Tossing out his iconic collection of aloha shirts isn't the only big change Saddleback Church's Rick Warren is making these days. His 2005 signature strategy for global missions, the PEACE Plan, is now PEACE 2.0 and includes the PEACE Coalition, a three-legged stool of private, public, and church partnerships, as well as a new focus on reconciliation and civil discourse. Timothy C. Morgan, CT's deputy managing editor, interviewed Warren at length in recent months to survey these changes.
Why don't you wear Hawaiian shirts any more?
I threw them all away. It started becoming a shtick. Every time I'd read a newspaper [it would] say: "Rick Warren, the Hawaiian-shirted preacher." I wasn't making a fashion statement out of this. I dress for comfort. I haven't worn a Hawaiian shirt in two years. I don't even own one.
The mainstream media often use the Billy Graham yardstick to measure your ministry. Doesn't that get annoying after a while?
I'm very tired of it. I have said many times, there is no successor to Billy Graham. Who was Luther's successor? Who was Wesley's successor? God uses individuals in individual ways. If there is any successor to Billy Graham, it's Franklin, who has continued to do evangelism. Most media only have two stories: build you up or tear you down. They are always looking for "the next big thing" to build up.
Did the Saddleback Civil Forum meet your expectations?
Oh, beyond expectation. The superlatives used by the media elite were absolutely astounding. The number-one goal was to out-think and out-love unbelievers. The other thing I wanted [was] to talk about issues that have a longer-lasting effect. A hundred years from today, how much oil costs is not going to be an issue. But the kind of leadership the ...