Mega Churches – Saddleback Church, Lake Forest, California, USA


Saddleback Church Interior

On Easter of 1980, Saddleback Valley Community Church held its very first public service and 205 people, most of who had 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. Saddleback did not build its first permanent building until it had 10,000 weekly attendees. When the current Lake Forest campus was purchased in the early 1990s, a 2,300-seat plastic tent was used for worship services for several years, with four services each weekend. In 1995, the current Worship Center was completed with a seating capacity of 3,500. The Children’s Ministry Center (housing the “Saddleback Kids” ministry) and staff office building were completed over the next few years. In 2008, former Pastor of Life Development, Doug Fields, saw his dream of over 15 years come to fruition with the completion of the Refinery, Saddleback’sfirst permanent student ministry facility.

Saddleback Church

Costing $20 million, the state-of-the-art facility is considered the premier student ministry facility in the world. One in nine people in the area call Saddleback their church home. 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. Saddleback Church serves the Southern California community through more than 200 ministries, eight worship venues, a variety of counseling and support programs, Bible studies and seminars, local and global outreach programs, and a broad network of small groups meeting in local homes. The Refinery houses Saddleback’s middle school ministry (Wildside), high school ministry (HSM), college ministry (Crave), and young adult’s ministry, (Fuel). Since moving into the Refinery, all the student ministries have seen tremendous growth, with more than 2,500 young people attending services in the facility each week. The Refinery was built using the resources and voluntary giving raised through the “Extending the Vision” campaign. The Purpose Driven Church (PDC) curriculum and Celebrate Recovery program were founded at Saddleback Church. Saddleback currently has 9 regional campuses (not including the Lake Forest campus): San Clemente, Irvine, Corona, Orange, Huntington Beach, Rancho Capistrano, Anaheim (Spanish), Anaheim and Laguna Woods. Several more campuses are planned in the next few years. In addition, Saddleback is “virtually” attended by those around the country who listen to services on the live webcast.

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