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The Purpose Driven Church: Every Church Is Big in God's Eyes Hardcover – November 14, 1995

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Frequently Bought Together

The Purpose Driven Church: Every Church Is Big in God's Eyes + Church 3.0: Upgrades for the Future of the Church + Simple Church: Returning to God's Process for Making Disciples
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan (November 14, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310201063
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310201069
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.3 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (206 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #28,526 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

The thesis of The Purpose Driven Church is that when churches think first about their health, growth is sure to follow. "If your church is healthy," writes Rick Warren, "growth will occur naturally. Healthy, consistent growth is the result of balancing the five biblical purposes of the church." These five purposes are to "Love the Lord with all your heart," "Love your neighbor as yourself," "Go and make disciples," "[Baptize] them," and "[Teach] them to obey." And those purposes can only be accomplished, argues Warren, when church leaders stop thinking about church-building programs and shift their focus to a "people-building process" involving fellowship, discipleship, worship, and evangelism. Warren, the founder of the fastest-growing Baptist church in American history, has taught seminars to thousands of pastors from all over the world, many of whom have successfully implemented his techniques.

From the Back Cover

What Drives Your Church? "The Purpose-Driven Church has brought focus and direction to more pastors and church leaders than you can count. What a gift! I can’t imagine anyone who’s serious about the church not reading it." John Ortberg Author of Everybody’s Normal Till You Get to Know Them

"After reading The Purpose-Driven Church in 1995, I ordered twenty copies for my staff and elders. Eight years later, the message and strategy contained in this work are as significant and relevant as ever." Andy Stanley Senior Pastor, North Point Community Church

"In 1985, I heard Rick present the contents of this book in a seminar format. As he spoke, for the first time I imagined leaving my teaching career in higher education to enter pastoral ministry. My heart was won by Rick’s vision of the Church driven by her God-given purpose—rather than by doctrinal arguments, denominational competition, or institutional survival. That vision has been alive in me ever since, and you can catch it too, through these pages." Brian McLaren Pastor, Author, Fellow in Emergent (

"One hundred years from now church leaders will be studying the movement known as ‘purpose driven’ churches. They will find Rick Warren as its architect and The Purpose-Driven Church as his blueprint." Erwin Raphael McManus Founder of Awaken and Lead Pastor of Mosaic

"Although the actual form of ministry may look different from different types of people, there are extremely critical principles within this book that we all need to know, no matter what generation or philosophical mindset we are involved with." Dan Kimball Author of The Emerging Church and Pastor of Vintage Faith Church

Discover What Business Leaders Can Learn from the Church "The best book on entrepreneurship, business, and investment…" Rick Karlgaard Forbes Magazine

More About the Author

Rick Warren is often called "America's most influential spiritual leader." He and his wife, Kay, founded Saddleback Church in Orange County, California, which is now one of the largest and best-known churches in the world. He also wrote the #1 all-time bestselling hardcover book, The Purpose Driven Life.

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Customer Reviews

This book was very informative.
Margaret Castle
Warren tends to rely on popular public opinion to norm his church and not theology enough.
Matthew Gunia
I would highly recommend the book to other pastors.
Susan Waters

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

108 of 125 people found the following review helpful By Brian G Hedges on October 9, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I find it hard to rate this book accurately. I have read few books that have been more helpful in the realm of practical church life. Warren skillfully presents a blue-print on how to grow a healthy in church in which the five purposes (which are presented Biblically) of worship, discipleship, fellowship, ministry, and evangelism are held in balance. The steps to take are practical and clear. Add to that a plethora of helpful common-sense tips to improving logistics in working with both the visitors and members of your church. This book is full of helpful ideas.
HOWEVER, the demerit of the book is its rather shallow Biblical basis. I believe that the five purposes Warren presents are biblical. I believe that the concept of moving people from membership to maturity to ministry to missions is biblical and very, very well developed. And I was impressed to see that Warren's church uses a church covenant and practices church discipline. I simply wish he had given a better biblical defense for these things. There are points where it seems like the author is taking Scripture out of context to defend a point - evidenced by his excessive use of paraphrases of Scripture. He should have used a literal translation and stuck to what the text actually says.
I also highly disagree with Warren's approach to music. He probably goes a bit overboard on the seeker-sensitive side of things, although I admit many of the things he says are non-moral, non-biblical, common-sense issues.
I was helped by reading this book. I have the sense to know that I can't apply everything Warren says in my own church culture and tradition, but there are some things any one can apply. I say, buy this book and read with discernment. As long as you don't make a Bible out of it, you will probably benefit greatly.
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35 of 39 people found the following review helpful By James on April 9, 2004
Format: Hardcover
There has been a movement among missionaries and mission boards to encourage indigenous churches rather than merely exporting our culture to the rest of the world. The argument runs that the Gospel must always be enfleshed or embodied in a people and its culture. We cannot deny that the Good News of Jesus Christ must be spoken in particular human languages. Forcing Africans to worship like Scotsmen, does a disservice to African culture and the Gospel.
As I read Rick Warren's book, the Purpose Driven Church, I thought about this current trend in mission. Whether we like it or not, Rick Warren's Saddleback Church is a church indigenous to Southern California at the end of the twentieth century. Warren has attempted to translate the Gospel into the language of young, suburban professionals. As Paul quoted Stoic poets on Mars Hill, Rick Warren can comfortably quote Peter Drucker and utilize the marketing techniques of Starbucks. Anyone interested doing ministry in this culture can learn something from this book, especially if we take Rick Warren at his word--"Read this book like you'd eat fish: Pick out the meat and throw away the bones" (pg 71).
That being said, there is a danger. As the Gospel is expressed in culture, it must also critique the culture. Our sinfulness is pervasive, and the Gospel should expose the evils of our culture for what they are. Rick Warren subtitles his book, "Growth Without Compromising Your Message and Mission," but on several instances he compromises the Good News to the culture.
For example, we live in a self-segregated society. We routinely segregate white from black, rich from poor, and young from old. The Purpose Drive Church perpetuates these separation by slavishly focusing on target audiences.
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41 of 51 people found the following review helpful By on November 28, 1997
Format: Hardcover
There are some very good insights in this book for pastors. However, if Scripture is your authority, this is not the book for you. Most Scripture quotations are taken out of context or are misquoted. The Theology in this book violates basic Hermenutical prnicples, and is overall poor. My question to the author is: Are you viewing Scripture through the eyes of your expirience, or viewing your expirience through the eyes of Scripture? The author has made the Bible say what he wants it to say. But, DO NOT take my word for it. Just look up all the Scripture References.
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170 of 221 people found the following review helpful By Robert Knetsch on October 18, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I was given this book to read by my pastor as an elder of a church in Toronto. We are a vibrant growing church that seeks to discover how God would have us do His will. Therefore, may I say that I also believe that Rick Warren wants to do the same thing. He is an ernest believer who wants to help the Church grow.
That does not preclude my right to criticize this book. May I first begin with the title. Are we to start "Purpose Driven" churches? Or are we Spirit driven? The idea of having a purpose is not without warrant, but I strongly caution the kind of terminology that is too often used. May I also quote Dietrich Bonhoeffer from Life Together: "God hates visionary dreaming; it makes the dreamer proud and pretentious...God has bound us together in one body...long before we entered into common life with them, we enter into that common life not as demanders but as thankful recipients." WE do not make the vision for the church - we enter into God's vision.
I should address my claim in my title that he is deceivingly unbiblical. While reading the book, especially in the "Vision" section, I noted how many different translations he had to employ as he quoted Scripture to try and show the use of the word "vision" in the texts. Moreover, many of these verses really do not refer to a "vision statement" which he implied, but a vision of taking part in God's vision for the world. In this way, Warren instead uses biblical text to support a vision statement approach that is in fact directly copied from taht of large corporations.
Some of the ideas in this book are also very questionable. For example, he insists that the pastor should be there a long time, that he or she is the essential Sheppard of the flock.
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