Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Fake Rick Interview With Fake Rick.

Fake Rick: What have you learned in the process of doing this blog since July 23rd? If anyone really cares...

Fake Rick: I've learned 5 things

1. For the most part, people like humor more than real dialogue, and people like gossip more than they like humor but they might like funny photoshop-ed images more than they like humor or dialogue or gossip.

2. Anti-FR readers have expressed a belief that Christians should not question or discuss Christian leaders in public, and that they should not be the focus of satire. Satire does have reputable history in church culture with Christianity Today's "Eutychus and His Kin" written anonymously by Edmund Clowney and Denny Ryberg. Also a HT to the Wittenburg Door and Lark News.

3. Kooky. Being anonymous and taking on a persona is quite easy to do on the web. Truth is very hard to verify and people will say and do things they would never do in a face to face conversation. I didn't publish many comments because they got too personal.

4. Email is viral and word of mouth really does work on the web. This blog was started with just 5 fake emails to people suggesting they check it out. Lets just say the visitors sky-rocketed from there. I didn't think anyone actually read blogs.

5. Right now, anyone can be an "insider" - I have never been on staff at Saddleback (or my spouse), I have never personally met Rick Warren. I don't physically attend the church services (only on the web). By subscribing to Google alerts, Saddleback & newsletters and Podcasts, Google & Flickr images - you become an insider. Yes, I do know people who have work/ed there, but there's no great revelations coming from them. Church culture is the same everywhere. My name is not Josh, Forest, Tommy, Rick, Chris, Steve, Jennifer, Paris, Cathi, Brian, John, Sally, Mike, Dowa, Larry, Bill, Joel, Victoria, Sam or Chuck.

Fake Rick: Why end the blog now?

Fake Rick: Good question thank you for asking that. Since Kay's book is about to come out (pre-order it here) and the conference on AIDS and several other important events - I'm not gonna be the guy who steals attention away from orphans in Africa! Plus, when the Dallas Morning News names you website of the week, you know you've jumped the shark. YOU GUYS NEED TO STOP READING AND GET BACK TO WORK!

Fake Rick: Why did you pick Rick Warren?

Fake Rick: Rick has a great sense of humor and is an international public figure not just a local pastor. I imagine that there are many days where Rick wishes he could speak his mind. So I set out to create a blog that does just that and also comments on some of the ridiculous antics that happen in our church culture.

Fake Rick: What do you think the real Rick would say to you?

Fake Rick: Looking at you is like looking in the mirror! No, not really. I think he might put his arm around my neck (half pastorly hug and half headlock) and say "It was kinda entertaining but unless people know who you are and who you aren't some of this comes across as malicious. If you don't like what we are doing, that's ok, go somewhere else, I don't need you to speak for me, thank you- but where can I get one of those t-shirts"

Fake Rick: what would you say to Real Rick?

Fake Rick: I'm sorry if I crossed the line. I love your passion for Jesus & ministry, your focus on the poor, and your commitment to innovate. As a member of the skeptical generation I still question some of the process. Grandpa you had to think some of it was funny.

Fake Rick: What are you going to do next?

Fake Rick: I asked that same question to Douglas Coupland (name dropper) once and he said "I'm going to get a sandwich"

Stay thirsty my friends.

(Fake) Rick

Got G.A.M.E.?

Ok, I have this "friend" and no he isn't anyone you know at SBCC - but his church has grown to a pretty good size. With that growth, he has decided that his real calling is not preaching just to his church but instead he is feeling called to be a Gospel Athletic Mime Event (G.A.M.E.) producer.

While he is a good preacher, he believes in the philosophy of "only when necessary use words." So he has launched a ministry as part of the church that will travel to professional sports events where the pastor will perform at half time with his mime troupe. They have already invested in a website, training materials, 48 sets of season tickets and sparkly uniforms. Their mission is to reach 25 million people through live events and televised half time shows with an interpretive Gospel dance. They have also created a campaign to teach other churches how to do sports miming with a robust direct mail marketing strategy and conference.

My friend has asked me to endorse the ministry and sent me floor seats for a performance at a Ducks game. While I believe there are many creative ways to share the gospel. I'm wondering if the Gospel is really best shared culturally in O.C. as an ice capades puppet ministry.

I went to the hockey game, and in between Wild Wing with Power Player Girls and the Zamboni was a black light version of "Genesis on Ice". I gotta say it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, infact it was worse. There is just something about Cane and Abel doing a traverse axis that doesn't sit right.

Where do people get the money to start these ministries? Do the tithers at this guys church know that is what their giving is being used for? If this is where my friend is truly being called, should he still also be the shepherding pastor of his church? Who approves these things before they launch?

Who Should I Be?

This year I'm trying to decide who I should go as for Halloween.
What do you think... Barack, King, Arnold or Jimi?

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Rethinking Rethink.

What do you get when you put a former Nixon script writer and host of VH1's Smartest Model, Jewish TV journalist, a global media tycoon- who owns one of the largest Christian publishers and one of the largest pay-per-view pornography networks, an 81-year-old tv pastor, the 41st President and former Director of the Central Intelligence, and two-time a World Heavyweight Boxing Champion?

The Crystal Cathedral's Rethink Conference. It bills itself as a "new" kind of conference with 30 Aha! Moments from 30 Leading Influencers. Be part of an unprecedented convergence of influential Christian and global leaders this January. Get inside the minds of some of today's top thinkers and innovators. What have they been thinking about in the last year? What keeps them up at night? What are they Rethinking?"

Obviously Rupert Murdoch is rethinking that owning media companies that produces un-holy content is justified.

Obviously Ben Stein is rethinking that it's okay to host a sexualized game/reality show on the MTV networks.

Obviously Larry King is rethinking that it is okay to have psychics like Paul Kurtz on his show and invite them to prove their ability to contact spirits while on the air.

Will they let anyone speak in a church these days? I know there has been a movement started by JoMax to bring the world's best and brightest to our conferences so that the church can learn from them. I'm just not sure how we decide who should speak at these things. If it was a secular conference - then no problem I wouldn't even mention it. I have said in the past "that if you can only work with people you agree with 100% then you won't get anything done, my wife doesn't even agree with me all the time" - when discussing coming together to work on the problem of AIDS. But... I'm not sure I want just anyone to share the pulpit to speak on direction for your ministry and your life. (and my wife is speaking at this conference)

Is it that we have already heard Erwin McManus speak at the last 14 different conferences this year? or is it that we don't have the same high regard(i.e. spend money on another conference) for Christian Leaders as we do for secular global leaders? Are we trying to copy the TED experience? Maybe it's like the President of Iran speaking at Columbia, maybe Schuller will stand-up and preface the introduction of the speakers with something like "take these guys and grapple with their ideas because they don't share our beliefs."

Should we live in a Christin ghetto and only read Christian books by Christian authors? No way. Should host Christian conferences at a church and promote those who promote an ungodly worldview?

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Monday, October 29, 2007

A New Name.

I'm worried that a percentage of our congregation and some staff are addicted to celebrityism. I have reasoned that my own un-solicited fame is going to be used for influencing good, but it concerns me that some people are more interested that their pastor has met Bono and recently appeared on Larry King. The reason these people attend the church is not for the right reasons, but they think somehow through association they are connected to fame.

So I've come up with a solution! I'm going to legally change my name. No longer will people be able to say "I go to Rick Warren's church." or "My pastor just met with the President, and is the best selling non-fiction author of all time."

Here were some of the possible names:

That Dude - this would work for the surfer group, but I'm not sure I would be invited to speak at the United Nations.

George Bush - there's already 2 of them, why not add another?

The greek symbol for teacher - although this didn't really work for Prince

Pastor Pastor - so nice, I'll name it twice

John 3:16 - people would think I'm the crazy guy in rainbow wig at football games

Dr. Purpose - sounds like a soda pop

Then it hit me - I'll change my name to Saddleback Church. That way when people drop my name they will be dropping the church's name. So the conversation would go something like this.

Joe: Where do you go to church?

Mike: I go to Saddleback

Joe: Oh yeah, that's with that pastor who wrote that best selling book, what's his name?

Mike: Saddleback Church

Joe: Right, but it says here that Saddleback Church will be on CNN. Who will?

Mike: Saddleback Church

Betty: Saddleback Church is great.

Mike: Saddleback Church is a reverse tither.

Betty: Who is? How does that work?

Sally: and...Saddleback Church got a lot of flack for having Obama speak.

Betty: Saddleback Church got flack for Osama speaking?

Mike: No, not Osama, Saddleback Church.

Sally: I heard Saddleback Church just got back from Uganda and London meeting with dignitaries.

Betty: Did the whole congregation go?

Mike: No, Just Saddleback Church

Joe: You mean, the purpose driven network didn't all go?

Mike: Yes

Betty: Where does Saddleback Church meet?

Sally: In Lake Forest when Saddleback Church is in town.

Betty: You mean there are other Saddleback Churches?

Mike: Yes

I'm sure the IRS is going to have fun with this one.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Fletch-errr Jonesin'

The folks in our church over at Toyota Rancho Santa Margarita have proposed a local ad campaign against the money grubbing folks over at Fletcher Jones Motorsports. They have asked if I would be their spokesperson to demonstrate that living in the O.C. doesn't mean having to drive a luxury car.

They said, Bill Walton is the spokesperson for Lexus and hardly anyone can remember what sport he even played. Don't worry - I won't have to appear in the Saturday TV commercials on Univision. It's a nice idea. Let me think about it boys.

Jitterbug Deal.

I'd like to thank my friend Dowa for his trip diary. While it was sometimes long and hard to translate, that's nothing new to us.


I'm glad to announce that we have just struck a deal with Arlene Harris at Jitterbug - "the cell phones for old people" company to use their brand for a new Saddleback Venue. It will be called Jitterbug for Saddleback. We realize that keeping our aging members will become increasing important over the next 20 years. This venue will target people in our community 65 or older.

Here's the details:

Keep it simple with Jitterbug for Saddleback.

At Jitterbug for Saddleback, we not only created a simpler
church services for old people, but a whole new experience that
puts our old people first.

Designed with old people in mind.

  • Easy to use. Soft plush cushions on all the chairs and powerful loud speaker make the sound loud and clear. Bigger, powerpoint slides and brighter text are easy to see.
  • Helpful. Live, in-person Jitterbug greeters will greet you by name, remember where you parked your car, provide assistance, and even fill your prescriptions during the service.
  • Friendly. This service starts at 3pm saturday night so that you won't miss the early bird dinners, or fall asleep during the service. The bulletin is printed on large 18x24 sheets of paper with 72 point type.
At Jitterbug for Saddleback, we make it simple to continue to go to church even when you get old.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Rock Star Karaoke. Day VIII.

(A new friend of mine is a guest blogger for a few days. His name is Dowa Manda and he is from the country of Malawi. I hope you enjoy his trip diary.)


Today was my full last day in fruit county. Mr. John joked that I could find a wife today and stay in America. I am 18 now and I should get married soon. Most men in Malawi only live to the age of 37. He brought me to the big church's Singles event. I was a little bit hesitant to go but Mr. John took me to South Coast Plaza Mall today and bought me a pair of pants and shirt from a dark store called Hollister. He said I look like a surf munthu.

I have never seen so many things to buy. I was embare-assed walking by a store called Victorian Secret, Mr. John said that I was not by myself.

Tonight at the big big church tent there was the Singles meeting called "Rock Star Karaoke" It was very very loud with lots of kuyimba and kuvina (singing and dancing). It was like a night club back home in dziko, but I have never been to one. I did not understand if this was for Jesus people or people who did not know Jesus. Some Chiphadzuwa--ngenge (beautiful girls, ladies) brought me up on stage to sing with them a song by... Bond Jovi???

The lyrics went like this...

Whooah, were half way there
Livin on a prayer
Take my hand and well make it -
I swear
Livin on a prayer

Tommys got his six string in hock

Now hes holding in what he used
To make it talk -
so tough, its tough
Gina dreams of running away
When she cries in the night
Tommy whispers baby its okay, someday

Weve got to hold on to what weve got

cause it doesn't make a difference If we make it or not
Weve got each other and thats a lot
For love -
well give it a shot

I did feel like a rockstar on stage in front of that many people. That's not like anything I've experienced in church.
After the event, Mr. John treated to us to a special American restaurant called McDonalds. We stayed in our car and drove up to a sign where Mr. John just called out numbers like songs in a hymnal. They asked if he wanted regular, large or super-sized - very strange customs. We drove around and they had our food already wrapped in paper inside a box inside a bag. Even the straws here have paper around them.

I asked Mr. John if he had ever slaughtered his nyama (meat) or watched as one was being killed. He said he never did, but understood that in America the process is very clean and merciful to the animals. I think it is Konsekonse mpeni wansengwa.

This has been an eye broadening trip for me. I will return to my little church with lots of stories and ideas. Rock Star Karoke Included! The day after tomorrow I will be back to my work at the fodya (tobacco) farm. Someday you might smoke one of the leaves I harvested.

I will continue to pray for you that you will not become distracted by the world around you and continue to focus on Jesus our Lord. I hope as well you will pray for the people who are ndikdwala (sick) and need chakuda (food) in Malawi.
Your graciousness has overfilled my hat.

Zikomo, Zikomo! - Dowa

Friday, October 26, 2007

The Fire. Day VII.

(A new friend of mine is a guest blogger for a few days. His name is Dowa Manda and he is from the country of Malawi. I hope you enjoy his trip diary.)


Today is my seventh day in fruit county. What a week this has been. Please pardon me as I have been unable to update my trip diary. On tuesday my gracious hosts Mr. John and Mrs. Jennifer had to leave their big beautiful home because of fire. At first we stood in their backyard with buckets from their swimming pools and strung together several njoka (garden hoses) and sprayed water over the back wall of their house, several neighbors pitched in and helped. I told them them that by passing buckes of water this is how we put out fires in Malawi. There was something special about this activity of coming together to pass this symbol of life. This was the first time I had actually seen neighbors, usually they drove their cars right into their garages.

A local military man with a black and white car eventually told us we had to leave. This was very very hard for Mrs. Jennifer because she had so many belongings she called "precious things" that she cried trying to decide what things to put in her car and what to leave behind. Mr. John only took a couple days of clothes and said that after seeing that I could live with only a couple pairs of clothes maybe he could too. The flames were about 4 times higher than the house and the skies were becoming a dark gray. Today is day six of 40 days of Purpose. Today I read about how life is a temporary assignment.

Mrs. Jennifer was very upset when we finally drove out of the neighborhood. We didn't know where we were going to go and I felt like I was an extra responsibility to them. Mr. John called several hotels first, but they were all full. He tired to make a joke and said maybe we could sleep in a stable tonight. So then he called several people from his smaller group, and one couple said we could stay with them.
Mrs. Jennifer kept calling her house. I didn't understand why until she said that as long as the machine that answers the phone turned on then the house would not have burned down.

Back home we also have seen many disasters like this where whole towns have had to pick up and walk somewhere else carrying only what they could. Today, while our people aren't losing their homes in Malawi, we are losing many love ones.

I have never seen so many emergency vehicles, and television trucks as here in fruit county. We watched as huge planes flew over dropping large amounts of natugoko. The smoke is getting thicker and my lungs feel like a panther is standing on them. I am very ndatopa (tired). For the last several days I have been a guest in the big big home of Mr. Larry and Mrs. Michelle, they live about 20 minutes from where the fire is. All week we have been watching the fires on tv. I was happy when I heard that Mr. John and Mrs. Jennifer had not lost their home.

But, I was also sad that the fire had been started by someone with a purpose. One of the neighbors said they think they saw the guy in a red truck. Mrs. Jennifer said that the big church had received so many full vehicles of donations of food and clothing that they have had to turn people away. This is amazing to me that America has so much that even in need they can't use it all.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Goldfish. Day III.

(A new friend of mine is a guest blogger for a few days. His name is Dowa Manda and he is from the country of Malawi. I hope you enjoy his trip diary.)

Moni. Moni!

Today is my second day in fruit county. Mr. John & Mrs. Jennifer and I went to the first of many services at the big church today. When we drove up the street I saw a huge square building with nice flowers out front. Mr. John said that wasn't the church but where the pastors had their desks. I had never seen so many automobiles of people who go to church. We parked so far away, a train with wheels picked us up to bring us to the big church. I sat next to a woman and I think she was ignoring me with her cool phewa (shoulder).

Mr. John said that they don't have big enough parking lots because people have to be hurried back to their cars between services, so the next group of automobiles will have room for the next service. The train stopped in front of a large building. I again thought it was the sanctuary, but it was called the all-star building. I think it has something to do with baseball. I saw smiling people were wearing uniforms. There were lots of happy mwana and mtsikana (girls and boys) and pictures of Jesus. There was even large fish tank walls and I heard someone say they feed the kids goldfish during church.

We got inside a metal box and pushed a button to go the sanctuary. The doors slide shut and then slid open and we were there!. Back home nobody is going to believe this!!! There were lots and lots of people and very vibrant music. The ceiling was covered in big bright upside down drums and there were 2 huge television screens as big as a njobvu. A friendly woman handed me a folded paper, it was like a free newspaper for the church. Mrs. Jennifer said we could have gone to other venues and experienced different kinds of church. I said that I wanted the one that was about Jesus. She laughed and said that they were all about Jesus, just different styles.

There was lots of standing then sitting, back home we stand throughout most of the service unless you are old and tired. Everyone was nice and people shook my hand others didn't and I told them my name but nobody told me their name. Some people did a half hug we call a kukayika. Also, most people closed their eyes during prayer but some kept them open. The pastor talked very fast and was very passionate about Jesus. I liked closing one eye and watching the big video version of the pastor and then closing the other eye and watching the small real version.

After the sermon, we were still singing and people started getting up and leaving. I was very upset and confused. Did they need to move their car? or did I not realize the pastor had dismissed everyone? Was there someplace else that was more important to them they had to be? We usually spend 3 to 4 nthano (hours) at church.

Mr. John said we could go to the restaurant at church to get some food. This church even has Christian food! Mr. John and Mrs. Jennifer said they were going to introduce me to some nice people, but said that they could not find them after the service. I don't know how anyone finds anyone else, especially if they wear different clothes each Sunday.

I asked Mrs. Jennifer how many people lived in these big buildings. She said nobody lived there it was just for church. I wondered how these beautiful places were used the rest of the time, our whole village could sleep here at night, and go to school here during the day and eat here the rest of the time. We would never need to leave, that would solve the parking space problem.


Sunday, October 21, 2007

Small Group. Day II.

(A new friend of mine is a guest blogger for a few days. His name is Dowa Manda and he is from the country of Malawi. I hope you enjoy his trip diary.)


Mr. John woke me up early this morning. He said we were going on a bargain hunting expedition to garbage sales. It was very different than I thought it was going to be. We drove around streets with homes where people sold their belongings like an open air market. I asked if this was how people supported their familes. Mrs. Jennifer said it was because people don't have enough room in their houses for the new things they buy, so they sell their old things for cheap. Mr. John found a chair that gives you a backrub!!! and a little green creature that cracks open nuts for you.

I was wearing the same chobvala (shirt and pants) as I wore yesterday, but Mrs. Jennifer says that it is fine and nobody here would even notice. Then she said that most people wear different clothes everyday, and probably don't wear the same thing for at least a month. That seems to me like a lot of clothes to carry in a suitcase.

People in fruit county must really like to kudya (eat) because there is a restaurant on every corner. We went to one restaurant that only sold coffee and a little chakudya (some food). It was really busy and I thought maybe this was a community gathering place, but everyone got their coffee and got back into their cars without talking to anyone. The coffee person seemed to know some of the customers names but the customers didn't know the coffee persons name.

Tonight we went to the home of Mr. Steve and Mrs. Julie for a church meeting. They were very gracious and gave me yum yum nkumba (pig) slices on bread. There were 5 couples and everyone brought their Bible and a book. We watched a pastor on what I thought was broadcast television, which later I found out was being played on a video disc player. It was good, lots of kuseka. This was a new experience sitting with strangers and watching tv together, but then we talked about God. Then people prayed for needs - like one person said they needed a bigger house, another said they wanted more fulfillment in their place of work, and another asked for healing for her kids who had a cold that was going around. I asked that people pray for the many people in Malawi who are also sick.

Tomorrow we will go to the big church, zikomo!

Friday, October 19, 2007

The Journey. Part I.

I have asked a new friend of mine to be a guest blogger for a few days. His name is Dowa Manda and he is from the country of Malawi. I hope you enjoy his trip diary.

I send my love and greetings to you, Please pardon me as I am aware that this is not a conventional way of relaying such an important life story to you. Thank you gracious hosts for giving me the opportunity to travel and spend some time in your fruit county. Since leaving Chileka Airport things have seemed very new world to me.

I was warmly welcomed at the Mr. Cowboy John Wayne Aeroport with a hug and smiles from representatives (John & Jennifer) from your wonderful church. I climbed into a large vehicle as big as one of our jeep-jeeps. It had dark windows and four doors like Bingu wa Mutharika would drive. The fabric was thick animal skin and I did not understand that we left with 3 empty seats in our vehicle - while people still stood outside the aeroport waiting for a ride with their suitcases?

In Malawi things are very different, each jeep-jeep is filled with people in every seat and standing where they can. The jeep-jeep takes you to a spot then you walk miles from there. It was a great surprise to drive right to my hosts home after my long journey from Blantyre.

We arrived at Mr. John's house at dark. It had many, many rooms. Even a room for the vehicle with a door that opens by itself! I was expecting a large sleeping room where everyone would stay. I have never slept in a room of my own, it was very nervous. The bed is very large and too soft. I will probably sleep on the floor with 2!!! very soft pillows. So many books in this house.

Mrs. Jennifer asked what I was hungry for. I said yes. She said she could fix many different things to eat and wanted to know what I would like. I said I would eat what was on the plate. Then we ate more food after we ate the meal, this must be a special food just for celebrations called dessert. Ice cream - my first new fruit county favorite. I was going to clean the dishes but Mr. John said that he had a machine to do that.

Tomorrow, we will go to a small church meeting with other people that meets in a house.

- Dowa

Thursday, October 18, 2007

MEMO from Zondervan.

Rick - we understand your schedule is very busy. We thank you for all the time and effort in partnering with us on the Purpose Driven Life.

You must understand however though that we need that next book, like yesterday.

I get a call everyday from Brian Murray from HC HQ - asking when the release date is. I can only have Connie tell him that my door is closed and I'm meeting with God - so many times. Then my iPhone starts going, first its email, then it's text messages, then it's phone calls. I even made him a special ringtone on itunes from the Neil Diamond song - "Hello Again"

Is it us? Do you not like us anymore? Do you want more money? Ok, we promise not to write anymore books on how we were the wonder stuff on the marketing of PDL.

Here's the deal - just send us notes on napkins, digital voice recorders, old sermons, diaries - whatever you got. We will make something out of it - and if you like it - we will run with it. Otherwise we will head back to the drawing board.

I've got some ghost writers lined up. Let me know if any of these are acceptable:

Chuck Colson - He never writes any of his own stuff, so he's available to write yours
John Stott - Don't worry we will Americanize it after he's done
Eugene Peterson - It will sound a little bit slang - but it works!
Tim LaHaye - He wanted to make the movie first, but he's agreed, not sure about Jenkins
George Barna - He said he would put a muzzle on that house church stuff
Joyce Meyer - She's practically got a knock-off version in the can already
Mel Gibson - We would just need to edit out a few cuss words

I thank you for your consideration. The sooner we hear back from you - the sooner Nancy in HR can determine whether or not to start planning a Zondervan company Christmas party.


I Am Totally Stumped.

Mitt Romney in a speech said:

Now what is it about America's culture that's made us the most powerful nation on the Earth? You can think about some of those things. One is we believe in hard work as Americans. We believe in education. We love freedom. We seek opportunities. We'll take risks in order to bring a better future for ourselves and our families. We sacrifice for the future and for our families. We are, in the words of the Bible, a God-fearing people. And even those among us who don't believe in God, as part of what Rick Warren might call a purpose-driven life, we live for something greater than ourselves. Americans respect the value and the sanctity of human life. And American society is built on the foundation of the family unit.

Hey, Hey, Hey - wait a minute Mitt. What do you mean "don't believe in God but believe in a Purpose-Driven Life?" Did you read the book? Are you just name dropping? Do you have a clue?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Don't Tell. No Hell.

Just flip on the news and you realize that Evangelicals are getting better at forgiving each other for different kinds of moral failures - but we are still having problem admitting the "I've Fallen And I Can't Get Up" part of it. We are human and there will always be Christian leaders who make stupid decisions.

So what should you do after you realize you've made a stupid decision? ADMIT IT AND DON'T CONTINUE TO MAKE MORE STUPID DECISIONS! Don't tell people including the media that you didn't make that stupid decision, even though you did. Don't try to downplay it. Infact, don't say anything publicly - come clean privately.

Not wanting to admit you've done wrong, certainly isn't a new thing - even Adam had a hard time and tried to cover up with a fig leaf.

Why can't we admit we've done something stupid? Are we afraid we are going to lose our ministry? Are we afraid that we will lose the thing that we find our identity in? Are we afraid we will lose our influence & power? Are we afraid of becoming an outcast? Or... Do we think we are above it all and we've convinced ourselves it really isn't that bad - that someone how, we will continue to do more good - even if we've screwed up.

Every ministry needs a "Oops I've Been Caught - Emergency Crisis Plan"
Just to be able to answer the following questions:
- Who gets the first phone call?
- Who is the wise discerning group that lends council through the crisis?
- What are the HR policies and legal ramifications?
- How is the family cared for?
- What needs to happen in the first 48 hours?
- Who issues an appropriate statement?
- Does every person know how to handle calls from the media?
- How do you control the gossip?
- How do you begin to rebuild?

Some have suggested that Evangelicals should sponsor an annual National Day of Resignation. Christian leaders and pastors who are not walking the talk—and know it—can resign, no questions asked. We’ll call it “Don’t Tell. No Hell.” Seriously. Let’s set aside one day a year to encourage struggling sinners to shed their leadership roles. Evangelicals understand sin and we value grace and forgiveness. (“There but for the grace of God go I.”) National Day of Resignation would be an annual gut check for Christian leaders. If they’re ministering with integrity, stay with it. If they’re living a lie, it’s OK to resign that day—no questions asked.
Hey. Sounds like a good idea for politicians too.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Try Walking In Our Flip-Flops.

Imagine what your office would be like if everyone had a job like a Pastor:

1. When your work day was over their would be a cassette tape or CD available of everything you just finished for sale in the lobby

2. If your co-workers got sick they would expect you to stop by and pray with them, then act surprised you did come by and proceed to tell you that they look terrible and their hair hasn't been washed.

3. Your wife would feel pressure from others that she should be doing things related to your job and be happy about it.

4. Your weekend would consist of something like a Tuesday and then a Thursday. Forget 'bout Holidays.

5. Instead of an expense account - every time you need to buy something more than $200 - you would be required to ask a group of people for permission, then justify why you need it.

6. You must remember what stories you've told people - so you don't use the same story over again.

7. Outside of the office your co-workers get flustered when you see them drinking alcohol or doing something they think you might not approve of.

8. Most of your meetings would happen at night in the basement.

9. You would have to stand up and gently remind your co-workers that it was part of their calling to give money to the organization - so it can continue to grow and fulfill its mission.

10. Most of your co-workers think you really only work an hour a week

Sunday, October 14, 2007


Bob - sorry to hear that you won't be able to join us here in person at Saddleback for Generous Giving's EXPOnential 07 Conference. GG is a great organization with really, really, really great people - and I heard good things about the last time you spoke at their conference.

I know the real reason you won't be attending in person isn't that rumor that The SoCal Pope - Chuck Smith will pull your Calvary affiliation -- if you are seen supporting the purpose-driven movement. Some people make it sound like if you mention the word "emergent" that you are coming out of the "contemplative closet."

Breaking News????

On September 16th, Lighthouse Trails issued a report titled "Bob Coy Joins Contemplative Promoters Rick Warren and John Ortberg for Conference." On October 12th in a telephone conversation, personnel at the Crown Financial Ministries office (the major sponsor for the event) said that originally Bob Coy was scheduled to be physically present at the conference, but plans had changed for undisclosed reasons and while he would still be participating in the event, he would be addressing the audience through a videotaped session instead.

Coy's church, Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale, has been carrying and selling books by several contemplatives and/or emergents (see examples below), including material by Rick Warren. This has resulted in people contacting Lighthouse Trails with concerns and confusion because of Calvary Chapel's statements last year (see recall notice and position paper) that denounced both Purpose Driven and the emerging church. Since then, Calvary Chapel's founding pastor, Chuck Smith has spoken on the pulpit and on the radio on several occasions against both contemplative spirituality and the emerging church.

Even still, according to many Calvary Chapel attendees in various CC churches who have contacted Lighthouse Trails, some CC pastors are continuing to promote Purpose Driven, the emerging church, and contemplative spirituality. While the individual CC churches are self-governed without major interception from Chuck Smith, Smith requested that any CC church going in the emerging church direction or promoting it change their name and not be affiliated with the movement.

Keep up the good work Bob, I know you will be wise in choosing your co-labors and I encourgage you to "contemplate" with us what the real mission is.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

A Dream.

Last night I had a dream. It was like an ambien commercial - I was out in the dessert and there was Dr. Bill Bright and Yoda. (I thought Bill was Walt Disney at first) The conversation went something like this:

FR: Dr. Bright is that you? You look 60 years younger.

BB: Yes, Rick this is my new body - I'm in heaven with the Lord right now. Call me Bill, we don't use any titles in heaven.

FR: What is heaven like?

BB: It is wonderful being in His presence and not ever wondering what your purpose is - No HR departments, no legal contracts, no phones, no email!

YODA: When 900 years you reach, look as good, you will not.

FR: We are trying to do the Lord's will on earth - are we succeeding?

YODA: Do or do not...there is no try.

BB: You and many Christians are listening when God speaks - but many are following their own ways and I think they know that. It will be more and more difficult to discern authenticity.

YODA: Impossible to see the future is.

FR: How should we prepare?

BB: Do you allow your SB army to drink alcohol?

FR: No, we've got a policy like our denominational brothers where we ask people to abstain from alcohol.

BB: Why? do you think they personally struggle with alcohol?

FR: No, most people won't personally struggle with alcohol but we don't want to be put in a position that makes other people who struggle with that addiction fall into sin.

YODA: Happens to every guy sometimes this does

BB: So how are you dealing with the addiction of fame?

FR: I never set out to be famous. When PDL hit the national spotlight - I asked myself that question. I turned to the scriptures and decided that fame could be used for good as influence. I realized that the purpose of influence is to speak up for those who have no influence. You, Billy, Hybels, Chuck - we all have had to deal with this - it's really a matter of the heart.

YODA: Blind we are, if creation of this clone army we could not see.

BB: Good point, Yoda. I wasn't talking about you, Rick. What about all those who live to drop your name and clammer to be close to you? When your name becomes more important to people than the name of the church?

YODA: Who's your Jedi master? WHO'S your Jedi Master?

FR: I don't encourage it. But... How do you lead pastors without influence? How do you bring the spotlight to AIDS without being a voice? Are you saying I should I write anonymously? Isn't it a stabilizing force to have a leader leading in the same community for 40 years?

BB: In the old days - we would tell our staff to recruit the most popular kids on campus(the athletes & beauty queens) because their influence would attract others to come to the crusade events and hear the gospel. It was the right motivation - but had the wrong effect. You are living in a culture that creates & worships living idols - even if the idols don't want want to be idolized.

YODA: You must unlearn what you have learned.

FR: What is the answer? Stay small?

BB: Don't ask me - I'm the guy who tried to reduce the mystery of God into 4 laws so it would fit in a brochure and then named my organization after the crusades. I guess just try to share the jumbotron.

YODA: Size matters not, ... Look at me. Judge me by size, do you?

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Face The Kid Nation.

Have you seen Kid Nation? If you haven't - then watch it tonight. The kiddos are defining their own spirtuality - it will definately drive you to pray even if these kids don't. I'm thinking we need a comic book version of PDL - titled "Who your kids are when you aren't looking"

Here's the description:

40 children, 40 days, no adults — eager to prove they can build a better world for tomorrow in the new reality series KID NATION.

Settling in Bonanza City, New Mexico, once a thriving mining town but now deserted, these Kids, ages 8 to 15 and from all walks of life, will build their own new world, pioneer-style. They will confront grown-up issues while coping with the classic childhood emotions of homesickness, peer pressure and the urge to break every rule. Episodes end with a town meeting in which the kids award one child a gold star worth $20,000, all leading to the grand finale, with an unimaginable test, the biggest awards and a special surprise for every child.

Hmmm, 40 Days I wonder where they got that idea?

Honk. Honk.

At Catalyst I mentioned an idea for a bumper sticker - "Tithe if you love Jesus, any fool can honk." Since then we've found a couple more that reveal the real Orange County. Now, don't you all be stickin these on my truck.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Our Brand.

Is it just me? - Am I old -fashioned? - or do other people find this distracting during church?

If You Can Make It Here...

Where can we make the most impact in our culture? Influence the influencers? That's right, Times Square, Crossroads to the World. CNN, MTV, Conde Nast, Disney, ABC, Reuters, NYT are there, maybe we should be there too! So what we would we need to do different to reach New Yorkers?

1. Music - New Yorkers want something a little more reserved, classical? jazz? Not sure Kenny G makes the cut in the big apple.
2. Dress code - dude - I guess we aren't gonna be wearing flip flops, unless you want to be stepping in rat poop. We will also need to trade in the Hawaiian shirts for black turtenecks.
3. Outdoor baptisms - maybe we can switch that to rooftop baptisms.
4. Bagels. Bagels. Bagels.
5. We won't really need to worry about a kids program - if anyone does have kids in manhattan - we'll send 'em next door to the Lion King.
6. As Metaxas says "treat New Yorkers antagonistically and they will love you for it"
7. Don't let anyone with the last name Soprano handle the offering.
8. Pretend nothing exists outside of the city and mention that Orange County has no culture.
9. Celebrate Recovery 24 hours a day, more bagels.
10. Say you are hosting an outdoor New Year's Eve service, pass the plate and count the attenders.

Monday, October 8, 2007


Wow. Outreach Magazine has named us #27 of the fastest growing churches in the U.S. for 2007. That's up from #39 last year. According to the data - apparently we supplied to them - our attendance had grown 7%. (Which includes the SC site.) That means we added 1,405 to the overall attendance since last year. The magazine also lists us as the 4th largest church in America with 22,000 regular attenders. (20,595 - #6 in ‘06)

It is just a list - and Ed Stetzer says it best "Please remember, lists are not for comparison. They are for learning and, hopefully, encouragement. Our desire is that you might learn from these churches, see how God is at work, rejoice with them, and then find God's unique vision for your church: whether it meets in a coffee shop or a cathedral."

Are you encouraged?

Friday, October 5, 2007

The Blogs Have Spoken!

The blogs are in - people had nice things to say and they actually listened!

Catalyst blog said:
Sometimes when the final session of the day rolls around, the crowd begins to thin. Not today. With Rick Warren as Thursday’s final speaker, the crowd was glued to their seats. Rick did not disappoint. His passion for next generation leaders, combined with his passion to pursue God’s agenda, made a memorable session. I’ll still be digesting his presentation for days to come. Highlights are listed below, but the richness of the message is too much to summarize. Be sure to view the executive summary for the complete content of Rick’s message.

Brandon said:
While Rick was talking I was speechless. He just walked up on stage with no notes and sat down in a chair and spoke. I was so just in awe to watch a man that was truly abandoned to God. Say what you want about him...he is doing things that most people have never had the faith to even dream of. He spoke about God's agenda. The kingdom. The church. People.

Mark The Youth Guy Said:
Mainly through the words of Francis Chan and Rick Warren, I was blindsided (yes, as I was hit by a Mack Truck in the middle of an intersection), upon the realization that I've been ignoring those most important to Jesus - the poor, broken, disenfranchised, etc. I guess I just thought it was the thing most of the pastors were ripping off each other's sermons for this moment in time, that we'd all start talking about "the oppressed."

Kevin Bussey said:
Rick Warren capped off the evening. I’m sure just because I posted his name I will get traffic from those Rick Warren haters. I don’t understand why there are so many Rick Warren haters. Tonight he talked about how if we really loved God then we would help those who are helpless.

Dave Feguson said:
Rick did the closing session at Catalyst and did great job. I had heard part of this message before, but it is such great stuff that I was glad to hear it again. I needed it.

Mark Waltz said:

At any rate… Rick taught in his normal sockless fashion, this time in flipflops – and barefoot most of the time... In his session: Jesus takes it personally when we say "I love Jesus, I just don't like his body." Rick suggested that this statement is as offensive as someone saying, "I love you, I just don't like your wife. Or, I love you, I just don't like your body." We would be offended. We need to love the church – not merely as we think it should be, but as she is.

John Crane said:
This evening culminated with Purpose-driven guru, Rick Warren, sounding a similar clarion call: "The purpose of influence is to speak up for those who have no influence." We all have varying degrees of influence. But we must candidly ask ourselves, "How well are we doing at leveraging our influence on behalf of those who have none?" Hopefully, the Church can pursue a renewed vision for authentic love for our neighbors in the tradition of Christ Himself. Do you want to be a part of what Warren calls the "Reformation Generation"? I do. And my hope is that I will be catalyzed toward that end. I pray we all will be.

Bird family took good notes and said:
It's been 500 years since we've had a reformation in the church...the first one was about Creeds, the Second one needs to be about deeds. Not what the church knows, but what the church does! The arms and legs of the church have been amputated, and all that's been left is a BIG MOUTH!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Arrived At Catalyst.

We arrived yesterday at Catalyst in Atlanta. JoMax invited me to stay in his guest house last night - it's very nice - except I don't get the all the civil war oil paintings with JoMax in a gray uniform riding horses. Also, did he have that microphone surgically implanted in his ear? - I don't see any wires. There was a bookshelf full of his books next to the bed - so as a joke I signed them all with "To Rick Warren, thanks for being the inspiration for this book - John"

JoMax woke me up at 5:30am to have what he called a "Leadership Cabinet Devotional Meeting." I thought it was just going to be us - but when I showed up in my bathrobe - he had 14 of his lieutenants there. The room was an exact mock-up of the oval office. His "Minister of Conferences" had all the latest un-fudged attendance figures for all the Christian conferences during the last six months. How does he get that stuff?

There was a brief interruption when we were told that 10,000 kazoo's being flown in from China for Catalyst would be delayed for 24 hours. (Apparently last year they had 10,000 pillows and the year before 10,000 whoopie cushions for some kind of Guinness Book of World Records thing they do at Catalyst)

At the end of the meeting I was handed cue cards with "areas of interest" that I was instructed to incorporate into my keynote. Then, some freckled faced kid told me he had been assigned to me to assist with any additional speech revisions I might need - mysteriously - he already had a copy of the speech I wrote. He said he had taken the liberty to make some changes to it.

Where am I?

Wednesday, October 3, 2007


Stuart - I know you are a youth guy - and they are their own breed. (we're building a whole building to contain them) A word of friendly advice - just because you have a blog doesn't mean we need to know every thought you have.

201 things about me:
113. I love the smell of my wife
136. Richard Simmons makes me laugh
137. I’m not a fan of Rick Warren
140. I have well groomed nose hairs
174. When using the bathroom in the backcountry… I prefer to use snow instead of leaves.
191. My second toe is longer than my big toe.
197. I talk to myself way too much.

198. I hate talking about myself.

Trust me, less is more. I gotta go to Nickel Nickel just to get those images out of my head.

Batter Be Good.

First, let me say that we trust our staff to make good decisions, and I'm not bringing this up because of any forthcoming scandals. Like most churches - we do have some very basic principles to help maintain the moral integrity of our staff.

We don't take it the extreme like BoJo - but we do think it's good to have some standards in place. So we have created these new signs to put around the administrative areas as reminders. So just remember what I said "If any of you even flirt with temptation, I may come after you with a baseball bat, and you can do the same with me." Kidding. :)

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Toxic People Series Sponsored By Coke?

My good friend and marketing genius, Greg Stiestra has outlined plans for mega-churches to partner with corporate sponsors for win-win ty-ins. I'm being told that there are huge opportunities to 'knock-it-outta-the-park' with subsidized projects, missions sponsorships and offers for free resources paid for by sponsorships.

Stiestra is quoted in this Wharton article as saying:

Megachurches do offer opportunities for secular marketers, Stielstra adds, but uncovering them may require creative thinking. He recalled a financial planner who came to him with this problem: Potential customers were likely to hire his services if they heard his presentation, but few people were willing to sit through it. The number-one reason for marital conflict is money, Stielstra told the planner, and church-going couples are likely to seek out their pastor -- rather than a financial planner -- for advice. The solution? Stielstra put the financial planner in touch with local pastors, who now provide him with a steady stream of potential clients interested enough to sit through his presentation.

Here's some of ideas I've received so far:

- Tithing Series sponsored by Bank of America Online Banking
- Building Stronger Marriages Series sponsored by Home Depot
- Mission Trips brought to you by Travelers Insurance
- Church Nursery brought to you by C.G.E.D.B.T.M.
(The Chinese Goverment Economic Development Board for Toy Manufacturing)

- Valet Parking sponsored by Geico
- The Food Pantry brought to you by Hot Pockets
- Wardrobe provided by Old Navy

Instead of making this decision myself - I would like to open this up to the members and see what you think? Is a billboard in the parking lot okay? What if we had a small ad in our bulletin? Would a "sponsored by" powerpoint screen be too much? How about a 30-second commercial before the service? Banner ads on our website? If the advertisers were Christian companies would that make a difference? What if we kept it to book publishers?

Ready to innovate? WWGS do?

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Adopting The World's Worldviews.

When I wrote this article - "Six Worldviews The Church is Competing Against" - I wanted the church to be aware of them - NOT to try and emulate them. I know we are looking for new ways to do outreach, involve our congregations in activities and reach the lost, but I think sometimes we've "lost" it...

1. Materialism.
Materialism says that the only thing that really matters in life is acquiring things. So, I wasn't saying that you should try to lure people to your church with a lottery or chance to win a house. (is this what some people mean by the new "house church movement?")

2. Egocentrism
I was warning of the Me Generation's "serve me first" attitude - not encouraging it! Yet, everytime I turn around someone is having a men's golf tournament for charity. Yeah, like that's a sacrafice. Maybe the women can start having a "shop-a-thon" and you can sponsor them for $.50 for every $1 dollar they spend.

3. Hedonism
The belief that the most important thing in life is how we feel. The number one goal of a hedonist is to feel good, be comfortable, and have fun. Again, we can even turn this one into a church event! "What woman doesn’t need some time to Rejuvenate, Invigorate, & Celebrate? In this weekend of refreshment, Kathi leads women to renewing their relationship with God through learning new ways to experience their friendship with Him and each other. An incredible SPA weekend only God could design !"

4. Pluralism/Relativism
I think it is fantastic that the Church is diverse and reaches people in many different ways, but then it sometimes falls off the map. Like today in Huntington Beach... "Join Us for the Interfaith Blessing of the Animals. Free to the public and their pets. Seniors, families, singles, and children are encouraged to bring their dogs, cats, birds, lizards, rabbits, pot-bellied pigs, fish, tortoises, turtles and other well-behaved pets. After brief words from each of the seven faith leaders dressed in traditional garb, the menagerie of participants will line up single-file to be blessed."

At least I haven't received a postcard in the mail from another church inviting me to a "random acts of evolution" Sunday or "Join us to create your own god, bingo night," but I'm worried I might.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Great Debate II

If Columbia University can invite Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the President of Iran to come and speak. Why not Saddleback? Of course we don't want to just give him the "pulpit" to share his ideas... but what if I asked my friend, Lee Strobel to debate him? I think we could also put Ergun Caner up there and make Lee Bollinger look like My Little Pony. CCN are you on board with us?

Alleged PDL Counterfeit Ring Busted.

Columbia, South Carolina - After a 9-month sting investigation, an alleged counterfeiting ring producing illegal copies of Purpose Driven Life materials was uncovered at a flea market in Columbia. The alleged ring was first detected after several people reported heavy industry printing smells coming from the basement of Fourth Baptist Church of Columbia. Later determined to be a potluck. Pastor Wilbur Nooklesally told the District Attorney that "They believed they were doing the work of God."

Among the alleged counterfeited items were books, 40 Days of Purpose Keychains, Purpose Driven Life Journals, Round Polyurethaned PDL Wall Plaques made from sliced trees with bark.

"At first we thought these items were be shipped in from Asia, but after closer examination we found that they were being made locally and shipped to Hong Kong. Their methods were very sophisticated using the lastest scanners and digital printers." said Agent Trackbaski.

Yale Galanter has agreed to defend Pastor Nooklesally under the condition that he doesn't grant any interviews. Galanter said "He doesn't believe the alleged items are counterfeit, but instead believes they have been aquired secondhand on Ebay by churches who already completed the 40 Days campaigns." There was no comment on whether or not 40 Days of Community was included in the alleged counterfeiting.

Pastor Nooklesally is being held without bail at Shuffleboot County Federal Facility where he received a free copy of The Purpose Driven Life compliments of St. Andrews Baptist Church.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Behind Barrs.

Guys I was just kidding when I said "Give everyone in jail a copy of PDL" - but apparently Pastor Barr you took me seriously. Way to go! Actually we have a program at PD to sell copies for inmate programs for $1 a copy - and no - I'm not seeing a dime - and no - don't try ordering them for your church at that price. (although I had a dream last night that we accidently sent 24,000 copies of The Purpose Driven Church - and every prison became a mega-church - Muchow clones in orange jumpsuits everywhere!)

Monday, September 24, 2007

Everyone's got a conference these days, who's paying for people to attend?
Does anyone ask churches what they need before they plan one of these?

I LIke Rick Warren, Too!

Does anyone else think its strange that people are writing blogs to their congregration telling them it's ok to "like me?" (Then is it even stranger when it's Billy Graham's grandson?)

The Bible makes it clear that God’s people face three enemies: the world, the flesh, and the Devil. This means that Rick Warren is NOT our enemy. For those of you who proudly bash Rick Warren, you should be ashamed of yourselves. I used to take pride in my critique of Rick Warren. Both of his books, The Purpose Driven Church and The Purpose Driven Life have some glaring weaknesses. But they have some strengths too: they are not wholly devoid of truth. Let me be very clear: It is NOT Reformed (much less Christian) to glean truth, beauty, and goodness only from Christians who are Reformed. In fact, because of the Reformers (Luther, Calvin, Knox, etc) firm belief that “all truth is God’s truth” we should glory in truth wherever it is found–yes even when it is found in books written by Rick Warren!

Thanks Tullian for the vote of confidence, I'm just glad I didn't read what you wrote when you didn't like me. (I see that you don't recommend any of grandpa & grandma's books either) Next week we here from John Stott's three-year-old great-grandchild that he "mikes me moo."