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Don’t confuse ‘purpose driven’ with seeker sensitive, Warren counsels

LAKE FOREST, Calif. (BP)–In many minds, “purpose driven” and seeker sensitive are synonymous, but Rick Warren, founder of the Purpose Driven Church (PDC) strategy, says a church that is purpose driven may not necessarily target seekers.

Purpose driven churches, Warren said, are built around the five New Testament purposes of worship, evangelism, fellowship, discipleship and ministry.

“Purpose driven churches are committed to doing evangelism, not any one particular style or worship service,” Warren, senior pastor of Saddleback Valley Community Church in Lake Forest, Calif., said in addressing about 2,500 pastors from 34 different countries during a May 15-17 Purpose Driven Church conference.

“Thousands of purpose driven churches do not have a seeker service,” Warren said. “They do have evangelism in many different forms.”

In addition, Warren said being purpose driven is not even about one’s target group: “There are countless varieties of PDCs. I know of purpose driven churches that are aimed at postmoderns, ethnics, language groups, cowboys, singles, artists and surfers. They’re located all around the world in over 100 countries.”

Being contemporary in worship style also is not a sign of being purpose driven, Warren said.

“It doesn’t matter whether your worship style is liturgical, traditional, contemporary, country, charismatic, multi-sensory or casual,” Warren said. “What matters is that your style matches the people you are seeking to reach.”

The purpose driven strategy focuses on balance, health and strength, not size and shape, Warren said, noting there is no correlation between the size and strength of a church.

“The purpose driven strategy emphasizes church health, not becoming a mega-church,” Warren said. “And being purpose driven doesn’t limit you to urban Southern California. We hear from purpose driven churches in small towns, in suburbs, in the inner city” — churches from more than 100 denominations and associations.

“We even know of purpose driven house churches that are on boats on the Amazon River.”

Warren’s book, the “Purpose Driven Church,” has sold more than 1 million copies and has been translated into 18 languages. To learn more about purpose driven strategies, go to www.purposedriven.com.

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  • Jon Walker