Rick Warren's best-selling book The Purpose Driven Church has become a bit of a classic since its release in 1995. Rick is the pastor of Saddleback Church in California and the founder of pastors.com, an excellent web site resource for church leaders.
Each church is driven by something - tradition, personality, or programs. Rick proposes that churches should be driven by the purposes of God. Based on his study of the Bible, he proposes five core purposes of every church:
- Worship - "Love the Lord with all your heart"
- Ministry - "Love your neighbour as yourself"
- Evangelism - "Go and make disciples"
- Fellowship - "Baptising them"
- Discipleship - "Teaching them to obey"
A healthy church has a balance of these five purposes. All of them are pursued with passion. None of them are to be neglected. Churches need to do everything 'on purpose'.
Rick goes on to show how Jesus attracted crowds of people from the local community. Yet he never said, "I will build by crowd." He loved the crowds but he also called them to greater commitment. Those who responded became his disciples and part of his core team. He trained them to go and reach even greater crowds of people with the message of the kingdom. The church today is called to do the same.
This book is essential reading for any church leader or person passionate about seeing the church become all it can in our generation.