Andy Wood of San Jose, CA chosen to succeed Rick Warren
Pastor Rick Warren today announced his successor at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, CA with campuses around the world. After reviewing nearly 100 potential candidates, Warren along with his wife Kay believe they’ve found the one.
“Today, Kay and I are thrilled to publicly announce our next Senior Pastor of Saddleback Church and his wife: Andy & Stacie Wood, who will be coming to lead Saddleback from their 14-year ministry at Echo Church in San Jose, California,” Warren shared on the Saddleback Church website.
Wood grew the church in San Jose from a handful of members 14 years ago to 3,000 people today. Saddleback Church estimates membership around the world at nearly 50,000 people.
“Like Kay and me, Andy and Stacie started a brand new Purpose Driven Church with just a handful of people and they grew it to nearly 3,000 attendees on 4 campuses. Kay and I, and our Elders, have unanimously selected Andy Wood to lead us into the future as a church family. We are all SO excited! You’re going to absolutely LOVE this couple. Andy is 40 years old and full of God’s love!”
The process to find Warren’s replacement started nearly a year ago when Warren announced it to the congregation.
“This is a very satisfying and emotional moment for Kay and me. We are filled with love and gratitude for YOU! Like Paul, we can say “I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race. And I have kept the faith!” 2 Timothy 4:7 (NIV) Now it is time for us to pass the torch on to a new generation who will love, lead, and pastor our church family in the decades ahead.”
Warren has served faithfully as Senior Pastor of the church he planted after receiving a vision in seminary of planting a church on the West Coast. Warren and his wife Kay started Saddleback at 25 years old. He committed to giving 40 years to growing the church
“43 years ago this month, in June of 1979, while I was a student at Southwestern Seminary in Fort Worth, I had my Damascus Road experience. It was not a blinding light like Paul saw. Instead, it was with the dim light of a single 75-watt bulb hanging from the ceiling, on an old cord in a dusty storage room. It happened in the basement of nearby Texas Christian University Library where I had gone to research US Census statistics on West Coast cities.”
Warren went on to share how God made it plain to him to plant a church called Saddleback in the Saddleback region of Orange County, CA.
“Pouring over census charts that summer afternoon my eyes fixed on a word I’d never seen before: Saddleback. I had no idea how that single word, Saddleback, would shape and direct the rest of my life. I felt my gaze strangely frozen on that word. I couldn’t take my eyes off it! The word Saddleback captivated my heart and I felt electric excitement running through my body. At that moment, God whispered, “That’s where I want you to invest your life growing a new church.” I started sobbing. That was my calling to serve you. From that moment on, for the next 43 years, every single day of my life would be dominated by that word, Saddleback.”
Warren announced earlier this year that he will go on to lead the largest missions collaboration in history.