Pastor of Saddleback Church, a Southern Baptist mega-church in southern California with weekly attendance of more than 15,000, Warren now applies his highly successful "purpose-driven" framework, developed in the best-seller The Purpose-Driven Church, to individual experience. The same principles Warren has taught to thousands of pastors to help churches be healthy and effective can also drive lives, he says. The book argues that discerning and living five God-ordained purposes—worship, community, discipleship, ministry and evangelism—is key to effective living. His 40 short chapters are intended to be read over 40 days' time, giving readers small pieces of his purpose-discovering program to chew on. Warren certainly knows his Bible. Of 800-plus footnotes, only 18 don't refer to Christian Scripture. He deliberately works with 15 different Bible translations, leaning heavily on contemporary translations and paraphrases, as an interesting way of plumbing biblical text. The almost exclusively biblical frame of reference stakes out the audience niche for this manual for Christian living. It's practical yet paradoxically abstract, lacking the kind of real-life examples and stories that life-application books usually provide in abundance. The book has flaws editing might have fixed. People are quoted without being identified, and subheads simply repeat lines of text, which tends to make the prose sound too simple. This book is not for all, but for those needing a certain kind of scriptural rock, it is solid. (Oct.)
The Purpose-Driven Church has sold more than a million copies for Zondervan, and has spawned a whole ministry as churches try to implement its principles for growth. Expect high sales for this long-awaited follow-up, which has an initial print run of just over 500,000 copies.