Saddleback Church

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Saddleback Church
Saddleback Valley Community Church
Saddleback church Lake Forest building 1.jpg
Saddleback church Lake Forest, worship center
LocationLake Forest, California
CountryUnited States
DenominationSouthern Baptist Convention
Weekly attendance23,494
Founder(s)Rick Warren, Kay Warren
Years built1985
DivisionCalifornia Southern Baptist Convention
Senior pastor(s)Andy Wood
Saddleback Church logo.jpg

Saddleback Church is a Baptist Evangelical multi-site megachurch, affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention, located in Lake Forest, California. It is the largest church in California, and one of the largest in the United States of America. The church has several campuses in California and around the world. Weekly church attendance was 23,494 people in 2020. The senior pastor is Andy Wood.


Saddleback Church Children's Building in Lake Forest, California.

In 1979, Rick Warren recently graduated in theology, settled with his wife Kay in the Saddleback Valley area of Orange County, California.[1] He began to probe the people in his neighborhood to find out what prevented them from coming to church.[2] The answers that emerged were boredom, distance from everyday life, lack of welcome for visitors, insistence on money and inadequate programs for children. It is with these concerns that the church began in 1980, with a Bible study group, with seven people, the pastor Rick Warren and his wife, in their condo.[3] The first worship service took place in the gymnasium of a high school on Easter Day in 1980.[4] In 1995, it opened its main building in Lake Forest, with a 3,500-seat auditorium. [5]

In 2003, Saddleback Church, Kay and Rick Warren founded the P.E.A.C.E. Plan, a humanitarian development program for churches. [6][7]

In November and December 2006, Saddleback Church played host to the second annual Global Summit on AIDS and the Church. The summit featured 60 speakers, including Senators Barack Obama and Sam Brownback.[8]

In 2018, the church said it had baptized 50,000 people since its founding.[9]

The driveway to Saddleback Church of Rancho Capistrano campus in San Juan Capistrano.

On August 16, 2008, Rick Warren arranged a meeting between Senators John McCain and Barack Obama at Saddleback called the Civil Forum on the Presidency.[10] The format of the forum was structured such that Warren first asked Obama a series of questions; he then asked McCain very similar ones subsequently. It was broadcast live on national news networks and streamed online. Tickets were distributed to the public through a raffle with seats listing as high as $1,000 and the event was sold out.[11]

According to a church census released in 2020, it claimed a weekly attendance of 23,494 people and 15 campuses in different cities. [12]

In 2021, the church was audited for compliance by the Southern Baptist Convention, after ordaining three women pastors that year and thus acting contrary to the Convention's confession of faith which believes that the pastoral ministry is reserved for men.[13]


The Church has a Baptist confession of faith and is a member of the Southern Baptist Convention. [14]


The church offers various programs, such as The Purpose Driven Church (PDC) curriculum[15] and Celebrate Recovery, an addiction recovery support group program.[16]

See also[edit]

References and notes[edit]

  1. ^ Malcolm Gladwell, The Cellular Church,, USA, September 12, 2005
  2. ^ Malcolm Gladwell, The Cellular Church,, USA, September 12, 2005
  3. ^ Robert D. Putnam, Lewis Feldstein, Better Together: Restoring the American Community, Simon and Schuster, USA, 2009, p. 119
  4. ^ Justin G. Wilford, Sacred Subdivisions: The Postsuburban Transformation of American Evangelicalism, NYU Press, USA, 2012, p. 9
  5. ^ Bob Allen, Saddleback Church pledges $71 million over three years,, USA, June 12, 2015
  6. ^ Nicola Menzie, Saddleback Pastor Rick Warren Visits Rwanda to Advance PEACE Plan,, USA, August 29, 2013
  7. ^ Justin G. Wilford, Sacred Subdivisions: The Postsuburban Transformation of American Evangelicalism, NYU Press, USA, 2012, p. 115
  8. ^ Jill Serjeant, U.S. evangelicals strive to change attitudes on AIDS,, UK, November 28, 2007
  9. ^ Stoyan Zaimov, Rick Warren's Saddleback Church Becomes First in US to Baptize 50,000 People; Pastor Hails 'Miracle',, USA, August 13, 2018
  10. ^ Barboza, Tony (July 21, 2008). "John McCain, Barack Obama will appear together at Orange County church". The Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 2008-07-22. Retrieved 2008-07-23.
  11. ^ "Saddleback Civil Forum". Retrieved 2010-09-29.
  12. ^ Lifeway research, Largest Churches List,, USA, retrieved January 16, 2021
  13. ^ Adelle M. Banks, Saddleback Church’s ordination of women pastors to be considered by SBC committee,, USA, June 16, 2021
  14. ^ Southern Baptist Convention, Saddleback Valley Community Church,, USA, Retrieved January 14, 2018
  15. ^ "What is Purpose Driven?". Purpose Driven. Archived from the original on 2013-10-04. Retrieved 2007-09-01.
  16. ^ Kate Shellnutt, How Celebrate Recovery Helped Evangelicals Open Up About Addiction,, USA, August 12, 2016

External links[edit]