. 'We had a very stony ride out to the
conference,' she says, because such nontraditional ministry scared her to death. Schuller, though, won them over.
'He had a profound influence on Rick,' Kay
says. "We were captivated by his positive appeal to nonbelievers. I never looked
"Imitating Schuller, Warren walked the (then unincorporated but fast-growing)
town of Lake Forest, asking what kept people from going to church. He recruited
a Bible study group that met at the Warrens' condominium; its members helped
stamp and address letters to 15,000 households. 'At last!' the letter began. 'A
new church for those who've given up on traditional church services!' More than
200 people showed up for an Easter service at Laguna Hills High School. Watching
them stream in, Warren marveled, 'This is really going to work!'
"Saddleback grew partly because Rick Warren is a very attractive and talented
leader, and because the area was ripe for a megachurch. But there is more than
that. The foundational concept of Saddleback's ministry, its organizational and
theological architecture, is Purpose-Driven."