Pastor Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church has reached a number of milestones ahead of other churches in America since its founding in 1980, and this past weekend it reached one more as it surpassed 50,000 baptisms in its 38-year history.
“Imagine all the amazing personal stories of changed lives behind that number,” Warren wrote to his congregation ahead of Sunday’s celebration. “50,000 individual lives transformed by Jesus since Saddleback Church began. This is unprecedented in history!”
Aside from being the first to baptize 50,000, Saddleback was reportedly the first local congregation to send out messengers of the Gospel to all 197 official nations of the world, the first church to have 10,000 worshipers without owning a building, and the first church with a presence and ministry on the internet, among other milestones.
“I’m often asked: Why has this church, by God’s grace, been able to bring so many unbelievers to Jesus?” Warren shared.
“Because of your LOVE,” he told his church family. “YOU genuinely love people and you want them to go to heaven with you. Every day, you bring your friends, co-workers, and family to Jesus. Honestly, I’ve never seen a group like you anywhere else in the world.”
Since Warren and his wife, Kay, founded Saddleback in 1980 in Lake Forest, California, the church has grown to more than 30,000 weekly attendees across 16 locations, including four international campuses, and an online campus hosting listeners from around the world.
Saddleback Church has also built an outreach of more than 300 community ministries, including the nationally recognized Celebrate Recovery, a Christ-centered recovery program now implemented in more than 25,000 churches.
In concluding his letter, Warren cited Ephesians 3:20, which states: “Glory to God! By his mighty power at work within us, he is able to do far more than we could ever dare to ask or even dream of - infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, or hopes!”
“YOU’RE PART OF A MIRACLE!” he told his church family.
By NRB Staff
Published: August 16, 2018