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Rick Warren Knows How to Use His Influence for Good Purposes, Says His Biographer

Contact: Ron Keener, Church Executive, 800-541-2670 ext 204

MEDIA ADVISORY, May 5 /Christian Newswire/ -- Rick Warren, the Saddleback pastor, has learned how to put his influence to good purposes. As his books on The Purpose Driven Church and The Purpose Driven Life became best sellers, "very early on he saw that as an opportunity to exert a pastoral influence in circles that few pastors ever have the chance to travel, and he adopted an attitude of what he would later call a 'stewardship of influence.'"

That observation of biographer Jeffrey Sheler on "Prophet of Purpose: The Life of Rick Warren" (Doubleday 2009) is an insider view of the well known preacher. Sheler shared the comments with Church Executive, the leadership and management magazine, in its May issue.

Sheler says the most unknown fact about Warren is his "calculated efforts to expand his circle of influence." "He himself characterizes it entirely as a 'God thing' that simply fell into his lap," says Sheler, former religion editor for U.S. News & World Report.

"To him, part of the idea of stewardship meant that he needed to approach these opportunities proactively [to speak and appear on the national stage] rather than passively and find ways to multiply the opportunities and maximize the impact.

"Sometimes, from the outside, these efforts are perceived as little more than self promotion and social climbing, and there are plenty of critics who have called him out on that," says Sheler. But he says that a closer look would see that it is not Warren who benefits but "the tens of thousands of bi-vocational pastors he has personally mentored over the years and the millions of poor in Africa and elsewhere who are being helped as a result of his mobilization of thousands of Christian volunteers around the world."

Sheler told Church Executive that Warren "sees the world as overwhelmingly and increasingly religious, and he is convinced that only the world's religions--plural--have the ability, the will and the human resources to tackle some of the world's most intransigent social problems."

Church Executive has launched a new, robust, fulsome website at www.ChurchExecutive.com that is designed to be a daily and weekly changing resource for church leaders about the business side of church life. You can read the Rick Warren article there -- plus a contrarian view of the place of sports in churches and the present culture by Shirl Hoffman, author of "Good Game: Christianity and the Culture of Sports" (BaylorU Press).