Popular US pastor Rick Warren has announced his successor as leading minister of Saddleback Church as he steps down from his role in the autumn.
“After many discussions, many interviews and days of prayer, he is the man that Kay and I have chosen and our elders have unanimously confirmed to be my successor and to lead our church family into the future,” Pastor Warren said in a video statement to the congregation.
“This man is going to be my pastor now,” he continued.
The search for a new pastor began last summer after Pastor Warren announced he would be transitioning to a “less visible position” as founding pastor after feeling God’s call to do so.
Warren has also been suffering with health issues. Last year, he told his congregation he has spinal myoclonus, a condition that causes tremors and blurred vision, which has worsened in the last few years.
The 67-year-old pastor and his wife Kay have chosen Andy and Stacie Wood from Echo Church in South Bay as their successors after speaking with about 100 potential candidates - Wood will become the official senior pastor of Saddleback Church on 12th September.
“Kay and I believe so much in this couple,” Pastor Warren continued.
“We love them so much, and we are confident that God has prepared and chosen them to take up the baton and run the next leg of the Saddleback marathon.”
Andy and Stacie were part of a group of people who planted Echo Church in 2008 and had been leading it since. The couple helped the church grow and launch different campuses, attracting an average of 3,000 people to their services every week.
In a statement, the couple said: “We’ve been so blessed by their friendship, and after months of prayer and seeking counsel from others, we believe that God has called us together to step into serving at Saddleback Church.”
Wood will step down from Echo church at the end of June, and while the church’s leadership “discerns the heart of God” for who the next lead pastor of the church should be, Pastor Filipe Santos will be the acting lead pastor.