Growing Edge


Is "The Purpose-Driven Church: Growth without Compromising Your Message and Mission" (Zondervan, 399 pages, $19.99) by Rick Warren a book I really need to read?

Four, fine-print pages of endorsements by a veritable who's who of American Protestant Christendom claim it's a break-through book, a must-read, a volume destined to be a modern classic. Hmmmm. I'm a pastor of no mean experience and education myself—a fellow church-growth practitioner. Can Warren produce 400 pages of worth in this hefty set of instructions?


In the opening pages, Warren waltzes with the necessary disclaimer that God (not Rick Warren) causes growth. He relates the story of Saddleback Church and offers a winning defense of large churches. Then he gives his thesis: "What is needed today are churches that are driven by purpose instead of by other forces."

"Plans, programs, and personalities don't last, " he writes. "But God's purposes will last."

Warren has gone about ministry the ...

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