Home Christian News Rick Warren Explains How He Trained 1.1 Million Pastors; ‘Egotistical Nonsense,’ One...

Rick Warren Explains How He Trained 1.1 Million Pastors; ‘Egotistical Nonsense,’ One SBC Pastor Responds

Rick Warren
Photos by Jesse T. Jackson

Rick Warren surprised many Southern Baptists last week during the SBC’s annual meeting in Anaheim, California, reading a “love letter” to the Convention from one of the messenger microphones. Warren pastors Saddleback Church, one of the largest Southern Baptist churches in the nation.

At last year’s meeting, a motion was accepted for the Credentials Committee to look into whether Saddleback Church should be disfellowshipped from the SBC for ordaining three women on their staff and giving them the title of “pastor.”

Warren, thinking that this might be his last annual meeting, told the crowd of over 10,000, “You know, it’s customary for a guy who’s about to be hung to let him say his dying words.”

During the speech, Warren rattled off accomplishments from his 43 years at Saddleback Church. Saddleback’s pastor thanked his SBC family, later sharing that he received thousands of messages expressing love and support following the speech.

“Thank you! Past 6 days I’ve received over 4,800 emails, texts, letters & calls expressing your love, joy, relief & support,” Warren tweeted, adding that the standing applause he received had touched him. “ALWAYS be loving & kind no matter how others act…They are brothers in Christ. Galatians 5:13-15.”

One of the accomplishments Warren had shared was that he had trained over 1 million pastors, telling fellow Southern Baptists, “Sorry, friends, that is more than all the [SBC] seminaries put together.”

Warren tweeted about how he came to that number a few days after his speech.

“One, take 43 years. Two take 20 years to write the courses. Three, translate those courses into the 18 largest languages. Four, send 26,869 members to 197 nations. Five, recruit and train thousands of local trainers. Six, use large stadiums and small huts everywhere,” Warren said, referencing 2 Timothy 2:2 and adding that all these things together made his ability to train up other pastors “exponential.”

Warren’s Address Resulted in Mixed Emotions

There were some who appreciated Warren’s speech, evident in the fact that he received a great deal of applause from messengers in the room.

“God is using Rick Warren, for His good. When the SBC opposes Rick Warren’s affirmation and deployment of women exercising their gifts from God, to upbuild the body of Christ, without usurping authority over men…it’s not Warren the SBC is opposing, it’s the Almighty God,” Senior Pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church Dwight McKissic said.

Nevertheless, others were critical of Warren. Associate Pastor of Discipleship and Education for First Baptist Church in Lindale, Texas, Gabriel Hughes, called Warren’s statistical breakdown “egotistical nonsense,” claiming that Warren would have to train more than 70 pastors a day, or 25,000 pastors a year, to come up with his 1.1 million number.