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Rick Warren’s ‘Purpose-Driven Life’ tapped for Book of the Year honor

ORLANDO, Fla. (BP)–“The Purpose-Driven Life” by Rick Warren has been named the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association’s Book of the Year for 2003.

Two books published by the Broadman & Holman division of LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention, meanwhile, received Gold Medallion awards during the ECPA’s July 12 banquet held in conjunction with the Christian Booksellers Association’s annual convention in Orlando, Fla.

The B&H winners are:

— Oliver North’s inaugural novel, “Mission Compromised.”

— “Experiencing God Together” by Henry Blackaby and Melvin Blackaby in the Christian ministry category.

Additionally, in the missions and evangelism category, “Unveiling Islam,” a book by two Southern Baptist professors — brothers Ergun and Emir Caner — received a Gold Medallion.

Warren, pastor of one of the largest Southern Baptist churches in the country, Saddleback Valley Community Church in Lake Forest, Calif., called the ECPA’s Jordon Book of the Year award “a tremendous blessing from God,” noting particular gratitude “for the overwhelming support of retailers nationwide who’ve embraced this book.” Based on nominations by Christian retailers, the award is among the most significant and prestigious honors within the Christian publishing industry.

“Every day I receive letters from people whose lives have been changed by the Holy Spirit as they read this book,” Warren said. “And the retailers of America, by making the book available, played no small part in the transformation of these many lives.”

In addition, Warren thanked Christian publishers, saying, “I am a product of every book I’ve ever read, and because you printed books that transformed me, God then allowed me to write this book to help transform others.” The Southern California pastor’s first book, “The Purpose-Driven Church,” has become a paradigm for church health embraced by thousands of congregations globally.

The Purpose Driven Life, released by Zondervan last October, hit The New York Times best-seller list by the following January and has accumulated sales of more than 4 million copies in less than nine months. The book has been #1 on The New York Times hardcover advice list, #1 on the Publishers Weekly religion hardcover bestseller list, #2 on The Wall Street Journal hardcover nonfiction list, #7 on Amazon.com and #20 on the USA TODAY top 50 best-selling list.

North’s 605-page B&H book, released last September, is the first of a three-book deal with LifeWay. Set in the White House, the book’s central character is a Marine whose faith comes to the fore after he is picked to hunt down terrorists before they can attack the United States.

“Experiencing God Together” by the Blackabys is one of numerous resources flowing from the groundbreaking discipleship study “Experiencing God” by Henry Blackaby and Claude V. King from the early 1990s.

“Unveiling Islam” by the Caners, published by Kregel, is a presentation of the beliefs of Islam within the story of their own conversion from their upbringing in a strict Muslim home.

Ergun Caner is associate professor of theology and church history at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., and a former assistant professor in those fields at Criswell College in Dallas. Emir Caner is assistant professor of church history and Anabaptist studies at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C.

Warren’s Purpose-Driven Life teaches that God created individuals with five distinct purposes in mind: worship, fellowship, discipleship, ministry and missions. It takes the same groundbreaking concepts introduced in Warren’s 1995 Purpose-Driven Church and applies them to the individual, teaching that God wants everyone to live in balance between the five purposes.

The Purpose Driven Church received an ECPA Gold Medallion Award in 1996 and its sales total more than 1 million units in 21 languages.

Churches around the world are using The Purpose Driven Life in conjunction with “40 Days of Purpose,” a six-week emphasis that encourages entire congregations to begin living out God’s purposes for their lives.

Beyond Warren’s book, Saddleback member Stephen Arterburn, with Fred Stoeker and Mike Yorkey, won a Gold Medallion award for “Every Young Man’s Battle,” published by Waterbrook, in the youth category.

The Evangelical Christian Publishers Association is comprised of 280 member companies worldwide. Founded in 1974, ECPA is an international nonprofit trade organization serving its industry by promoting excellence, professionalism, sharing relevant data, stimulating Christian fellowship, raising the effectiveness of member houses and equipping them to meet the needs of the changing marketplace.

A complete list of Gold Medallion winners follows:

— Bibles: “The Message,” Eugene Peterson (NavPress).

— Reference Works/Commentaries: “Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary,” Clinton Arnold, editor.

— Fiction: “Mission Compromised,” Oliver North (Broadman & Holman).

— Biography/Autobiography: “Let’s Roll!” Lisa Beamer with Ken Abraham (Tyndale).

— Theology/Doctrine: “The Doctrine of God,” John Frame (P&R Publishing).

— Devotional: “Night Light for Parents,” James & Shirley Dobson (Multnomah).

— Inspirational: “My Heart’s Desire,” David Jeremiah (Integrity).

— Christian Living: “Authentic Faith,” Gary Thomas (Zondervan).

— Christianity and Society: “The Next Christendom,” Philip Jenkins (Oxford University Press).

— Missions/Evangelism: “Unveiling Islam,” Ergun Caner & Emir Caner (Kregel).

— Christian Ministry: “Experiencing God Together,” Henry Blackaby & Melvin Blackaby (Broadman & Holman).

— Christian Education: “When God Weeps Groupware,” Joni Eareckson Tada & Steve Estes (Zondervan).

— Preschool Children: “The New Bible in Pictures for Little Eyes,” Ken Taylor (Moody).

— Elementary Children: “All Is Well,” Frank Peretti (Integrity).

— Youth–“Every Young Man’s Battle,” Stephen Arterburn et al. (WaterBrook).

— Marriage: “Divorce-Proof Your Marriage,” Gary & Barb Rosberg (Tyndale).

— Family and Parenting: “Blessing Your Children,” Jack Hayford (Regal Books/Gospel Light).

— Gift Book/Poetry: “A Family Christmas,” James Dobson & G. Harvey (Multnomah).

— Bible Study: “My Heart’s Cry,” Anne Graham Lotz (W Publishing).

— Spanish: “Cristo Rey de reyes,” E.L Carballosa (Editorial Portavoz).
Based on reporting by Jon Walker & Art Toalston.

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