Gateway Church of Parkesburg, Pennsylvania, a Grace Brethren church pastored by Dan O’Deens, is among 46 congregations from 18 American states and 13 other nations who will receive Church Health Awards during an upcoming Purpose Driven Church Conference at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif. O’Deens (lower right in photo) is pictured with Rick Warren (center) at a recent conference.
Pastor Dan O’Deens, founding pastor of Gateway Church, says he “counts it a privilege to receive such an important honor. Health is the predictor of growth and multiplication. It has been a great experience to be mentored by Rick Warren. He has taught us and coached us on being balanced and purposeful in reaching our world for Jesus.”
“These awards emphasize church health — balance and strength — over size,” said Rick Warren, Saddleback’s pastor and founder of Purpose Driven Ministries. “There is no correlation between the size of a church and its strength.
“These congregations understand that the healthy church maintains a balance between the five biblical purposes — worship, fellowship, discipleship, ministry, and mission,” Warren said. “These congregations have embraced purpose driven principles to grow not only in numbers but — more importantly — to grow in health.”
This year’s list of award winners demonstrates that the Purpose Driven model is used by congregations around the world, including those large and small, denominational and non-denominational, charismatic and non-charismatic, new plant and well-established, urban and rural.
Congregations in the United States that are being recognized this year range from Eastlake Community Church in Redmond, Wash., to First Brazilian Baptist Church of South Florida in Pompano Beach, Fla., and Penn Friends Community Church in Cassopolis, Mich. to Gateway Church in Parkesburg, PA.
The international congregations include Kwai Shing Baptist Church in Hong Kong, China; New Hope Community Church in Aukland, New Zealand; Asociaacio Misionera Sendero de Luz in San Jose, Costa Rica; and Lira Pentecostal Church in Kampala, Uganda.
Each year since 1999, Purpose Driven has honored congregations that demonstrated excellence in adapting the Purpose Driven paradigm to their church life. Thousands of congregations worldwide have adopted the Purpose Driven model. More than 400,000 church leaders in every country of the world have been trained in the Purpose Driven principles.