This weekend, I will begin teaching the most important series of messages we've ever taught in 23 years here at Saddleback church. We believe it is part of the beginning of a Spiritual Awakening, a Global Movement, a New Reformation.
During the five weekends of November, we'lll teach five messages on the P.E.A.C.E. plan: a strategy to have every small group in our church, and then tens of thousands of small groups in other churches, become engaged in solving the five biggest problems in the world: Spiritual Lostness, Lack of Godly Leaders, Poverty, Disease, and Lack of Education.
These giant problems are so big that neither the governmnent, nor all the NGOs (non-government organzations) can tackle them. There is only one group large enough to tackle these global issues- the Christian church in all its local expressions around the world.
Nothing else can compare to the distribution channel of the millions of churches around the world. Even in villages where you cannot find a clinic, a store, a school, or a post office, you can often find a church.
The PEACE Plan will address these five "giant" problems by Planting new churches... Equipping leaders... Assisting the poor...Caring for the sick... and Educating the next generation.
These problems, and the answers, are not new. But the way we intend to tackle them using the small groups of local churches in large numbers is revolutionary.
Each week in November we'll explain one of the 5 parts of the plan in detail. We've be listening, praying, and preparing for this launch for about a year, and we've sought the advice of respected national Christian leaders around the world. We have "tweaked" the plans often, and will continue to do so as we "learn by doing." Now we're ready to share the plan with our congregation, friends, and other interested congregations across America.
The bottom line is that we intend to reinvent mission strategy in the 21st century. As I stated, this will be a new Reformation. The First Reformation returned us to the message of the original church. It was a reformation of doctrine - what the church BELIEVES. This Second Reformation will return us to the mission of the original church. It will be a reformation of purpose- what the church DOES in the world.
In the first century, mission strategy was always congregationally based. The first missionaries were sent, supported, and accountable to local churches. The church at Antioch was the first to do this. There were no mission societies, mission boards, or parachurch organizations. Local churches accepted the responsibility for Jesus' Great Commission and his Great Commandment, and the growth of the church worldwide was explosive.
Today, most local churches are sidelined and uninvolved when it comes to missions. The message from most mission and parachurch organizations to the local church is essentially "Pray, pay, and get out of the way." But in the 21st century, Kay and I intends to help thousands of other local churches to move back to the frontline in missions, in compassion, and in providing the social services that historically the church provided. I believe the proper role for all the great parachurch and relief organizations is to serve local churches in a supportive role, offering their expertise and knowledge, but allowing the local churches around the world to be central focus and the distribution centers.
I deeply believe that any organization that marginalized or minimizes the local congregation's responsibility to "Go", or bypasses the local church's moral authority to fulfill the Great Commission, is out of sync with the strategy God intended, and modeled in the book of Acts.
The continuing sales of The Purpose Driven Life are quite amazing. We are almost at the tipping point where Purpose Driven Life becomes a national phenomena. It will hit 10 milion copies sold by the end of December and has been on the New York Times hardback bestsellers longer than any other book this year (40 weeks) A couple weeks ago I did 6 TV interviews including Fox News Live, ABC, NBC, and CBN, so this spiritual awakening is starting to get the attention of the media.
I now believe that know why God is blessing this book in such an unusual way. It is more than just a message thatGod wants to get out to everyone(which is huge). I now also see that God is using this phenomena to expand the platform for us to mobilize thousands of local churches for global world missions through the PEACE plan.
Right now about 5,000 more churches are doing the 40 Day of Purpose campaign, and now the program has been adopted by corporations (like Coke and Walmart) sports teams (like the Oakland Raiders and Green Bay Packers, NASCAR drivers, and the LPGA) schools, civic clubs, and even prisons. Last week, Paul Harvey told everyone to go buy a copy of PDL on his ABC radio broadcast. He said "This is one of the most insightful books I've ever read and I will read it again...and again...and again." In 2004 we expect over 15,000 more churches to participate.
The influence of thebook keeps amazing me everyday as I get requests for autographed copies. In today's stack: I signed books for 1) All the Supreme Court Justices 2) One for Fidel Castro (!) 3) One for the President of Peru (these last 2 were spanish editions), and I recently got a note saying that everyone on Air Force One was reading the book recently.
But all this is not about us. God's intention is much bigger than the book. It's all about the global glory of God! We intend to leverage the attention that the Purpose Driven Life has garnered to bring about a whole new way of thinking and acting in the church about our responsibility in the world. This is a stewardship we must be faithful to fulfill- with humility, generosity, and integrity
If you'd like to watch the PEACE series on the internet, we've created a special webpage for you to do so without being needing a Saddleback membership code.
All you need to do is click on this url www.saddleback.com/peaceplan . It will launch a page that will give you three options. 1. You can print an outline of the message. 2. You can watch one of our 6 weekend services online (times are given, and 3. You can watch the Archived services of any of the five services you miss in the PEACE plan series.
God bless you friends.
For the Global Glory of God! rick warren