Purpose Driven Life Author & Pastor Of Saddleback Church Rick Warren’s Son Matthew Committed Suicide At 27
The pastor of Saddleback Community Church (the 8th largest in the nation) in Lake Forest California and best-selling author of the wildly popular "Purpose Driven Life" lost his son over the weekend to a self-inflicted gunshot wound. This is a sad day for all of those who knew of the Warrens and their cause, and for all who suffer or have loved ones who suffer from mental illness.
Ten years ago I hopped an airplane down to Saddleback Community Church as part of a conference they hold every year for church leadership to discover their secrets to success. Most of us here go or have gone to church but this was more like a small city: a sprawling campus that fed upwards of 10,000 people every weekend, back then anyway. Rick spoke of his son and his fight with mental illness as a teenager, so I can only imagine his grief now as no parent should ever outlive their kids, much less to a tragedy of this sort.
In an email to the church Rick responded to the outcry of support:
"Kay and I are overwhelmed by your love, prayers, and kind words. You are all encouraging our #brokenhearts," Warren tweeted today to his almost 1 million followers. "I'll never forget how, many years ago, after another approach had failed to give relief, Matthew said 'Dad, I know I'm going to heaven. Why can't I just die and end this pain?'"
His son said that a decade ago, and it is unfortunate that this has happened, but if you've read his book or know anything about the message Partor Rick championed, you know that amidst the terrible grief his family and church are feeling, they also have hope and healing too. Our hearts and prayers are with them.