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A Purpose-Driven Postponement

Rick Warren's latest book delayed as he takes care of his sick wife and rapidly growing church.

The author of the bestseller The Purpose-Driven Life will delay the release of his newest book for at least one year. Tentatively titled Healing Choices, executives at Howard Publishing, along with Rick Warren and co-author John Baker, decided to hold the release of the book that was due in bookstores in August.

"Rick's wife has been ill with cancer, and the growth of Saddleback [Church] has exploded," said Greg Petree, vice president for marketing. "With all of that going on in Rick and John's lives, he has a lot more material that he wants to put into the book. He's had a lot more life experiences, and he wants to draw from these new life experiences a more current, more relevant book."

Petree said it's unclear how long the book will be delayed, but it is on hold until at least 2005. Howard already has a manuscript for the book, and could still release it. But Petree said the decision to wait "was a no-brainer." Petree said the wait would allow Warren to write a better book and do more to promote it. "We felt like we would have a better product to put out there," Petree said.

But the small publisher surely isn't planning to shelve Warren's follow-up to The Purpose-Driven Life indefinitely. "We're certainly not going to wait too long. It's too important to all of us," Petree said. He expects marketing for the book to exceed $300,000.

The book, with more material from Warren, will include stories told by participants in Saddleback's recovery program along with teaching on the beatitudes from Warren. Co-author Baker works with the Saddleback's Celebrate Recovery program, which was recently praised in a speech by President George Bush. Howard Corporate Vice President Ryan Howard said the book is about making choices and dealing with hurts in life.

"I know there's going to be some incredible insights because of what he's been through," Howard said.

The Purpose-Driven Life is in its 62nd week on The New York Times bestseller list and has sold nearly 13 million copies. In its article on the postponement yesterday, Publishers Weekly called him "one of the hottest authors around right now."

Related Elsewhere:

Before The Purpose-Driven Life was published, Christianity Today's November 2002 cover story said that Warren may be America's most influential pastor.

Earlier this month, a Christianity Today editorial examined why The Purpose-Driven Life is so popular.

Time magazine profiled Warren last week.

Warren has written several articles for Christianity Today sister publication Leadership Journal, including a recent piece on The Passion of The Christ. Leadership also examined the popularity of The Purpose-Driven Life in its Fall 2003 issue.

Publishers Weekly noted that until the Warren book announcement, Howard had "been best known for its Hugs series of gift books, such as Hugs for Mom and Hugs for Friends."

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