This year at Graduation, Vanguard will host Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church as the main commencement speaker. Warren is the founder and head pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, the eighth largest Church in the United States. He has written numerous books, including “The Purpose Driven Church” and “The Purpose Driven Life,” which made him a New York Times bestselling author.
It was at an Assemblies of God conference in San Diego back in December 2010 that President Taylor first met Warren. While congratulating Vanguard’s successes and growth, he offered to speak at commencement. President Taylor said she was delighted at the prospect.
“We are honored to have Pastor Rick Warren share with our graduates on Saturday morning. We have many students and members of the Vanguard community that are part of the Saddleback church. More broadly, Pastor Warren has a voice and impact throughout the evangelical community, the nation, and has been a dear friend of the Assemblies of God. We welcome him and know that whatever he shares will be both inspiring and challenging for our graduates,” Taylor said.
Responses from the student community have ranged from impressed to unenthusiastic.
“One thing I like is his ability to connect with all people, not just Christians, I don’t feel threatened with having him as a speaker if I were to bring non-Christian friends and family. It will be interesting to see his message for the Christian community taking into consideration who his audience is,” senior Andrea Tsavahidis said.
However, others are not quite as enthused.
“Saddleback has many branches, each delivering the same passage, but creating a different message. Using multiple translations is manipulating and confusing,” junior James Lewis said.
While the content of his message is unknown, President Taylor feels positively about the proceedings.
“We will have a great celebration with all of our commencement events the first week of May,” Taylor said.
The graduation ceremony takes place Saturday, May 7 at 9:30 a.m. at Mariners Church in Irvine