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Geoff Surratt Joins Saddleback Team as Director of Church Planting

New Position focuses on Saddleback's Church Planting Emphasis and Launch of Their New Church Planting Center

Contact: Kristin Cole, A. Larry Ross Communications, 972-267-1111, kristin@alarryross.com

LAKE FOREST, Calif., Jan. 25, 2011 /Christian Newswire/ -- Dr. Rick Warren and Saddleback Church announced today that Geoff Surratt has joined the Saddleback Church team as Director of Church Planting. Surratt will head up one of the key initiatives of church planting in Saddleback's Decade of Destiny Campaign, which includes the launch of a new church planting center later this year. Part of Surratt's responsibility will be to develop Warren's vision for planting churches through that center and other programs.

"Our dream is to plant 100 churches a year and plant a church in every strategic city in the world through the church planting center and other training, recruitment and networking programs," said Warren, founding pastor of the Orange County, Calif. mega church and author of the best-selling book, "The Purpose Driven Life." "Geoff brings incredible experience and a great heart for church planting that will enable us to enlist, equip, empower, encourage and expand across multiple generations of new church planters in order to fulfill our dream."

Surratt's brings valuable experience from serving as Pastor of Ministries at Seacoast Church, a multi-site congregation based in Charleston, S.C., where he grew Seacoast's expansion from one to 13 locations across three states and from 3,000 to over 10,000 weekend attenders. He has over 27 years of ministry background in a variety of roles in local churches, and works frequently with other churches across the country in strategic planning and staff development. He has also helped train leaders in Europe, Asia and Africa. Surratt is the author of Ten Stupid Things that Keep Churches from Growing as well as co-author of The Multisite Church Revolution and A Multisite Church Roadtrip.

"Pastor Rick Warren has an amazing vision to plant churches across America and around the world, and I look forward to leading the team that will execute that vision," said Surratt. "I have a sense of great anticipation to see how God will use me to be a minister of this new calling."

The vision of the new church planting center, which will be led by Director Dave Alford, is train between 200 and 300 future church leaders a year. The program, which will be one year in length, will consist of a practical, hands-on curriculum that seeks to recruit students from different leadership pools, including recent graduates, those currently in the ministry and those making a transition from another professional occupation. Other adapted and shorter programs will be offered through the center, including online training with the goal of establishing a support network of church planters throughout the world. The center will be located in the recently acquired retreat property at San Juan Capistrano, Calif.

Saddleback Church, founded by Warren and his wife Kay in 1980, is located in Southern California. The main campus is in Lake Forest, Calif., with nine additional campuses in the cities of Anaheim, Corona, Huntington Beach, Irvine, Laguna Woods, Orange, San Clemente and Rancho Capistrano. With an average weekly attendance of more than 22,000 across the 10 campuses, it is among the 10 largest churches in America. For additional information about the Saddleback and its ministries, visit www.saddleback.com.

NOTE TO EDITORS: for more information about Pastor Rick Warren and Saddleback Church, visit www.RickWarrenNews.com.