What, precisely, is a good church? How would you know one when you see it? A popular answer these days is that a good church is a “purpose-driven” church.
The phrase and the concept come from Rick Warren, founding pastor of Saddleback Community Church in Lake Forest, California, one of the largest and fastest-growing churches in American history. It has almost 10,000 “core members” and over 50,000 people on its rolls.
Warren is also the author of The Purpose-Driven Church and The Purpose-Driven Life. The former book has sold over 1 million copies in 20 languages, the latter has been No. 1 on the New York Times best-seller list. For churches that want to grow, Warren’s model seems the recipe du jour, imitated by churches across the denominational spectrum in this country and around the world.