Saddleback valley Community Church is one of the fastest turning churches in America. Elmer L. Towns, dean of School of Religion at Liberty University, says, “ Rick Warren, senior Pastor of Saddleback church, is constructing one of the great churches in America by acquiring back to scriptural rudimentss, non the old methods but the ageless rules found in the Bible. Every curate needs to larn about his church carefully to see how it is done. ” Harmonizing to Town ‘s averment, Saddleback church is non based on a descriptive methodological analysis but the normative scriptural rules. It is certain that the church has concrete rules of church growing.

In his book, The Purpose Driven Church, Rick Warren says that he has searched for rules of church growing since he was a seminary pupil. He says that God used the Hagiographas of Donald McGavran to sharpen his focal point of God ‘s church. Then he recalls, “ The twenty-four hours I read the McGavran ‘s article, I felt God directing me to put the remainder of my life detecting the principles-biblical, cultural, and leading rules that produce healthy, turning churches. It was the beginning of a womb-to-tomb survey. ” In other words, Saddleback ‘s successful growing is non from a coinciding occurrence, but knowing scheme by theory of McGavran.

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This paper will cover with the rules of growing at Saddleback church comparing with the rules of McGavran. In add-on, it is traveling to analyze the leading rule at Saddleback church.

History of Saddleback Valley Community Church

In 1974, while Rick Warren was functioning as a pupil missionary in Japan, he noticed that while some churches grew, the other did n’t turn. He had a inquiry about the factors every turning church and denomination has. He began a survey of what is it that makes churches to turn. With these inquiries, he attended every church growing conference and seminar that he could happen. He researched 100 largest churches in the United States.

Finally, he found out assorted features of turning churches. He mentions that one of the factors of turning church is length of service. He goes on to state, “ I ‘m willing to travel anyplace in the universe, if you would give me the privilege of puting my full life in merely one location. I do non care where you set me, every bit long as I can remain in one topographic point. ”

Rick Warren believed that God called him to works a new church in a metropolitan country of the United States. Warren narrowed locations into four countries on the West Coast: Seattle, San Francisco, San Diego, and Orange County. During the summer of 1979, he spent three months analyzing the nose count statistics on these four countries and making demographic research. Finally, he discovered that the saddleback Valley, where they are now located.

By December, 1992, the church had grown to over 6,000 in attending. Now the hebdomadal attending of the church members is about 20,000. The church has been one of the most influencing churches in the universe.

Principles of Church Growth at Saddleback

In this portion, rules of growing of Saddleback Church are dealt with briefly. Even though there are many rules, this paper is traveling to analyze a few factors concentrating on the rules of McGavran every bit good as leading rules

Receptivity Principle

Rick Warren has used receptiveness rule through the demographic probe in his ministry since the beginning of the church. Warren states that he spent a few months look intoing the nose count statistics and making demographic research. Using this method, he discovered that Saddleback Valley was the fastest turning country in the fastest turning county in the United States during that clip. The fastest turning country means that there are many migrators who move to in that country.

Harmonizing to McGavran ‘s theory, there are many people who are receptive to the Gospel in new altering fortunes like Saddleback vale. McGavran says, “ How does one cognize whether a population is antiphonal? . . . The experience of the church indicates that immigrants in a new state, migrators to a metropolis, societies enduring from want or daze, and the laden hear and obey the Gospel more readily than contented donees of the societal order. ” Rick Warren noticed that there was a large chance for a new church in that country. He recalls, “ Wherever many people are traveling in, there is a demand for many churches. ”

Additionally, for 12 hebdomad period, he visited approximately 500 places and interviewed people. From the research, he noticed that there were many old Christians do non travel to church any longer because of the injury from the traditional churches. After the notice, he wrote 15,000 direct letters to the community incorporating the sentence of which said. ” At last, a new church for those who have given up on traditional church service. ” It was so effectual that they had 205 people at the first service. It was a great success for the first clip service. In this attack, Rick Warren besides used a receptiveness rule. Through the mail, he was non seeking to win the immune people, alternatively he was seeking to near the people who merely gave up traveling to church, but are still receptive to new manner church.

Harmonizing to receptiveness rule, Rick Warren divides his church members into 5 groups for harmonizing to their responsible degree as followerss: 1 ) the Community, which means the unchurched and occasional hearers 2 ) the Crowd, which means regular hearers 3 ) the Congregation, who ‘ve committed to rank in the church 4 ) the Committed, which means those who ‘ve committed to the wonts necessary for religious adulthood 5 ) the Core, which means those who ‘ve been equipped for a ministry in the church.

The differentiation of each degree of people is similar to the graduated table of James Engel. Thom Rainer introduces the graduated table of James Engel, which indicates the degree of the assorted people ‘s receptiveness to the Gospel. From -8 to +3, this graduated table shows that there are a few stairss an unbeliever makes to go a Christian.

Harmonizing to McGavran ‘s receptiveness rule, he asserts that even though receptiveness is low, the church should non discontinue the evangelistic attempts. The most of import policy is to busy countries of low receptiveness lightly. He goes on to asseverate, “ The crop will mature someday. . . . They should non be to a great extent occupied lest, fearing that they will be swamped by Christians, they become even more immune. ” In this respect, utilizing receptiveness rule, Rick Warren ‘s different attack to different degree of people contributes to Saddleback church ‘s growing.

The Homogeneous Unit Principle

McGavran maintains that a homogenous unit of groups may be said to hold people consciousness if they consider themselves as a separate members. In other words, even though there are same American individuals, they are non same. By their socio-economic category, they can be distinguished.

Rick Warren collected all the information on Saddleback Valley community, questioning the occupants demographically, culturally, and spiritually. Then he created a composite profile of the typical unchurched individual to win. That is called Saddleback Sam. Saddleback Sam is an unreal adult male stand foring the individual who lives in the country. His is late mid-thirtiess or early mid-fortiess old. He is educated extremely. The features of Sam are that he likes his occupation, he likes where he lives, and he thinks he ‘s basking life and his household.

The ground to do the mark like Saddleback Sam is that Rick Warren noticed the homogenous unit rules in the successfully turning churches. He mentions, “ To state that your mark is the “ unchurched ” is an uncomplete description. Unchurched intellectuals in Berkeley are really different from husbandmans in Fresno or unchurched immigrants in Los Angeles. ”

The 2009 nose count statistics of the Orange County, where Saddleback church is located, still indicates that the country is one of the extremely educational, affluent, and white people dominant countries in America comparing with the norm of U.S.

Figure 1 ) 2009 Statistics of Orange County, California

Knowing this statistics of that country, Rick Warren made a mark for making and acquired a successful consequence in absorbing the people in a same homogenous unit. Whenever he prepares his discourses and makes a program for ministry, he considers this rule in his head every clip.

Leadership of Rick Warren

His leading manner comes from the features of Jesus. He mentions that he ever thinks about the leading of Jesus that makes people to follow. He says, “ A Christlike ministry ever attracts crowds. ” The common features of Jesus and Rick Warren are summarized into three things. First, Rick Warren loves disbelievers like Jesus did. In the accepting atmosphere, by accepting without, people feel that they are loved, and are needed.

Second, Rick Warren meets people ‘s demands like Jesus did. As Jesus met the demands of crowds physically, emotionally, spiritually, and financially, he insists that the curates of turning churches be sensitive to the demands of people of the church. Every clip the church member ‘s demand is being met, a good repute begins going through the community and country. It can be one of the factors of church growing.

Finally, the 3rd leading rule is the instruction in a practical and interesting manner. He says that some curate teach the God ‘s word uninterestingly, people easy think the curate is deadening, even about God. In this respect, Rick Warren prepares his sermon every bit possible as practically and interestingly. The secret of growing at Saddleback church can be found in leading of Jesus.


The ground that Saddleback valley community church becomes one of the fast growth churches in the universe is non from inadvertent happenstance, but from knowing schemes based on the scriptural, practical, demographical, statistical rule.

Rick Warren has known about receptiveness rule and homogenous unit rule good by the Hagiographas of McGavran since being a seminary pupil. He applied these rules to his ministry, which turned out to be effectual. Additionally, his leading manner arising from the features of Jesus led the church members to be attracted and matured. There is no royal route to church growing. God blesses the adult male who does his best with the scriptural rules and practical methodological analysiss.

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