While my overall experience at Saddleback was very positive and the Lord blessed my personal worship experience, there were three things I would change. Two I feel are essential to worship and one is just a personal preference.
Let us start with my personal preference just to get it out of the way: The dress is so casual at Saddleback that if I wore a suit there I would definitely feel “out of place.” Why would I change this? Because I like to wear a suit! Christina (my wife) on the other hand loved being able to dress down, and asked me if I knew how hard it was to try and corral kids in a dress? Dresses aren’t my thing, so I had to admit I do not understand that challenge.
Okay now for the other two items. There was only one prayer in the service. It was Pastor Rick Warren’s closing prayer. I didn’t like this, I believe if we say that prayer is important as believers and even Pastor Rick mentioned the power of prayer in order to change in his sermon, then we have to model it before our people and place great emphasis on it! Maybe they do this at other times, but it is not evident in their worship service. On a side note though, off of their patio (outdoor foyer) they do have a prayer garden and there are people that will pray with individuals and for individuals desiring prayer after the service. I would still like to see a greater emphasis in the worship service.
The other item that I didn’t like is that giving was never even mentioned in the worship service and if I hadn’t seen the plate coming I would not have even known they were collecting offering. Giving is an integral act of worship and again I believe this should be clearly affirmed in a worship service.
Those are the negatives from our time at Saddleback all the rest was great! Including a wonderful message on Biblical change from Romans 12:1-12.
I hope you have enjoyed the Saddleback Observations blogs.