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The trademarked term purpose driven comes from the teaching of Rick Warren, senior pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California. It originally came into use as a paradigm taught to pastors and other Christian leaders. This teaching is embodied in Warren's best-selling book, The Purpose Driven Church, first published in 1995.
The basic premise of the Purpose Driven paradigm is for a pastor to recognize and be obedient to God's purposes for his people and his church and organize around developing these characteristics into the lives of people within his care. In Christian terms, this is the task of "making disciples". An additional focus is how to be most effective in reaching out to share God's love and forgiveness in the local community and with non-believers who visit the church. In Christian terms, this is the task of "evangelism". To be "purpose driven" is to be driven by God's purposes, not our own.
These purposes, according to Warren's teaching, are found in two verses in the New Testament book of Matthew. These two passages, located in Matthew chapters 22 and 28, are often referred to by Christians worldwide as "the Great Commandment" and "the Great Commission." From these verses, Warren identified five purposes: worship, ministry, mission, fellowship, and discipleship.
|Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind...Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments. Matthew 22:37–40 (NIV)||Worship
Love the Lord your God with all your heart
Love your neighbor as yourself
|Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. Matthew 28:19–20 (NIV)||Mission
Go and make disciples
teaching them to obey
In 2002, Warren wrote The Purpose Driven Life as a 40-day devotional book. This has become an international best seller, with over 30 million copies in print by 2006. This book took the same five purposes and focused on the life of the individual Christian. The book starts out with the words, "It's not about you", meaning the life that God created us to live is one driven by his purposes, not our own desires.
The tenets of the Purpose Driven paradigm have been taught to hundreds of thousands of Christian leaders worldwide through conferences and seminars, with many pastors adopting the principles in their churches. While there is no formal Purpose Driven organization – this activity being an outreach of Saddleback Church – there is an informal worldwide network of churches that work together to train other leaders, publish training resources in local languages, and collaborate on evangelistic and social action activities. This latter activity of evangelism and social action has developed into a strategy called The P.E.A.C.E. Plan, in which many of these same churches also are involved.
The Purpose Driven paradigm is a set of principles and processes based on an understanding of the biblical purposes for the church. Implementing this paradigm enables the church leader to be most effective in reaching out to people in love, welcoming them into the fellowship of the local church, encouraging and training them for Christ-like behavior, and equipping them for volunteer service within the church – all as an expression of their worship to God. Simply put, the Purpose Driven paradigm encourages the Christian leader to maintain an intentional, strategic, and balanced focus on all five purposes, which will in turn produce church health. The concept focuses on health, with the conviction that growth will take care of itself when a congregation is healthy. The paradigm is being utilized by churches in many denominations and theological expressions across many cultures worldwide.
See also 
- Brotherly love (philosophy)
- Celebrate Recovery
- P.E.A.C.E. Plan
- Rick Warren
- Saddleback Church
- The Purpose Driven Church
- The Purpose Driven Life
- Warren, Rick (1995). The Purpose Driven Church. Zondervan.
- Warren, Rick (2002). The Purpose Driven Life. Zondervan.
- Goldman, Lea. "By The Numbers: Top-Earning Authors". Forbes.com. Retrieved January 10, 2009.