Sunday, June 05, 2005

Rick Warren and Poverty

Warren mentions Saddleback's Peace Plan in the letter that he sent out earlier encouraging folks to participate in the campaign. Rick announced this plan on 17 April 2005 during Saddleback's 25th anniversary celebration (with over 30,000 folks in attendance) at Angel Stadium in Anaheim. Warren commented:

Billions of people suffer each day from problems so big no government can solve them. The only thing big enough to solve the problems of spiritual emptiness, selfish leadership, poverty, disease, and ignorance is the network of millions of churches all around the world.

From the Purpose Driven Life article on the announcement:

P.E.A.C.E. is an acronym that stands for "Plant churches, Equip servant leaders, Assist the poor, Care for the sick, and Educate the next generation," Warren said. The emphasis calls for church-based small groups to adopt villages where spiritual emptiness, selfish leadership, poverty, disease, and ignorance keep people from experiencing the kind of life God wants them to have, he said.


Saddleback's network of 2,600 small groups is starting the movement as each one adopts a village where it will seek to implement the P.E.A.C.E. Plan. The congregation has been testing the plan over the past 18 months as 4,500 church members have been involved in pilot projects.

The official rollout of The P.E.A.C.E. Plan will begin this October, when Pastor Rick Warren will mobilize the Saddleback Church congregation’s small groups to focus on 85 countries around the world. One of those countries will be the small country of Rwanda in eastern Africa, where a million people were killed in a 100-day genocide in 1994. A recent visit to the country convinced Warren that Rwanda had the right qualities for what he called "the first model of national cooperation" between churches, the government, and major businesses.

Warren said he was impressed with the spiritual depth of Rwandan church leaders who opposed the genocide and have led the people into a "spirit of hope and reconciliation." He also said he believes God wants to begin something new in a small country that the world ignores

Warren then introduced [Rwandan] President Paul Kagame as a "wonderful Christian leader" who has demonstrated his trustworthiness in rebuilding the country.

You can find out more about what Saddleback is doing to prepare for this initiative and more about what's envisioned in this Peace Plan here. You can also view a Saddleback internal powerpoint that they apparently used when launching their internal development process. Saddleback is apparently planning on launching this formally in October of this year.

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