Rick and Kay Warren have influenced my family's life more than any other person currently alive!! Just about 5 years ago Colin and Mike went on their first Saddleback sponsored mission trip to Africa and came home with very different life goals with hearts that were immensely expanded. While attending Saddleback, we allowed Rick and Kay to 'brain wash' us. haha!! They taught us how to live beyond our own little lives and how to live BIG. They taught us to be generous, kind, loving, and inclusive all the way to the most invisible orphan in Africa. Many who have never been under the influence of Rick Warren are sceptical of him because of his huge success. Others judge him because of his lack of legalistic approach to Christianity. I can tell you from all of my experience that nothing negative I hear concerning Rick or Kay Warren is true. They really do live what they preach and WAY under the lavish life that they could be living. Rick and Kay give away 90% of their income and take no salary from the church; even paying back their salary from the first 20 years of pastoring.
I'll never forget the day I walked out the doors of the sactuary into the crowded patio where 3,000 members were filing through to the parking lot and seeing Rick sitting in the grass holding a lady's hands praying with her. Tears rolling down their cheeks. It wasn't shocking to me to see him as such, but reminded me that not even Rick is too busy or lofty for real life. How many times have I been too busy to SEE someone?!!
Rick and Kay will always be remembered as the one's who inspired us to begin Heart 4 Africa. They will also be honored by the 10,000 members who have traveled to every country in the world bringing help and love to the less fortunate. The powerful influence they have had on the congregation comes from living what they believe; which is "EVERYone is a minister."
As I walked up to greet Rick for this photo shoot he says in his bubbly cheerful voice, "Have you hugged your pastor today?!!" He is one of the happiest people I have ever met. We did lot's of other photos that were candid and energetic however I like to keep those private and at their disposal. But believe me, they are a fun, happy and gracious family both on stage and behind the scenes. Which is why I believe his church family continues to grow.
Many people's lives have been radically enhanced and transformed by Rick's book Purpose Driven Life. I highly suggest reading it if you are looking for real meaning and significance.