Rick Warren: 'God Didn't Need Us, He Wanted Us'

In part one of a two-part interview, Rick Warren talks about his surprising relationship with God.

In 1980, Rick Warren started his church with a time-tested formula used by thousands of up-and-coming Baptist pastors. He moved to a Sunbelt city, opened a Bible study in his condo and taught baby boomer suburbanites how to connect with God.

But Warren didn't turn out to be just any baby-boomer minister. Today he heads

Saddleback Church

in Lake Forest, Calif., one of the largest congregations in the country with weekend attendance of about 50,000. He counsels power brokers from Hollywood to Wall Street to Capitol Hill. Warren is also one of the best-selling American authors of all time because of "The Purpose-Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For?" (Zondervan, 2002). The book has sold more than 20 million copies since it was published in October 2002. In the last few years, Warren has broadened his ministry to include the homeless in America, AIDS orphans in Africa, and many others.

In part one of a two-part interview, Beliefnet Editor David Kuo talks with Warren about "the Jesus thing to do" and his surprising relationship with God.

Let’s start with hope. What gives you the most hope every day?


What gives me the most hope every day is God’s grace; knowing that his grace is going to give me the strength for whatever I face, knowing that nothing is a surprise to God.

You mentioned that nothing is a surprise to God. But what surprises you about God?

Rick Warren on God

What surprises me most about God is that the creator of the universe should want a relationship with me. It is mind-boggling to me that the Almighty power created everything I see; the Bible says that God created the entire universe just so he could create this galaxy just so he could create earth so he could create human beings so he could create a family. God wanted a family. And that family - the church - is going to outlast everything else and he wants me to be a part of it.

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