Appointment to leading UK Baptist theological institution reflects Warren’s parallel convictions on ordination, ministry leadership and family connection with both the founder and institution
LAKE FOREST — Pastor Rick Warren, founder of Saddleback Church, best-selling author of The Purpose Driven Life and Coordinator of the global Finishing the Task coalition, today jointly announced his acceptance and installation as first-ever Chancellor of Spurgeon’s College, a London-based Baptist Institution that trains men and women for evangelism, ministry and pastoral leadership in the contemporary world.
Founded in 1856 as “Pastor’s College” by its namesake, esteemed Baptist preacher Charles Haddon Spurgeon, today, Spurgeon’s is the leading evangelical college in the UK, with a growing emphasis in online learning. More than 5,000 men and women have been trained in Christian mission and ministry, including over 50 percent of next generation UK pastors and leaders each year.
Beyond his international renown as an innovative pastor, global influencer and best-selling author of The Purpose Driven Church and Purpose Driven Life (with combined sales of more than 84 million copies), Pastor Warren’s appointment as Chancellor reflects his own deep and personal connection to the College. His great, great grandfather studied at Spurgeon’s and was led to faith, commissioned to Christian service and sent to America to plant churches by Mr. Spurgeon himself. The video of Pastor Warren’s installation can be viewed here.
“I am delighted to have officially joined Spurgeon’s College as its first Chancellor at this important time in its development and mission,” said Chancellor Warren. “I have a deep personal family connection over four generations to Charles Spurgeon and the ministry of the College he founded, and he is responsible for my family moving to America. Further, my understanding of the meaning of ordination and conviction from Scripture on ministry leadership are identical to Charles Spurgeon’s published views. I am grateful to God and the College for this opportunity to give back to this community.”
Speaking on the appointment, Spurgeon’s College Vice Chancellor the Rev. Prof Philip McCormack said, “On behalf of the Governing Body, staff, students, college alumni and the many friends, supporters and stakeholders of the College, I am absolutely thrilled to welcome Chancellor Rick Warren as part of the Spurgeon’s College family.”
As Chancellor, Pastor Warren will play a key role in supporting the vision of the College to train men and women for Christian mission, ministry and leadership in the contemporary world. The primary aim of the College and Pastor Warren in their aligned missions is to make Jesus known, in-part to respond to the most recent census data showing that less than 5% of the UK population identify as practicing Christians, yet 33% said they wanted to know more about Jesus.
“In his long and distinguished ministry, both in the US and around the world, Pastor Warren has spoken of his link with the great Baptist preacher Charles Spurgeon,” said Spurgeon’s College Deputy Vice Chancellor Rev. Helen Stokley. “His incredible work and experience to-date will be vital as the College continues to expand its civic engagement across London and supporting faith organizations throughout the UK.”
Pastor Warren’s installation as the first Chancellor of Spurgeon’s College builds on the significant progress the College has made in recent years, culminating in its securing of Full Degree Awarding Powers in 2022. The award permits the College to create new degrees in other disciplines in the future based on student demand and the College’s core mission. Through its ambitious plans to redevelop the campus and expand its teaching facilities in metro-London, the College is aiming to strengthen its educational offer for the local community, the nation and the world.
As part of this mission, the College will be welcoming more students at Spurgeon’s through its online learning community, which can be accessed from anywhere around the globe and for which Pastor Warren will be providing guest lectures, as well as calling on the global Christian community to invest in the College’s vision and cause.
“The name of Spurgeon stands for a number of key values that the Church needs to recover today,” Warren added. “It represents strong Bible-based doctrine; passionate preaching; extensive church planting; winsome evangelism; a commitment to the ministry of every believer; and caring for the poor, the orphaned and the marginalized. I’d summarize Charles Spurgeon’s life and ministry with this slogan: “He made a Great Commitment to the Great Commandment and the Great Commission that produced a great church and a great college.”
About Spurgeon’s College
Spurgeon’s College is a registered charity, Christian theological institution and one of the UK’s leading Christian Colleges, located in Croydon (London), UK. For more than 163-years, it has earned a national and international reputation for excellence in theological education, ministerial formation and counselling training.
Spurgeon’s College offers an undergraduate course in Theology and postgraduate courses in subjects such as Christian Thought and Practice, Digital Theology and Biblical and Theological studies. The College also offers courses in counselling. Following the Office for Students awarding the College with Full Degree Awarding Powers, the College was able to award honours degrees in the College’s own name for the first time from September 2022.
The College currently has approximately 600 students and employs 80 faculty and staff. To-date the College has trained over 5,000 pastors and ministry workers – including faith and community leaders who currently work in over 40 countries around the world, and more than 1,000 professional counsellors who support mental health and wellbeing across the country.
For more information about Spurgeon’s College, please visit spurgeons.ac.uk
About Pastor Rick Warren
Rick Warren is the founding Pastor of Saddleback Church in California, which grew to over 30,000 weekly attendees across 19 locations, including four international campuses, and an online campus hosting listeners from around the world. He is currently serving as Coordinator of Finishing the Task, a global coalition of churches; denominations; Christian organizations, mission and media working together toward the Great Commission goal of ensuring that everyone everywhere has access to a Bible, a believer and a body of Christ by 2033 A.D., which will be the 2,000th anniversary of Jesus’ resurrection and the foundation of the Christian church.
Warren has a Bachelor of Arts degree from California Baptist College, a Master of Divinity from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, and a Doctor of Ministry from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California.
A. Larry Ross
A. Larry Ross Communications
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Religion News Service or Religion News Foundation.
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