Rick Warren: Many churches should look beyond indoor worship

Author and Pastor, Rick Warren, says that many persons have become accustomed to indoor worship that they cannot do without it. He made this statement in a recent interview with Relevant Magazine. He admitted that COVID-19 pandemic revealed a fundamental weakness in American churches. While some persons have stated that the U.S churches have undergone religious discrimination during the pandemic, Warren has a contrary view.

In his words: "COVID revealed a fundamental weakness in the Church. Most churches only have one purpose: worship. And if you take worship away, youve got nothing. They're in a hurry to get back to worship because thats all theyve got. Saddleback is built not on one purpose, but on five. You take one circle out; we've still got four other circles. We've got ministry going on. We've got mission going on. We've got fellowship going on. We've got discipleship going on. Those all stand on their own."

Warren is the Pastor of Saddleback Church in California Saddleback. Also, he is the author of The Purpose Driven Life and The Purpose Driven Church. Since March, he noted that the church has led more than 16,000 people to Christ. Of that number, more than 12,000 happened through personal, one-on-one witnessing by Saddleback members.

According to Warren, more focus should be placed on the challenges that COVID was creating, instead of worrying about restrictions on indoor worship. He continued;

"For instance, the first one was food. People needed food. There are a lot of people out of work, and theyre hand-to-mouth, and 126 food banks shut down in Southern California when COVID started, because there was a rush on food. 126 shut down. Saddleback had three food pantries already up and running. Typically, in a normal month, we feed about 2,000 families. The first month of COVID, we fed 45,000 families.

"Then we figured out, you don't have to have a building. We invented a new way of doing food pantry we called pop-ups. We said, Well come to your school. Well come to your neighborhood. Well come to your park. We partnered with every school district in Orange County. According to the recent report I got, over 13,000 Saddleback volunteers have served over 3.5 million pounds of food to over 300,000 families. Were the largest food distributor in Southern California.

"We teach our people that every member of the church is a minister. Everybodys a missionary too. You're a witness. Those people already know how to share their faith. When people would pull up, they'd talk to them about the Lord."

Furthermore, the renowned author said that U.S. churches have not faced discrimination if other activities in the country also faced restrictions. More so, they should encourage people to wear masks.

"They might have a discrimination case if theaters weren't closed, football games weren't closed. But they are. We're not being discriminated against. This is a safety issue. Regal Cinemas closed down 650 theaters. Disney laid off 28,000 people. We're not being discriminated against. Some churches are willing to gamble the health of their people. I'm not. The good shepherd prays for his sheep, cares for his sheep. One day I will be responsible. I don't want to be a super-spreader. I'm not doing this out of fear; I'm doing this out of love. You wear a mask for love your neighbors, yourself."

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