Unit 5: The Third Wave of Cell Innovation
When Rick Warren was praying about a place to start a church as a seminary student, he was drawn to Orange County, south of Los Angeles, which was rapidly growing with new communities. New communities need new churches, he reasoned, and he was right. People who relocate far from their kinship networks are very open to forming new networks with others who show them care. This was the beginning of Saddleback Community Church in 1980.
As a Doctor of Ministry seminary student, I visited Fuller Seminary in Pasadena, California, five times for classes. In 2003 a group of my classmates, also from out of town, decided to worship at Saddleback on Sunday morning and there was room in the rental car for me. I believe their weekend worship attendance at that time was averaging 18,000. My first thought on seeing the campus was that it reminded me of a theme park; wide walkways connected outlying parking lots with the main buildings. Lots of people in casual clothes walked with us from the outside to the inside. In southern California, it=s always warm, so a different climate had resulted in different church buildings: one expressly designed for children, one for youth, one for fellowship that reminded me of a University Union, and the sanctuary. Wide walks lined with trees for shade provided a giant outdoor narthex or lobby for people to visit; I seem to remember park benches for those who would like to sit. The area outside the worship space was particularly open, large and welcoming.
Inside the worship space, I was reminded of a university gymnasium, only with better acoustics. The 3200 seat auditorium was simple rather than fancy. We were early enough to get seats six rows from the front of the platform, right in front of the guitars and drums set up for the band. I remember thinking, this isn=t that impressive of a building. As the service began, we sang.
NOTE (my response)
The quote is from Major League Disciple Making: An Overview of the Best Research on the Cell Church, an online course developed for the Institute for Discipleship at www.BeADisciple.com in 2009. Course materials, including these lectures, can be downloaded here: http://www.disciplewalk.com/IFD_MLD_Class_Links.html
All Scripture quotations are from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Please review the page How and Why We Use Quotes.