Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church and Author of “A Purpose Driven Life” Speaks

by Layla N. Revis   •  

“So much of our identity is tied to our work. When people don’t have an opportunity to work it’s bad all the way around. I pastor a large church in Orange County and 11% of our congregation is out of work. We’re feeding 3,000 families a week. “

These are the words of Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church in Orange County. Discussing how upward mobility and equal opportunity as classic American traits have faltered, Pastor Warren is passionate about converging public, private, and faith sectors to improve economic growth and prosperity.

“Freedom, equal opportunity and the chance for a better life. That’s what American is known for, but right now we’re in a stagnation period where that’s not happening,” Warren explained. “I’m here because I care enough about the next generation that I don’t want to pass along something worse.” On the national level, he believes that things have become far too politicized. Great ideas are being squelched simply because ‘the other side’ thought of it.

“Polarization has created paralysis. Everything is local. That’s where you can get churches, businesses, schools, and city councils together. Let’s come up with a template on a city level. Sometimes we try to go too big. Let’s try to start on a community level.”

Explaining that it will take large community-driven activity to see discernable change, he used a practical analogy to demonstrate his view for the future.

“One drop may not do anything, but a million drops turn a desert into a garden. Together we can make a difference if we focus on common good and the things that unify us.”

Business, government, houses of worship, and schools are the first places to start. Referencing the extensive discussion around public-private partnerships that he heard in Davos, Warren had this to say, “If you could solve this with public and private alone, it would have been solved. We need all sectors: public, private, and faith. A one legged stool will fall over, a two legged stool will fall over, but a three legged stool can stand. “

He also communicated that our education system has often educated our youth for the wrong jobs or not provided the practical skills that we truly need as a society. For example, this country always needs nurses.

While noting that 25% of all Caucasian children grow up without a father figure in the home, he also explained that those figures more than double for minorities; with 50% of Hispanic children and 75% of African American children growing up without a father figure in the home.

“This creates great instability for young men. They don’t learn the things they need to learn or the personal responsibility they need to develop,” Warren explained.

Similarly, Mayor Bloomberg referenced how, more often than not, lower income men are ending up in prisons or impoverished than they are in positions of their choosing. With The Young Men’s Initiative – and funding from George Soros – $127 million dollars is being used to solely with the goal of helping these young men.

Layla N. Revis

Vice President, Digital Strategy Ogilvy 360 Digital Influence

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