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WMU’s Mission Leader explores Warren’s mission commitment

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (BP)–A small tent church where 50 adults cared for 25 AIDS orphans in South Africa helped spark his wakeup call to the HIV/AIDS crisis, Rick Warren says in the spring edition of Missions Leader, published by Woman’s Missionary Union.

“The realization that that tiny church was doing more to help the hurting than my mega-church punctured my heart,” Warren told Missions Leader, recounting his visit to the African country several years ago.

“That night I sat under the African sky and thought, ‘How did I miss the AIDS crisis?’ Then I asked God: ‘What else have I been missing? What are the problems so big that no one else has been able to solve them?’”

Warren said God identified five problems, which he has labeled the “evil giants,” as spiritual emptiness, corrupt leadership, poverty, disease and illiteracy.

Steve Heartsill, WMU editorial/program administrator, conducted the question-and-answer session with Warren exploring not only the HIV/AIDS crisis but also Warren’s call to ministry, his passion for missions and his ideas for passing a passion for missions on to the next generation.

Warren is senior pastor of California’s Saddleback Church and author of the best-selling book, “The Purpose-Driven Life.”

Warren, who garnered both praise and criticism for Saddleback’s recent global AIDS summit, is combating the “evil giants” through what he has called a “P.E.A.C.E. Plan.” With Jesus Christ as model, the P.E.A.C.E Plan calls Christians to: Plant churches, Equip servant leaders, Assist the poor, Care for the sick and Educate the next generation. Warren’s goal is to mobilize 1 billion disciples for the PEACE Plan by the year 2020.

In the Missions Leader interview, Warren, a fourth-generation Southern Baptist, said a passion for missions begins with the realization that God created each person to bring Him joy.

“What brings God joy is discovering the life mission He custom-designed us to fulfill,” Warren said. “Whether you are talking about your own family, your friends, your church family or the next generation of missions leaders, passion for missions begins with a passion for God and a desire to please Him because of our love for Him and His love for us.”

Warren said another factor in developing a passion for missions is helping people realize that everyone is capable of making a difference.

“It doesn’t matter how young or old you are, whether you’ve been a believer a short time or many years, whether you’ve ever had any training or not,” Warren said. “Once you get started serving God in the mission He created you for, once you experience what it’s like for God to do His work through you, passion takes care of itself.”

WMU’s Missions Leader is a quarterly planning tool for all missions leaders in the church, including WMU directors and leaders, pastors and other church staff.
To read the full Missions Leader article with Rick Warren, visit www.wmu.com/rickwarren. For Missions Leader subscription information, visit www.wmustore.com or call WMU Customer Service toll-free at 1-800-968-7301.

    About the Author

  • Amy Whitfield

    Amy Whitfield is executive director of communications at The Summit Church in Durham, N.C.

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