The Purpose Driven Offering

According to the Orange County Register, Rick Warren asked his flock to cough up nearly $1 million in just two days to keep the church out of the red.

“Dear Saddleback Family,” begins today’s missive from Warren. “THIS IS AN URGENT LETTER unlike any I’ve written in 30 years. Please read all of it and get back to me in the next 48 hours.

“I have thrilling news to share with you below but first some seriously bad news: With 10% of our church family out of work due to the recession, our expenses in caring for our community in 2009 rose dramatically while our income stagnated. Still, with wise management, we’ve stayed close to our budget all year. Then… this last weekend the bottom dropped out.

“On the last weekend of 2009, our total offerings were less than half of what we normally receive - leaving us $900,000 in the red for the year, unless you help make up the difference today and tomorrow.”
Saddleback Church doesn't make public its financial records, but apparently it sends a letter when last weekend's offering didn't foot the bill.

Hey, at least he didn't say God would take him home if he didn't raise the money.


David Lamar Wheeler said...

Unfortunately, the biggest shock I received here was learning that there's a Rick Magazine, with all of those awful, awful teasers. And that shirt.

Justin Boggs said...

Where do you believe the Church's role is in asking for offerings? I am certain Saddle Back, like many churches, has a substantial budget for serving the poor, missions, etc. Giving is a big part of being a Christian, but what Biblical principles do you see for asking?

As far as I can tell there is nothing wrong with what Rick is doing. A million isn't a massive amount of money for an organization that big, and I don't believe any church organization should have a "savings" account. Just enough money to smooth out day to day bumps.

Chad Estes said...
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Chad Estes said...


Thanks for your comments. I don't doubt that Saddleback is doing some great things in the world. One of the things I find the most noble about Warren is that he has donated all of his proceeds from "The Purposed Driven Life" book to the causes that he's involved in (especially in Africa).

At the same time, I have seen, been victim to, and participated in offerings that are manipulative. I've been in the meetings when last Sunday's offering wasn't what it needed to be and the hand-wringing led to subsequent congregation scoldings, reminders of the weekly budget, and pressure for the patrons to fill in the gap.

The buildings, bills and budgets of the local church organization should be put in second place to its people. This letter to me sounded like it was the other way around.

The Body is supposed to be about giving and generosity, but I think way too much emphasis is being placed on it being funneled through a 501c3 organization. There is very little encouragement from those institutions about doing any direct giving to help the needs of those in and around the local church- in this case including the 10% of the congregation that are out of work. How many of them didn't make budget last week either?

Any time an institution teaches you not to give from your heart but just to trust the budgets and plans of a financial board and council... they are WAY out of line (imho :-), and very possibly unbiblical.

Dan said...
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