Christian media, Church Leaders reported about Saddleback Church's 40th anniversary for parishioners at the main campus in Lake Forest, California held on Feb. 9.
Despite the continuous rain shower, thousands of attendees enjoyed fellowship, family activities and movie screenings of the megachurch's history.
Members from 14 satellite campuses of Saddleback gathered at Lake Forest instead of offering their weekend services separately. Special guests from the church's four international campuses were also present.
In 1980, Rick and Kay Warren began Saddleback church, as a Bible study group in their condo. The first service was held on Easter Sunday of the year in the high school gym. Since then, Saddleback has baptized more than 50,000 people, with an average of 30,000 of them coming regularly.
Reverend Rick Warren was named one of Time magazine's "100 Most Influential People in the World" in 2005 and is also a best-selling author of "The Purpose Driven Life." His wife, Kay Warren, is also a writer and has become a mental health advocate since their son Matthew's 2013 suicide. Meanwhile, Saddleback's 40th anniversary festival coincided with Kay Warren's birthday.
Prior to the event, the church posted invitations on its websites and social media. "Many lives have changed over the past few decades, hope has been restored, and God has made miracles through our churches and through our families. So we'd like to celebrate with everyone who was a member of Saddleback."
When the Warrens started Saddleback, their goal was to stay in one place for a long time. Rick Warren told the Orange County Register, a California daily news, that "Kay and I had a rather ridiculous promise when we were 25 that we will not move but we would give 40 years to one location and we wouldn't go to another church.
"I have been offered various kinds of jobs with Christian groups, seminaries and denominations. But we've never moved, and when we gave our first service of the year, we thought we did, we kept our promise to dedicate 40 years to one place, and we loved the people here," he said, adding that "human relations, hospitality, and community outreach were the keys to the success of Saddleback."
As a prelude to this year's anniversary, Saddleback launched a campaign called "Daring Faith" with goals for the number of attendees, donations and global influence. On February 2nd, Warren delivered a next-step of plans for the "2020 Vision" message, including a "world-class restorative retreat center that comforts various pain."