BACKGROUND: The cause of our financial shortfall was NOT a management issue but simply by the way Christmas occurred in this year’s calendar. After 10 packed Christmas services, and with Christmas Day on Friday, many people were out of town or too tired to come back for weekend services, so the unusually low attendance created an unusually low offering. That is understandable
MEDIA: Because our church attracts a lot of attention, the media will undoubtedly report my letter- but only partially, not telling the whole story. It is likely that none of the positive end-of-the-year reports of your service to the community and none of your amazing accomplishments as a church family in 2009 will be reported. They may get some facts wrong or even misjudge our motivations. I know this is frustrating, but don’t let it bother you.According to the LA Times, Saddleback brought in more and $2.4 million dollars as a result, since last Wednesday.Â Rick announced the total at services over the weekend, and confirmed that this was the amount that people had turned in so far in person, and did not include many other donations that had been mailed.Â Warren used the occasion to preach a message on ‘Radical Generosity’. Here’s more from the LA Times story: â€œI wasnâ€™t surprised by this offering, as Saddleback is famous for radical generosity,â€ Warren said during tonight’s service. Warren represented the total with a display that included 24 parishioners rising to represent $100,000 each, said spokeswoman Kristin Cole. Virtually all of the individual donations were for less than $1,000, according to the church, she added. More donations remain to be counted. The church has launched similar appeals before, raising $1.6 million for victims of the 2004 Asian tsunami and $1.7 million for victims of Hurricane Katrina, which struck New Orleans in 2005. â€œI say without fear of contradiction that I donâ€™t know of a more generous church,â€ Warren said in a news release. The church does not release comprehensive information about its budget — or even a budget total — so itâ€™s difficult for those outside the leadership to get a clear picture of church finances. The church was never in danger of going under, Cole said. But without the infusion, the church would not have been able to accomplish its ministerial work as planned, she said. Like other charitable organizations, SaddlebackÂ has had to do more with less, even as it expanded its work in some areas, Cole said.