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Kay Warren

Author, Dangerous Surrender: What Happens When You Say Yes To God (Zondervan, 2007)

Executive Director, HIV/AIDS Initiative, Saddleback Church;

Married 32 years to Husband, Rick Warren – Author of Purpose Driven Life and Pastor, Saddleback Church, the second largest church in America.


Kay Warren: A Voice for the Suffering

CBN.comKay Warren is the wife of Rick Warren, founding pastor of Saddleback Church and author of The Purpose Driven Life.

Her life changed drastically one day, in 2002, as she read a magazine article describing the AIDS epidemic in Africa. The details of the article disturbed Kay so much, she decided to use her influence and voice to help change the millions affected by the HIV pandemic. She believes God challenged her to step past her comfort zone and personal fears.

“You and I must choose to be disturbed,” she says. “God puts horrific and startling images in front of us daily through the newspaper, the television, and eyewitness accounts. You can do what I did for years – choose to ignore it all – or you can become disturbed, seriously, dangerously disturbed, so disturbed that you are compelled to do something.”

As a two-time cancer survivor, Kay knows firsthand how a life-threatening diagnosis alters one's daily life. Her own bouts with suffering have motivated her to serve others who are sick.

Kay has traveled the globe in order to witness how AIDS is destroying men, women, and children, and today she is a powerful advocate on their behalf. She is the Executive Director of the HIV/AIDS Initiative, which she launched with Saddleback Church in 2003.


Her book, Dangerous Surrender: What Happens When You Say Yes To God is about how God compels you to live a life fully surrendered to Him. Kay aims to ruin our complacency about the suffering in the world and to compel us to do something about it. We feel the shock, heartbreak, anger, and tears as Kay takes us face to face with a young AIDS outcast in Africa living out her final days beneath a tree, a leper colony and AIDS hospice in Manila, and others suffering in Rwanda, Thailand, and Cambodia. She challenges us to discover the impact of a dangerously surrendered life as we exchange our agenda for God's.


The HIV/AIDS initiative at Saddleback Church was born out of the conviction that God cares about sick people; he loves people with HIV/AIDS. A study of the Old Testament reveals a God who is passionate about the sick, the widow, the orphan, the immigrant, and the poor. Over and over He instructs the children of Israel to make provisions for them, treating them fairly and with compassion. In the New Testament, Jesus spent one third of His ministry healing the sick. Scripture often refers to Jesus as being filled with compassion for the suffering of others,
and He made time for vulnerable children, prostitutes, lepers, and tax collectors – those typically outcast by society. While HIV/AIDS is an incurable disease, there are at least six ways that every church can engage in the fight:


When Rick and Kay Warren first arrived in the Saddleback Valley in December of 1979, all they had was what they could fit in the back of a U-haul truck. Fresh out of seminary, the young pastor and his bride dreamed of planting a church that would be “a place where the hurting, the depressed, and the confused can find love, acceptance, help, hope, forgiveness, and encouragement.” With many good Bible-teaching churches already in Southern California, Pastor Rick turned his attention to those who didn’t attend church regularly. Two weeks after Pastor Rick and Kay arrived in the Saddleback Valley, they began with a small Bible study, meeting with one other family in the Warrens' small condo.           

On Easter of 1980, Saddleback Valley Community Church held its very first public service and 205 people, most of whom have never been to church, showed up. That began one of the most exciting journeys of growth that any church has experienced in American history. In more than two decades of ministry in South Orange County, God has continued to expand the church’s influence. Currently, Saddleback Church has more than 200 ministries serving the church and community. One in nine people in the area call Saddleback their church home. God has also expanded the church’s ministry both nationally and internationally. Today, it is the second largest church in the U.S.           

Pastor Rick’s 1995 book The Purpose Driven Church put the principles that led to the church’s success in print, namely its focus on the five biblical purposes of the church: worship, fellowship, discipleship, ministry and evangelism. Now more than 200,000 church leaders from around the world have been trained in Saddleback’s purpose-driven philosophy. Pastor Rick’s latest book, The Purpose Driven Life, has been on the New York Times bestseller list for 45+ weeks and has currently sold over 30 million copies. It focuses on the truth that life is “not about you,” and shows how God can enable each of us to live for His purposes.

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