Over the past few months, literally hundreds of volunteers have given up their Saturday mornings to serve at Rancho Capistrano. Volunteers were recently recognized for the more than 1500 hours of service they have dedicated to beautify and make repairs at The Ranch. They were invited to gather together for fellowship, laughs, and to be honored with a barbeque and a time of relaxation.
“It’s so important to recognize these volunteers,” said Maudi Kolster, Rancho Capistrano’s Facilities Coordinator. “They have spent hundreds of hours working for no pay at all, just the joy of serving together. That’s what they seem to appreciate the most, working together side- by-side.”
“It brings tears to my eyes to see what’s been happening. I have been on the property for two years and I am seeing an outpouring of love and devotion to this project as never before.” said Maudi.
That Saturday morning began in the chapel, with Maudi and Volunteer Coordinator Janna Roberts welcoming the volunteers once again to the property. Following a devotion inspired by Colossians 3:15-17 about gratitude to God, followed by prayer, the volunteers scattered to their jobs, working together for another morning before the barbecue.
Volunteers have been essential to improvements on the property. “It’s impossible to do what we need to do here without volunteers; absolutely impossible, said Pastor Dave Arnold, Director of Strategic Initiatives.”
Rancho Capistrano is becoming a part of the Saddleback family. As volunteers have invested their time there, The Ranch has become integrated into the fabric of many of their lives. For example, some of the volunteers have made Saturday mornings on the property a part of their weekly calendar of events. “I do it every week,” one said, “it’s just become a part of my life now and I love it!”
For another volunteer, working at Rancho Capistrano is a source of peace. “My life is so full of stress,” he said. “From my children to my job and household duties, meeting so many different needs can be very demanding,” he continued. “I come here to just do something for the Lord – with no stress involved, and at the end of it, I feel at peace.”
On Volunteer Appreciation Day, the gratitude was reciprocal. Those responsible for The Ranch were thankful for the volunteers, and Saddleback volunteers were grateful to God for the privilege of serving him together at beautiful Rancho Capistrano.
To volunteer at The Ranch, please contact Maudie at email@example.com.
If you would like to support The Ranch by helping with administration tasks in our Ministry Office, please contact Pam at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A Special Message from Pastor Glen and Jo Ann Kreun
I can’t thank you enough for allowing me to be a part of your lives for the past 28 years. It has been a joy to serve our Lord with you – the congregation called Saddleback Church. Thank you for the words of encouragement, the cards, the gifts that you shared with us over the years and the love you poured out on us this past weekend. We’re looking forward to our retirement years spent with YOU.
Glen Kreun, Saddleback’s Senior Executive Pastor, has experienced the privilege of seeing first hand how God has shaped and grown Saddleback Church. “Saddleback has become all I ever dreamed it would be,” he said. Glen is retiring, having served here for 28 years. Through experience, and circumstances undeniably orchestrated by God, Glen’s life has been intentionally purpose driven.
Growing Up In Faith
Raised in a small Dutch Reformed farming community in Southwestern Minnesota, Glen was the son of a farmer who taught him what it was to be a godly man by his example of leadership in the church and at home. Glen attended a Christian elementary school in their town which his father founded, and then a Christian high school. Every meal in their home was preceded by prayer, followed by Bible reading and his father’s prayers – without exception.
When Glen enlisted in the U.S. Navy, he was soon challenged to live an exemplary life before others. As he ate dinner on base in San Diego one evening, another sailor asked him, “Are you a Christian?” “Yes, why do you ask?” Glen wondered. The sailor told him, “Because every time I see you at a meal, you are praying.” Glen recounts the profound affect those words had on him. “I realized then, while I was still only 17 years old, the affect of my actions on other people. I determined right then, as young as I was, to do all I could to live out the faith I had been taught at home, at church, and at school. It was an intentional decision.”
Toward the end of his 20 years in the Navy, Glen completed his MBA and was ready to retire from the service. “I planned to make millions of dollars!” Glen smiled at the thought. “My pastor asked me, ‘Glen, have you ever thought about seminary?’ ‘No!’ I answered.” But, with these words, God had stirred his heart. Glen was excited! Christians around him affirmed his plan. “Even the unbelievers I worked with said, ‘Glen, that’s you!’” When he left for Golden Gate Seminary in San Francisco, he was 38 years old. “I knew what God wanted of me at this moment in my life.”
Seminary and More
In seminary Glen car pooled with Tom Holladay. The first summer, he volunteered at a children’s camp called Camp Cazarado, in Northern California. The camp director was Jimmy Warren, Rick Warren’s father. Since all of the other camp counselors were women, Glen and Jimmy spent a lot of time together that summer, and Glen was later asked to serve on the camp’s board of directors. Rick, at that time, was a lifeguard during the summers at camp, and when the board met at the Warren’s home, Rick was there. Glen knew him as a member of the Warren family.
At graduation in 1981, he told the Lord, “I’ll take a position anywhere, except Southern California.” God gave Glen his wish and placed him, for awhile, in a church in Northern California.
Discovering God's Purpose At Saddleback
In November of 1982, 18 months following graduation, Glen received a telephone call. “Hello Glen, this is Rick Warren in Southern California. Tom Holladay has suggested that you might be a good minister of education and administration. Would you consider coming down here?” Glen was hesitant. “I’ll consider PRAYING about it,” he responded. “Southern California!” Glen thought. “What is God doing?” Rick asked, “When can you come?” “I’m really busy between now and Christmas,” Glen replied. Pastor Rick pursued him, “Come for a Christmas open house in our back yard!” “I really can’t.” “Ok, come.” Rick concluded.
Just a few weeks later, sensing the Holy Spirit’s leading, yet also feeling a little skeptical, Glen and his wife traveled to the open house. “What I found there was a backyard full of new believers; excited young adults who were enjoying church and were telling their friends and neighbors about it – and bringing them! This was something I had never seen in a church, and I was impressed.”
After the guests had gone, Glen and his wife sat down with Rick and Kay. “What do you like to do?” Pastor Rick asked. “I answered him,” Glen said, “and then I asked him, ‘what do YOU like to do?’ When he told me, I was amazed! NOTHING matched. I didn’t like to do anything he liked to do and he didn’t like the things that were my passion. Wow! Pastor Rick told us about his vision for a church of 20,000 people. He was 28 years old and I saw in him a vision, conviction, and faith. My wife and I excused ourselves and went for a walk,” Glen said. “When we returned, we were certain this was the place God was leading us. The next week, I tendered my resignation in Northern California, and on December 28, 1982 I began serving the Lord at Saddleback Church.”
“Now,” Glen said, “I am investing 60 hours a week as I always have, but I have a 70 year old body! I have worked with Pastor Rick for 28 years as he dreamed up ideas and preached and God changed lives. My part was to create the structure and support for growth over the years. The hardest thing about my leaving, just like in 1982 in Pastor Rick’s backyard, is leaving the people of God who make Saddleback what it is. People here have been compelled by the Holy Spirit to invite friends, to be radically generous, to show radical love for one another and be gracious.”
“Of course I’m having some emotional ups and downs with this decision. But, I feel confident that I have a release from the Lord. There are extremely competent people in place in the areas of business and finance at Saddleback, and they are equipped spiritually to continue to fill the gap for Pastor Rick, just as I had the privilege of doing.”
“I’m most proud of my contribution towards helping to mature the staff by making sure seminary training is available to them – I have mentored many. I will miss influencing them yet I’m relieved. I plan to move out of decision making in retirement, get some exercise and continue investing in people!”
Saddleback’s goal is to start at least 100 new churches a year by the end of Decade of Destiny. If this sounds ambitious, it should! “Currently no other church in the country is planting new churches at this rate,” said David Alford, director of Saddleback’s soon to be initiated school for training church planters. David and other Saddleback leaders have been traveling the country for the past few months to glean from the expertise of other churches, networks, denominations, and individual church planters.
“We were seeking ‘best practices’ to learn what’s working successfully.” David said. “The most pressing issue we uncovered was the need for trained leaders.” Not just a few, but a profusion of leaders: talented and gifted people called by God to be church planters.
“They are here!” David said. “We know that because when God wants to do something, he calls leaders. Sometimes he calls those leaders from unexpected places. We think this may be one of those times. We need to provide a way for people to consider the possibility that God may be calling them into this form of ministry.”
David and the team anticipate that gifted leaders who have never before thought of themselves as church planters will to begin to consider the possibility. “Church planting is one of the most challenging and significant things that someone can do with their life. Our job will be to raise awareness of the opportunity and provide ways for people to explore the possibility. We’re eager to see what God will do.”
Potential church planters will be strong entrepreneurial leaders with a passion for reaching people for Christ. They may come from different backgrounds, different age groups, and different levels of experience. The critical factor is a clear call from God to lead a church. Beyond that we want to remove the obstacles to church planting by providing opportunities for people to explore and test their call,” David said.
To do that, the school will likely offer one part-time program designed to allow people to explore church planting without having to leave their current job. The program will include a combination of training and supervised ministry activity. The program will not be limited to Orange County. For people outside the area who want to explore church planting, the program will be offered through short intensive training sessions every few months, and supervised ministry activity at their church. “God might be drawing someone from, say, Texas, who has a burden for their community. We want to help them confirm their call wherever they are,” he added.
Who are all these people? “We don’t know who they are yet, but we know they are here.” Starting 100 new churches a year is more than ambitious, it is achievable!
On Thursday, September 2, Pastor Rick ignited excitement as he called the Men of Saddleback together to detail the plans for the next ten years at Saddleback – appropriately titled The Decade of Destiny! And he held nothing back in expressing the impact he expects the future to hold.
“I can say without hesitation that I’m more excited about the next ten years than I’ve ever been in the past thirty years. As I’ve said before; I really see that the past is a prologue to the future,” said Pastor Rick. “I believe that everything that has happened at our church up to this point has been in preparation for the next ten years. We are now ready, more than ever before, to make an impact that is faith-building, love-deepening, joy-increasing, and people-reaching.”
Pastor of Men, Kenny Luck depicted the energy of the morning: “It was like a box of dynamite went off! At every level, I could see God, the man (Pastor Rick), the vision given to the man of God, and an infrastructure of support forming around that vision like never before. Seeing unity around the man and the vision God gave him for Decade of Destiny feels awesome.”
A destiny worth fighting for
Pastor talked to the men about possessing their destiny and preparing intentionally for their future; that in the midst of a recession, many people have been left discouraged, dry, and drifting. “We are waiting on the world to change and many of you have put your lives on hold,” he explained. “But God has amazing plans for your destiny — yet you must choose to follow it.”
“Pastor Rick challenged all of us to recognize the reality that if you don't think about your future and lay down some goals for yourself as a man, the probabilities of living successfully for God and people go way down,” said Kenny. “He also "took off his gloves" on the topics of our relationship and response to God's Word in our lives and having the courage to trust God with our choices. He didn't comfort us or confront us. He challenged us! Guys love this kind of authentic communication which appeals to how God made us as men.”
Pastor Rick continued by using Joshua 1:1-11 as an illustration of the destiny God is preparing for Saddleback. In the same way God commanded Joshua three times to be strong and courageous, God is asking the church to take possession of the destiny he is calling them to by doing three things:
• Preparing a Plan
• Building a Life Completely On God’s Word
• Courageously Stepping Out In Faith
“This Fall the Men of Saddleback have an opportunity to lead” Kenny emphasized. “My mission at Saddleback is to help create a network of leaders for Rick who are ready, willing, and able to help their pastor be agile and effective in what God has called him to do. That's our purpose for being at Saddleback. My strongest hope and prayer is that more and more of our men form ranks around our pastor and the mission God has called him to lead this season.”
Decade of Destiny kicks off 10-10-10 and we have a jam-packed season coming up this fall. If you were unable to come Thursday morning, DON'T MISS THIS WEEKEND! Pastor Rick has so much to share about what's ahead.
The 500 families who visit Saddleback’s food pantry each month receive more than just food. Since its May 2009 opening, volunteers have shared prayer, encouragement, and hope with over 20,000 clients. The ministry developed to provide hope and “strengthen relationships with God,” according to Pantry Coordinator Rana Muncy.
Initially overseen by the Membership Team at Saddleback, the ministry is now led by Pastor of Stewardship Chris Goulard. He and Rana shared remarkable stories of “love in action,” as a large sign proclaims in the pantry’s office.
Seeking comfort and care
A woman who had received food at the pantry returned two weeks later, well before she was eligible for another monthly box of food, seeking refuge after falling victim to domestic violence. “Of all the places she could have turned for help,” Rana said, “she came here. Not to neighbors, family, the police—she came here. She told us, ‘I just need to talk to someone.’” Rana added that other clients return frequently for prayer.
Volunteers at the pantry sort the donated food, stock shelves that are arranged like a grocery store’s aisles, and pack the food into boxes according to a list. Other volunteers host the clients when they arrive, guiding them through the process of enrolling and rolling their food out to the parking lot on a cart. They pray together. “We never rush people,” Pastor Chris said. “Our volunteers talk with them for as long as the conversation continues. No one is a number here.”
Giving food and feeding the soul
A family of four receives a box of canned, boxed, frozen and fresh foods weighing over 75 pounds, “a really full grocery cart’s worth,” Pastor Chris explained. The food is intended to meet their needs for a week. The box also holds scripture verses, booklets, or other inspirational material and a list of local assistance resources. Fifty clients have received Christ at the food pantry and another 48 have recommitted their lives to Him.
Rana shared the story of a young man who came with his neighbor. The neighbor told the pantry host that her friend had not yet accepted Christ, so the host asked him if he would like to. The young man professed his faith on the spot. The next day, he returned with a friend. Rana explained, “’This guy really needs Christ in his life,’ he said.” She laughed. “A one-day believer and he’s bringing us other people!” The next week, the young man returned with yet another friend so he could also hear the gospel.
Pastor Chris and Rana agreed that “our number one strength is our ministry” and they focus on raising up volunteers by ministering to them. “We fill them up so they can flow into our clients,” he explained. They’ve also seen their volunteers grow through serving God. Debbie, a volunteer who initially wanted to remain in the sorting area in the warehouse, was gently led to come into the offices, then to join with hosts as they prayed with client families. “Debbie was the first volunteer to lead a client to Christ,” Rana announced proudly. “And since that time, she’s probably led another 15 of the 50,” Pastor Chris added.
Using space carved out of an existing church warehouse, Saddleback’s pantry distributes food donated by church members or by corporate partners. Starbucks Coffee and Einstein Bros. Bagels contribute day-old goods. Post Cereals and Kraft Foods have donated food by the pallet. Just4Tires sent a team to Costco to buy food—using money that had been earmarked for their holiday party—then some the tire store staff used a vacation day to come in and stock the shelves. Cash donations are used to purchase food to “fill in” items needed to pack the boxes with a balanced variety of nutritious foods. Currently, the pantry is distributing 37,500 pounds of food a month. About a quarter of its clients are Saddleback members; the rest come from the local community. Ten to 25 percent of clients are visiting a food pantry for the first time. They range from unemployed professionals to homeless families. “We had some here yesterday who asked for water, because they’d walked,” Rana said.
For more information on the food pantry, please contact us at (949) 609-8757.
You can make a difference with as little as ONE bag of food per month. Fill a grocery bag and drop it off at Ministry Office 1 during the week or in the big blue barrels on the weekend.