Heard about this from Pastor Rick as an illustration in last weekend’s message, but he made the cover of Newsweek with Brad Pitt. Good times, here’s a clip explaining why:
Then, something really extraordinary happens. Warren describes it as a rocket-ship ride. In 2002, he published a book that began with the words “It’s not about you.” The message was simple: by serving others, you serve God. Since its publication, “The Purpose Driven Life” has sold 30 million copies in English, making it by some accounts the best-selling hardcover ever. It is a phenomenon, a movement. It has given Warren access to world leaders at Davos, to corporate chiefs and rock stars. It has generated “tens of millions of dollars,” Warren says–enough for him to pay his own salary back to his church, retroactively, for the past 25 years, enough to launch three foundations. “PDL” allows Warren to “reverse tithe”: he gives away 90 percent of what he earns.
Now things get exciting. Another pastor might be content to diversify into “PDL” DVDs and gift books, but Warren is more ambitious. If “2.3 billion people in the world claim to be followers of Jesus,” then why not take the next step and mobilize those people to do important things, like stop poverty, improve literacy, feed the hungry, heal the sick? Conventional relief organizations are fine, but why not tap what Warren calls “the faith sector,” the armies of motivated religious volunteers who are sick and tired of polarizing rhetoric and professional crusaders? “The old paradigm was, ‘You pay, you pray, you get out of the way’,” he explains, but in today’s global and wired world, troops of caring volunteers can be deployed to communities in need with the push of a button. Such was the case on Christmas 2004, when Warren, awake and online at 4:30 a.m., received news of a massive underwater earthquake via e-mail from a pastor in Sri Lanka. Warren, who has an e-mail list of 200,000 pastors worldwide, notified churches in Thailand and Indonesia, that immediately mobilized volunteers to tsunami disaster sites. “It’s universal distribution,” he says, excitedly. “There’s a church in every village in the world … the potential sits there like a sleeping giant.”