Rick Warren - often referred to as 'America's Pastor' -is asking his flock to cough up $900,000 in just two days to keep his church in the black.
Warren, the mega-pastor and bestselling author who gave the invocation at the historic inauguration of President Barack Obama, has sent this letter to his followers:
"Dear Saddleback Family," begins Warren. "THIS IS AN URGENT LETTER unlike any I've written in 30 years. Please read all of it and get back to me in the next 48 hours.
"I have thrilling news to share with you below but first some seriously bad news: With 10% of our church family out of work due to the recession, our expenses in caring for our community in 2009 rose dramatically while our income stagnated. Still, with wise management, we've stayed close to our budget all year. Then... this last weekend the bottom dropped out.
"On the last weekend of 2009, our total offerings were less than half of what we normally receive - leaving us $900,000 in the red for the year, unless you help make up the difference today and tomorrow."
In his letter, Warren praises the church's accomplishments for the year, and then adds:
It's obvious that your giving through your church family is providing more "bang for the buck" than anything else you could support. It is no wonder that our ministry was named the top religious newsmaker of 2009 as reported by Associated Press.
YOU CAN HELP SAVE THE DAY 3 WAYS BEFORE JAN 1.
1.Click HERE right now to and give as large an end-of-the-year gift as you can to help avert this crisis. If we all do what God leads us to do, we'll all be a part of a miracle.
2.Mail in your gift today. Gifts must be postmarked in 2009 to be posted as 2009 gifts for tax purposes. Mail to: 1 Saddleback Parkway, Lake Forest, CA 92630.
3.Drop your gift in the box at the front door of the Ministry Center at 1 Saddleback Parkway so you know for certain we get it TODAY or Thursday...."
Warren ends the letter by saying: "I love you so much. It is a deep privilege to be your pastor."