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Rick Warren and Reader's Digest Association Create A Multi-Platform Partnership to Serve Purpose Driven Readers

New Purpose Driven Connection to Deliver Spiritual Content and Community in Category-Busting Formats Worldwide


Contact: Larry Ross, Whitney Kelley, 972-267-1111, whitney@alarryross.com


LAKE FOREST, Calif., Nov. 24 /Christian Newswire/ -- Dr. Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church and founder of the 162-nation Purpose Driven network of churches, today announced an extensive partnership with Reader's Digest Association Inc. (RDA) to publish content for the Purpose Driven Connection movement in a variety of high-tech and high-touch formats worldwide. Using the international staffs and global networks of both organizations will allow rapid, synergistic development of tools, training and community to service the millions of readers of Warren's book, "The Purpose Driven Life."


"Since the book was published, we've received hundreds of thousands of requests from readers asking for more help," said Warren. "So we reached out to Reader's Digest Association for assistance, since they publish in 79 nations." The Purpose Driven Network, begun in 1985, has focused exclusively on pastors, training over 500,000 church leaders around the world.  This new, second network, Purpose Driven Connection, will service the general public.


The first three formats, to be rolled out in early 2009, will include a quarterly magazine titled "Purpose Driven Connection," and small group multimedia materials for a national "40 Days of Love" emphasis. Small Group DVD lessons and discussion workbooks will be included in every issue of the magazine. A state-of-the-art Purpose Driven Connection social networking Web site will go online simultaneously. Warren sees more than a dozen formats emerging as the community grows and connects.

"We are excited about this new partnership and its unprecedented potential for exponential impact, especially in the 68 countries where local churches have launched the PEACE plan," said Warren, who will be heavily involved in each element.  "We stopped several successful projects a couple of years ago to start preparing for this. The concept of the Purpose Driven Connection is so huge, it took three years to get to this point of announcement. We're thrilled to finally get to talk about it prior to the launch early next year. It is unlike anything else and has the potential to change hundreds of millions of lives."


The "Purpose Driven Connection" magazine will serve as the doorway and index to all the other features and benefits of membership. It will include stories of "everyday" people living out God's purposes and making a difference with their lives. While Warren will serve as editor-in-chief across all platforms, he will receive no remuneration. "This is a labor of love," he said. "We want to help pastors help everyone else."


The framework of the entire platform will be "purpose driven," designed to reinforce the five purposes Jesus identified in the Great Commandment and Great Commission: Knowing Christ, Relating to His family, Growing in Christ, Serving Christ, and Sharing Christ. This corresponds to the five biblical purposes of worship, fellowship, discipleship, ministry and missions as detailed in Warren's best-sellers, "The Purpose Driven Life" and "The Purpose Driven Church." Since "The Purpose Driven Life" was released in 2002, it has sold more than 30 million copies worldwide and has been read by 19 percent of Americans (2006 Baylor Research Survey).


The writers Warren has enlisted for the premier issue of "Purpose Driven Connection" are a "who's who" of Christian authors, including Tim Keller, Max Lucado, Bill Hybels, Ann Graham Lotz, Chip Ingram, Lee Strobel, Kay Warren and others.   Also included in the first issue are excerpts from Warren's personal interview with President-Elect Barack Obama at the recent Saddleback Civil Forum. Practical action steps for growth and unique opportunities for service and mission will accompany the articles and point readers to possibilities for participation on the Web site.


"It is rare indeed to be able to call something 'revolutionary' in our highly-developed world," said Mark Affleck, executive director of Purpose Driven Connection. "This is just that – an entirely new and never-before-seen model for how people can not only discover their purpose in life, but to also interact with others through the online community, small group network and the global PEACE initiative."


Saddleback Church's PEACE Plan, initiated by Warren, is an effort to mobilize millions of Christians to fight the five global giants of spiritual emptiness, self-centered leadership, extreme poverty, pandemic disease and illiteracy/education through Promoting reconciliation, Equipping servant leaders, Assisting the poor, Caring for the sick and Educating the next generation. Warren is also the originator of the PEACE Coalition, a network of networks creating partnerships between the public, profit and faith sectors. In fact, Warren will be honoring President George W. Bush in a ceremony on World AIDS Day with the International Medal of PEACE, in honor of his unprecedented humanitarian contributions to global health during his administration.


 "We are absolutely delighted to be working with Rick Warren and the entire Saddleback team," said Alyce Alston, president of RDA's Home & Garden and Health & Wellness affinities.  "From a business perspective, this is one of our company's most important and far-reaching ventures ever – spanning the globe with several of our core communication capabilities. Together we are creating an authentic category-busting multimedia suite that will help millions of people in their daily lives – including those who already follow the purpose driven principles, as well as seekers everywhere looking for greater fulfillment."


"The 'Purpose Driven Connection' magazine will be consistent with our highest editorial standards of excellence," said Frank Lalli, RDA's vice president of international editions and magazine development. "In the best traditions of RDA, we are commissioning extraordinary photographers, illustrators and writers to travel the world and capture real-life stories that will change how readers think and inspire them to take action to improve society." 


Warren is a pastor, author, global strategist and innovator, being called "America's Most Powerful Religious Leader" and listed among the "100 Most Influential People in the World" (TIME); "15 People Who Make America Great" (Newsweek); "One of America's 25 Best Leaders" (U.S. News and World Report); and "America's Pastor" ("USA Today"). Warren founded Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., with one family in 1980, and today it is one of America's most influential congregations with over 100,000 names on the church roll, a 120-acre campus, and more than 300 community ministries.


Purpose Driven Communications helps church leaders establish, transform and maintain healthy, growing congregations built around the God-given purposes of worship, fellowship, discipleship, ministry and missions.


The Reader's Digest Association Inc. is a global multi-brand media and marketing company that educates, entertains and connects audiences around the world. The company uses its editorial and content-delivery skills to serve communities.  With offices in 45 countries, it markets books, magazines, music, video and educational products reaching 100 million households in 79 countries. It publishes 92 magazines, including 50 editions of Reader's Digest, the world's largest-circulation magazine; operates 65 branded Web sites generating 18 million unique visitors per month; and sells approximately 68 million books, music and video products across the world each year.  Its global headquarters are in Pleasantville, N.Y.