Most of the people who know me well also know that I am not the biggest fan of the Purpose-DrivenTM thing. It is not that I think it is evil or wrong, just that it does not resonate with me. It is a sort of corporate mentality which works to grow churches, but it is focused on building a large church not on building disciples of Christ. All the same, I’ve learned some things from Rick Warren and his bunch, so I have no animosity toward them.
One of the big questions I always had about Warren was what he did with the money he was making. The Purpose-Driven Church was published in 1995 and sold over one million copies. His second book, The Purpose-Driven Life, has sold over thirty million copies. It is not hard to realize that even if he was collecting next to nothing in royalties (which he isn’t), Warren should be a fairly wealthy man. So, what does he do with his money?
The answer absolutely blew me away.
Here is what Rick told the TED 2006 conference:
- He and his wife decided “not to use the money for ourselves”
- Second, they decided to “stop taking a salary”
- Then, they made the radical decision to “pay back 25 years of salary, ’cause I did not want anybody thinking I’d done any of what I’ve done for money.”
- Fourth, they established “a foundation to fight poverty and HIV/AIDS” (called the P.E.A.C.E. plan)
- And last they began “reverse-tithing”, giving 90% of what they make in tithe and living on the 10%
My source for Warren’s words can be found here.
How many of us would take these kinds of steps if we found ourselves to be suddenly wealthy? I think this is a testament to Warren’s commitment to honor the Lord with what he has, and keeping to Paul’s warning to walk “circumspectly.”