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    Rick Warren Asks Saddleback for $900k, Receives over $2.4 million!

    Rick Warren Asks Saddleback for $900k, Receives over $2.4 million!

    It all started last Wednesday when Rick Warren posted an urgen plea on the Saddleback Church website:  "THIS IS AN URGENT LETTER unlike any I've written in 30 years. Please read all of it and get back to me in the next 48 hours."

    In the letter to the Saddleback family, Warren asked the church to help make up for a year-end $900k shortfall.

    After a media and blog firestorm, an update to the initial post was made, giving some additional clarification:

    BACKGROUND: The cause of our financial shortfall was NOT a management issue but simply by the way Christmas occurred in this year's calendar. After 10 packed Christmas services, and with Christmas Day on Friday, many people were out of town or too tired to come back for weekend services, so the unusually low attendance created an unusually low offering. That is understandable

    MEDIA: Because our church attracts a lot of attention, the media will undoubtedly report my letter- but only partially, not telling the whole story. It is likely that none of the positive end-of-the-year reports of your service to the community and none of your amazing accomplishments as a church family in 2009 will be reported. They may get some facts wrong or even misjudge our motivations. I know this is frustrating, but don't let it bother you.

    According to the LA Times, Saddleback brought in more and $2.4 million dollars as a result, since last Wednesday.  Rick announced the total at services over the weekend, and confirmed that this was the amount that people had turned in so far in person, and did not include many other donations that had been mailed.  Warren used the occasion to preach a message on 'Radical Generosity'.

    Here's more from the LA Times story:

    “I wasn’t surprised by this offering, as Saddleback is famous for radical generosity,” Warren said during tonight's service.

    Warren represented the total with a display that included 24 parishioners rising to represent $100,000 each, said spokeswoman Kristin Cole. Virtually all of the individual donations were for less than $1,000, according to the church, she added. More donations remain to be counted.

    The church has launched similar appeals before, raising $1.6 million for victims of the 2004 Asian tsunami and $1.7 million for victims of Hurricane Katrina, which struck New Orleans in 2005.

    “I say without fear of contradiction that I don’t know of a more generous church,” Warren said in a news release.

    The church does not release comprehensive information about its budget -- or even a budget total -- so it’s difficult for those outside the leadership to get a clear picture of church finances.

    The church was never in danger of going under, Cole said. But without the infusion, the church would not have been able to accomplish its ministerial work as planned, she said.

    Like other charitable organizations, Saddleback has had to do more with less, even as it expanded its work in some areas, Cole said.



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    1. Peter Hamm on Mon, January 04, 2010

      We had a special collection at our church on Christmas Eve (we don’t take offerings on Christmas and Easter normally) specifically for helping the poor and downtrodden in our community and the world.

      In this difficult economy, we got nearly double our goal.

      The church is generous. Praise God!

    2. JOB on Mon, January 04, 2010

      Does anyone know if Saddleback released their plea to the media, or just posted it on their website?  I would be interested to know that.

    3. Peter Hamm on Mon, January 04, 2010


      Nobody is reporting that they released their plea to the media, but it is a big church, so posting on the web site is in essence telling everyone, whether they want to or not.

      Are you assuming they did indeed issue a press release or some such? Pardon me, but you do seem to always rush to find fault with Saddleback and Warren, so I would be guessing you are looking for more fuel for their fire.

    4. Anonymous� on Mon, January 04, 2010

      IMO IMO� this is another way of fleecing the flock� to ask for money to cover a program is ridicules� if they were raising the money to help the community or families during this economic crisis for Christmas� that would be fine� but to offset costs because of low attendance for a program is pressing to far� as pastors we must take into consideration the economic and social situations when planning our programs� and this year being one of financial uncertainties� I would have if not cancelled the program, subsidized it. Instead of having a full orchestra, the church choirs would have done fine�
      Are excuses being made because it was Rick Warren that asked for the money?

    5. Peter Hamm on Mon, January 04, 2010


      Do you know how much these big churches spend and offer in assistance to people in the community? You also are asking them to cut things after the eleventh hour. It’s too late to change the budget at this point, do you get that?

    6. Anonymous� on Mon, January 04, 2010

      I�m not asking them to cut things after the 11th hour� I�m asking them to consider the cost before the 11th hour� when planning budgets you can�t spend more then what you have�that creates deficits�  when we sit down and plan for the year� we take all this into consideration� that�s apart of leadership�
      I asked if the money was used for helping the community or for entertainment. I would agree to the raising of the funds for helping the community� but I disagree in raising funds for entertainment�

    7. Gman on Mon, January 04, 2010

      So since he only wanted $900 000 and got more than that ...think the Church would mind send me the extra for the ministry here? Heck I’ll take only 10% of it.

    8. Peter Hamm on Mon, January 04, 2010

      Gman, Maybe if you asked, they would do that! Stranger things have happened.

      Anonymous, just because their programs are entertaining doesn’t mean they’re spending money on entertainment. I think that comment betrays your pre-disposition here.

    9. Joshua Symonette on Mon, January 04, 2010

      Why do we go back and forth about things we don’t know firsthand? If Rick was able to get people to respond to a need, so what. Sure, we can all make assumptions and speculate based on the information that was released. But that is a waste of time. If his motives are impure or he mishandled, mismanaged or just missed it altogether, then he has to answer to God.

    10. Anonymous� on Mon, January 04, 2010

      My only pre-disposition is poor budgeting no the behalf of Rick Warren and his financial administrators at his church� I truly believe in putting priorities ahead of everything� when planning we look at all aspects of ministry and come to conclusions what we could do without�
      Knowing the economic situation that plagued our country way back in late parts of Dec 08�why not take that into consideration when planning for 09?
      According to the article� because of the low attendance for the Christmas program� Rick Warren asked for 900, 000 in donations to offset the costs for the program� ($900,000 for one program)� now tell me that�s not poor budgeting�

    11. Peter Hamm on Mon, January 04, 2010

      Anonymous writes [now tell me that�s not poor budgeting�]

      Okay… I will.

      It’s not poor budgeting.

    12. Anonymous� on Mon, January 04, 2010

      if it’s not poor budgeting… then what is it?

    13. Anonymous� on Mon, January 04, 2010

      If you planned on doing an event let�s say the 2nd week of this month� and you see you�re short $900,000� do you still allow the event to go on� or do you make the pastoral call and cancel the event?

    14. Peter Hamm on Mon, January 04, 2010

      You can’t say it’s poor budgeting if you don’t know all the facts, so I won’t say it.

      As far as your second question? My biggest evangelistic event of the year?

      No brainer, I ask my congregation for help to pull it off… Oh, wait, that’s what Rick did! I am all about getting the seeker to hear the Gospel message, and those events are a fantastic way to do it. Sorry you just see it as money spent on entertainment… It isn’t that at all.

    15. Anonymous� on Mon, January 04, 2010

      I don�t see it as money spent on entertainment� I just believe you could get the gospel out without spending that kind of money� either people are going to be drawn by the Gospel and the power of the Holy Spirit� or by programs put on by men� when I study the Bible� I see how men were added daily to the church by the preaching of the Gospel� not by big name entertainers or 100 piece bands� I wonder how much money Peter needed to preach the gospel when 3,000 souls gave their lives to God. 
      I love programs� please don�t get me wrong� I�m totally into using programs as a tool to reach the world� I�m into using technology in my sermons� I just don�t let those things be the factor in my preaching�
      I would have more respect for the situation had Rick Warren brought his congregation together before the program and asked their opinion/vote if the program should go forward� you don�t ask folks to pay for something they didn�t enjoy� (That�s just my opinion)� this is just another ought the world is going use against the church� many already have a perception of the church always asking for money�

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