The first surprise was special music; it was Jaci Velasquez, who used that service to debut her new album, Unspoken. At this time she had already won six Dove Awards, and issued over 3 gold albums and 2 platinum albums. Jaci went on to sell over 3.5 million albums and appear on more than 50 magazine covers. A larger church can access the best talent, and there is a lot of talent in Los Angeles.
The second surprise, I came to
learn, was a Rick Warren trademark: the shared sermon. In the middle of the
sermon, Warren will introduce someone else who will bring a part of that
message. As the theme that Sunday was volunteering to make a difference in the
community, that particular Sunday in 2003 as a part of the sermon we heard from
Mrs. Rick (Kay) Warren on her experience of volunteering in Africa, Robert K.
Goodwin (President and Chief Executive Officer of former President Bush=s Points of Light Foundation), and the
African director of an orphanage supported by Saddleback that had been flown to
LA for the service. The shared sermon is one aspect of a frequently quoted
phrase at Saddleback: AIt=s not about you.@
I was impressed that the focus of the worship was not the preacher, Rick
Warren, but upon the people of God – including Rick Warren.
A third surprise explained the tables set up outside in the large outdoor narthex. We were all encouraged to visit the various community service agencies and ministries, each with their own table, and sign up as a volunteer before we left that day. Not some day, but that very day. A key theme of these churches is the work to intentionally eradicate hypocrisy. This was my first experience with a Saddleback AMinistry Fair.@ A few minutes later Rick Warren walked up to me and my fellow students and chatted with us, welcoming us to Saddleback. It was certainly an astonishing day.
NOTE (my response)
The quote is from Major League Disciple Making: An Overview of the Best Research on the Cell Church, an online course developed for the Institute for Discipleship at www.BeADisciple.com in 2009. Course materials, including these lectures, can be downloaded here: http://www.disciplewalk.com/IFD_MLD_Class_Links.html
All Scripture quotations are from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Please review the page How and Why We Use Quotes.