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Rick Warren to step down from church position

Influential Pastor Rick Warren is stepping down as lead pastor at Saddleback Church in California.

“For 42 years, Kay and I have known this day would eventually arrive and we’ve been waiting for God’s perfect timing,” Warren announced in a video to the church. “That’s always been my goal, to serve God’s purpose in my generation. God has given me the privilege to serve multiple generations.”

The 67-year-old Warren will continue to serve as the Saddleback’s head pastor until a replacement can be found. He founded the Saddleback Valley Community Church in 1980, and it has grown into a global ministry with an estimated 40,000 participants.

Warren is recognized as one of the nation’s leading pastors. He has guided countless young leaders and inspired many of today’s prominent pastors to pursue their own callings to ministry. His book, “The Purpose Driven Church: Every Church Is Big in God’s Eyes” is said to have encouraged pastors to lead a healthy and purposeful church.

READ: Saddleback ordains its first female pastors

Warren built the Purpose Driven Network, a global alliance of pastors from more than 160 countries and hundreds of denominations, that focuses on the people of the church and less on the building. He also founded Pastors.com, an online interactive community that provides sermons, forums and other practice resources for pastors.

The news of his retirement comes less than a month after Saddleback announced that it ordained three women as pastors, which goes against the traditions of the strictly male leadership within the Southern Baptist Convention.

The SBC community has seen some other major headlines in recent weeks, such as Beth Moore’s announcement in March that she no longer feels at home in the SBC. The shift ended her professional partnership with LifeWay Christian Resources, the publishing, and distribution division of the SBC. And Dr. Russell Moore revealed last month that he was leaving the SBC where he had been the president of its Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission since 2013.

–Dwight Widaman | Metro Voice