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Rick Warren on Covid lessons for churches

The COVID pandemic has exposed a flaw in many U.S. churches, Pastor Rick Warren says.

Most churches only have one purpose — worship,” Warren told “Relevant” magazine. “And if you take worship away, you’ve got nothing. They’re in a hurry to get back to worship, because that’s all they’ve got. Saddleback is built not on one purpose but on five. You take one circle out, we’ve still got four other circles. We’ve got ministry going on. We’ve got mission going on. We’ve got fellowship going on. We’ve got discipleship going on. Those all stand on their own.”

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Saddleback has led more than 16,000 people to Christ since March, Warren said. “We’re in revival,” he said. “We’re averaging about 80 people a day coming to Christ.”

Instead of worrying about restrictions on indoor worship, Warren said Saddleback “looked around and made a list of all the different problems that COVID was creating. For instance, the first one was food. People needed food. There are a lot of people out of work, and they’re hand-to-mouth, and 126 food banks shut down in Southern California when COVID started, because there was a rush on food. Saddleback had three food pantries already up and running. Typically, in a normal month, we feed about 2,000 families. The first month of COVID, we fed 45,000 families.”

U.S. churches have not faced discrimination and should promote the wearing of masks, he said.

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“They might have a discrimination case if theaters weren’t closed, football games weren’t closed,” Warren said. “But they are. We’re not being discriminated against. This is a safety issue. Regal Cinemas closed down 650 theaters. Disney laid off 28,000 people. We’re not being discriminated against. Some churches are willing to gamble the health of their people. I’m not. The good shepherd prays for his sheep, cares for his sheep. One day I will be responsible. I don’t want to be a super-spreader. I’m not doing this out of fear; I’m doing this out of love. You wear a mask for love your neighbors, yourself.”

–Dwight Widaman | Metro Voice