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Editor's note: Warren has announced that his son Matthew on Friday, April 5, 2013, died due to suicide after a long struggle with depression.
Rick Warren is going to the moon. Over ten years ago, the pastor of Saddleback Church in Orange County, California, authored The Purpose Driven Life, a book he wrote in about seven months while on sabbatical.
More than 32 million copies of the book have since been sold, making it the best-selling nonfiction hardback in history and catapulting the 59-year-old Southern Baptist onto the global media stage. He's been anointed as the next Billy Graham—as well as pilloried in the media as antigay, a schmoozer with dictators, and a false teacher.
This year, Warren is republishing The Purpose Driven Life with fresh material, and launching a public campaign based on the book's subtitle: "What on earth am I here for?" Warren describes his Peace Plan, the global outreach effort connected to the book, as the equivalent of President Kennedy's moon shot—putting a man on the moon within a decade. Warren's focus is the 3,400 people groups without Christians or a Bible in their own language.
Warren has set the deadline for reaching these 3,400 groups at the end of his final decade as Saddleback's senior pastor. In 1980, Warren vowed to retire in 2020, after 40 years in the pulpit. He spoke recently with Christianity Today senior editor, global journalism Timothy C. Morgan.
Was it really necessary to relaunch the second most translated book in the world, next to the Bible?
I started spending time with the 20-something crowd, and I realized a girl who was 12 years old when the book came out is now 22. She needs to know the purpose of her life as much as her parents did.
What I learned in the past 10 years was from reading thousands of letters. The two greatest barriers that keep people from fulfilling their purpose are envy and people-pleasing. Envy is the idea that I must be like you ...