FORT WORTH, Texas (SWBTS ) – As part of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s celebration of its new chapel, the Rick Warren Porte Cochère was dedicated, Dec. 1. The covered drive-thru entrance on the east side of the chapel was named in honor of Southwestern alumnus Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif. Funds were provided by members of Warren’s church.
The entrance highlights the five purposes of the church as well as the PEACE plan, which Warren created to address global concerns with spiritual emptiness, poverty, disease, and illiteracy. Warren was unable to attend the chapel dedication festivities but sent a statement of appreciation and explanation of the motivation behind the dedication.
“For 31 years, members of Saddleback church have been committed to helping whole world know and obey God's 5 eternal purposes for His church and for every individual,” Warren said. “Jesus summarized these 5 purposes of worship, ministry, evangelism, fellowship, and discipleship in the Great Commandment and Great Commission, so the church's motto has been 'A Great Commitment to the Great Commandment and Great Commission will grow a Great Church.'
“On November 18, 2010, Saddleback became the first local congregation in 2,000 years of church history to send its members to literally every nation of the world. Over eight years, 14,869 members were sent out to serve in all 196 nations of the world through the PEACE plan. Now these members want to immortalize their commitment and accomplishment at the entrance of Southwestern's new chapel, so that all who enter will be reminded of the great mission God has called each of us to fulfill, and to serve as an inspiration to future generations of pastors. The greatest congregations are yet to be built!”
Warren graduated with a Master of Divinity from Southwestern in 1979 and founded Saddleback Church in 1980, and the congregation has flourished for more than 30 years, with more than 22,000 people attending weekly services. He is also a sought-after speaker and gifted author, publishing multiple best sellers.
A more formal dedication of the porte cochère is scheduled for the end of January 2012, when Warren will be on campus to speak at the seminary’s conference on the Anabaptists (www.swbts.edu/anabaptist).