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‘Affirm Evangelism by Saying NO to Factionalism’—Rick Warren Pens Open Letter to SBC

Rick Warren Has a Long History in the SBC

Even before Warren was called into ministry, he and his family were active in the SBC. His father, Jimmy Warren, served as a Baptist pastor for decades. Jimmy “was awarded the first Southern Baptist Heritage Award in California for over 50 years of service as a pastor, seminary staff, Associational Director of Mission, and builder of 109 Baptist church buildings across America and around the world.” And, Dot Warren, Rick Warren’s mother, managed a Baptist Book store.

At a young age, Warren committed his life to Christ in a Southern Baptist church. When he was just 16 years old, Warren was licensed to preach. Over the next four years, he preached 121 revivals and crusades in Southern Baptist churches.

Two prominent Southern Baptists impacted Warren’s life and ministry. Evangelist Billy Graham served as a mentor to Warren starting when Warren was just 18, a relationship that lasted for decades. Former SBC president W.A. Criswell was also instrumental in Warren answering God’s call to pastor a single SBC church. Warren ended up leading Saddleback Church for 43 years.

Throughout his time in the SBC, Warren also served on a number of denominational assignments, including in state convention departments, an international board, and a mission board.