Rick Warren sets up memorial fund

I have been thinking of Rick Warren all week. A dreadful loss. Praying peace on the family after the tragic suicide of their son Matthew.

Rick Warren just set up the Matthew Warren Memorial Fund for Mental Illness. I hope the fund does well in raising awareness of this issue that affects so many, including many ministry families. It’s a hard issue to talk about without creating disrespect for the individual involved. I hope there is a way forward. 

Rick warren matthew warren fund

Rick is an incredible man and I respect him a hell of a lot. In the early days, we in the emerging church gave the seeker-sensitive pastors a hard time but they, in particular Rick, never retaliated. In Rick Warren’s case, he not only embraced much of what we were doing but he also endorsed books and stood by as a resource and mentor. Some months ago I received a huge amount of love when Rick called my twitter profile “brilliant” and tweeted it for his followers. What a guy!

Rick warren and tallskinnykiwi

Over those years, God has continued to use Rick Warren beyond our imagination. 

Last week we turned up at a remote camping site in the Queen Charlotte area of Marlborough Sounds, South Island, New Zealand. Hardly any civilization anywhere. And at the campground, in a little shed used for washing dishes, someone had left a copy of Purpose Driven Life. 

I may not have actually read that book but I have boat-loads of respect for how God has used that book in people’s lives. And the impact of the Warren family. 

 God’s peace and blessing be on his family and church in abundant measure. And if you say anything negative about Rick this week (Mega-church pastors are the easiest target) then I will surely kick yo ass!


Andrew Jones launched his first internet space in 1997 and has been teaching on related issues for the past 20 years. He travels all the time but lives between Wellington, San Francisco and a hobbit home in Prague.


  • Bill says:

    Very nice post. I’m one of the many folks who were deeply affected by the 40 Days of Purpose program. It helped redirect my life in great ways.
    I moved on from there, likely farther than Rick Warren would like, but nevertheless I am indebted to him. I can only imagine the pain and sorrow in his family right now. Peace be on them.

  • kp says:

    As someone whose family has been forever changed by suicide, I can only urge you to tackle the subject and to talk about it. We never thought it would happen to us. We were a loving family, open and talked about everything. And suddenly we were standing around the coffin of a twenty-something young man who we loved but who decided to end his life so violently. If we become afraid to say the word ‘suicide’ … there, I just did … then it has a power over us that it shouldn’t. Don’t shy away from this. So many people consider it a viable option for their lives. Take the power away from it. Reclaim it and turn it around. It is a permanent solution to a temporary problem and we have to take active steps to change that. My heart weeps for these guys – I’m not ‘into’ their theological approach to life or church but I know there is a tough road ahead. Help them by talking about this and helping eliminate it from the options people think are available to them. Don’t let this life have been in vain.

  • Joe Olachea says:

    Thank God that he joins us in our suffering and doesn’t leave us to face it alone. We serve a good God who enters suffering defeating it from the inside out! The Warren family has gone through much. They are in my prayers.

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