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 40 Days of Purpose

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T O P I C    R E V I E W
touchadmin Posted - 10/05/2003 : 23:28:48
TOUCH had a info booth at the Willow Creek Small Groups Conference last week. Most every pastor who approached our table said:
a) They'd never heard of us.
b) They had just done the 40 days of purpose.

I don't know how many churches doing cell groups have done 40 days of purpose by Rick Warren. If you have, or have not and decided not to for one reason or another, I'd be interested to read about your thoughts on it.

Can it be used in a cell church? Does it create watered-down groups that are not transformational, led by people who don't have a clue as to the ministry and calling of a group leader?

Let's run this one up the flag pole for discussion! Please reply.

Randall Neighbour
Forum Administrator
15   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
touchadmin Posted - 01/27/2006 : 10:39:02
Since I created this thread so long ago, my home church (a Vineyard church in Houston) has begun the 40DOP. My cell group broke up into three 40DOP groups for the 6 weeks of the campaign.

Week two has just passed. Had our meeting last night. Two of my unsaved friends, who are very close to my wife and I, are attending and sharing openly. Only one couple from my cell group are in our group. Everyone else is new, which is really refreshing to me personally.


One of my unbelieving friends has no confidence in the existence of God. The first video session with Rick Warren made three assumptions:

1) There is a God.
2) His Son, Jesus Christ came to earth to save us from Hell when we die if we believe in Him.
3) The Bible is God's inspired, holy, accurate manual to learn how to live one's life.

In an interview I saw with Rick, he said he created 40DOP for his own church members, who didn't have a strong purpose in life and were drawn blown by every wind the culture brought... materialism, workaholism, unneeded debt, and stress.

So, while I do think it's bringing my lost friends into a far greater understanding of God's unconditional love for them, it should be stated that it isn't for those without a Christian background or those who are not earnestly seeking God.

The Alpha program would be far better suited for my friends, but I could not get them to attend it with me. After this though, they may sign up when I take it again this fall as part of my church's basic membership requirements.

Randall Neighbour
Forum Administrator
Execjean Posted - 01/16/2006 : 14:28:04
We did 40 Days of Purpose in our church in October-November 2005. We launched 21 groups after a history of 3 consistant - and consistantly small - small groups. I have personnaly conducted small groups for more than 10 years. 40 Days is a terrific jumping off point. The material is cost effective. There's little guess work and the topics are attractive to the unchurched.

Experience says that anyone will do ANYTHING for a short period of time, that's what makes campaigns great. BUT 40 DAYS will peter out if the leadership is not prepared to take it on following the campaign. Training, coaching, follow up, curriculuum, etc must be part of the follow up. AND it must be part of the church's plan to develop a small group model. Its a paradigm shift for most of us from traditional backgounds to consider having a little-trained leader take control of a group of friends in their home. They meet with their friends anyway, so why not provide structured Bible study?
richshome Posted - 11/29/2005 : 13:23:31
I have only experienced the 40DOP program in a traditional church setting. The results we experienced were slim to none. Most of the groups disbanded after the program. I was left with a not so good taste in my mouth.

In my opinion, the way you start something sets the precedence for the way it will continue. Using the 40DOP program to start cell groups would be like taking babies out of perfectly good homes in order to put them into foster homes, a place of temporary residence.

The foundation of 40DOP is prgram centered. It is a program, designed to bring people to the building. Rick Warren is a neat guy and a great leader but his paradigm is traditional church. So, whatever he designs is going to be traditional in nature. In order to use 40DOP in a cell context, one would have to redesign its structure.

I believe Bethany World Prayer Center did something like this a few years ago. They took the purpose driven idea and formatted it to their context. I have no idea what kind of results they got.

Seeking An Audience of One,
Richard Aronson
polskawojo Posted - 11/26/2005 : 21:24:12
Just a comment or two to add to the mix...
Our church in Ohio, did the 40 days of purpose campaign as well. The goal at the time was to see many ongoing "community groups" (as they call them). The groups were loosely structured. Very little prayer took place. Very little evangelism. On the most part, it was a nice social Bible study gathering; temporary in nature; no expectations from the staff to the congregation to further develop the "community group" dynamics in a healthy fashion. To this day, the "community group" concept is an optional program in the midst of a myraid of other church programs.

RedSalt Posted - 02/10/2005 : 12:18:17
Well this is all good information to gather from if I ever wanted to do "40 Days"
touchadmin Posted - 02/09/2005 : 21:50:30
Thank you everyone for your comments thus far! I hope this thread continues for a long, long time. I have a quick update:

My brother is a pastor in S. California outside of Los Angeles. He was excited about doing the 40 days of purpose when I visited with him mid year last year. I told him I had not heard of any church that had "launched" a small group ministry or a cell-based ministry with it as he was hoping it would do. I commented that it would probably yeild lots of groups that were a mile wide and an inch deep. He was not terribly happy with my comments, as one could imagine.

Two weeks ago, i was in LA visiting him and he said it was a fun splash in the pool of small groups, but had little lasting fruit as far as groups goes. He did say that there were at least a dozen new families in the church because of it, but all the groups they formed for the campaign had fizzled out.

I do think it's not a bad thing to consider if you've already established enough cell groups to contain all those who will visit due to launching it. This is a lot easier to write than do though!

Randall Neighbour
Forum Administrator
pastorgadget Posted - 01/22/2005 : 21:06:22
This is an old post. But I felt it worth commenting on. PDL is a decent program and a great resource and tremendous success as a book. As far as lasting effect as a small group starter I have not yet heard from anyone that has seen lasting results from PDL, I personally have only seen its effect as any other well written resource. IMHO it is great book but has not had a lasting impact in the suggested structure as a small group starter. We have used it as a step for teaching for those who have completed our foundations course. Purpose Driven does not make it easy to use as book study. The fees needed to use the material legally are very prohibitive it is only designed as a church wide theme. So it is a good resource, can you say a decent curriculim here :). But IMHO it takes alot more than just a great church campaign to make small goups / cells to reap long lasting fruit.

Just my 2 cents.

Randy Neary
Andy Posted - 09/14/2004 : 16:53:22

Just starting the PDL in one of our small groups, going on 4th week. We are doing 3 chapters a week to keep the timeline as short as possible. So far, I personally have been hugely challanged, and others in the group seem to be moved as well.

I will try and post our experiences...

revjhun Posted - 09/11/2004 : 11:36:53

Jesus bless you!

I am the Small Group Ministry Trainor in our denomination. We are is in the process of educating the workers and members about it.

In 1995, after reading Ralph Neighbor's "Where Do We Go From Here," I was then convinced that the Cell is the ministry that I should be doing. I attended FCBC's Cell Training in Singapore in 1999 and the fire went on.

I've been doing trainings & seminars about the ministry and at the same time writing some equipping tracks that fits our denomination.

Some of our churches have involved themselves in Rick Warren's PDL. Actually, others are insisting that we could integrate PDL's small group with our's. Our small group ministry is more of a cell based approach. And I believe that's where we are going.

I have read part of PDL's ministry. And I do love the topics & approaches. But I think, in my opinion, PDL's small group approach is different with the Cell Church approach. And integrating them will affect some Cell based principles.

I will work on the conflicts and post it next time I go on-line. Just to help you with other reviews, I have visited a site that gives an exhaustive commentary on PDL:

Jesus bless you all!


filarks Posted - 07/23/2004 : 19:02:20
Hi all,
We are moving to the Lubbock, Texas area in August. We are moving home but we are also moving in obedience to at some point in time starting home cell groups. We feel strongly about this. I was interested in this thread about the PDL. I have read through most of it. I thought it would be good for a husband and wife to go through it. But seeing this thread I'm curious about using it for cell groups. I'm interested in the info on the forums.

We love your mentoring materials. They are very inspiring.
Thanks and God Bless,
Keith Gossett

I would rather be a person with character than to be a person who is a character!
alanw Posted - 05/24/2004 : 20:55:59

I realize that this is an old thread but just joined the forum. The church we attend had gone through the 40 days in the Fall and is currently going through the 40 weeks. There certainly was rapid group growth but I share the same concerns you may have about the leadership of the groups. There has been very little ongoing leadership training particularly in the role of Shepherd although we like to tell everyone that they are one. I am reading The Shepherd's Guidebook at the moment and see so much lacking in the "equipping of the Saints". There is certainly a lot of activity and socilization and some groups are evangelizing in their neighborhoods but most I am afraid lack the foundation to sustain longterm. Time will tell.

Getting to the Heart of the matter...
touchadmin Posted - 03/25/2004 : 18:43:04
I agree that it's a powerful bridge event, no doubt about that!

My main concern is how a number of new cell groups could be launched simultaneously and properly coached and leader's mentored.

It seems to me that PDL groups are formed quickly and many, many of the churches trying 40DOP have super initial results but have tons of group closures. This doesn't seem right to me.

Ray Comfort, an evangelist from New Zealand, says "if you catch a 100 fish by net, and 90 get away, you should stop fishing immediately and examine your net!"

I also have sizeable concerns about the moral fiber in the PDL group leaders... so many have to be created so quickly in the program that there's no real way to see beyond a person's public face and find out if they really love the Lord and hate sin. I know the bar is set far lower in PDL groups than in true cell groups... they're basically just host homeowners who have a DVD or VHS player and a TV.

Thoughts or comments from anyone who's actually done the church-wide 40DOP program?

Randall Neighbour
Forum Administrator
p_banzon Posted - 03/18/2004 : 00:28:26
Dear Randall,

We are on our third week of PDL in our church with 56 new cell groups opened. Almost 515 people attend these PDL small groups, 80 % are not from our church. We are preparing to consolidate new believers and have them go through an encounter weekend. Facilitators will be further trained in cell leadership with the 56 cells under the supervision of 12 coaches. I think PDL is a powerful bridge event.

Will keep you posted,

Peter Banzon
p_banzon Posted - 02/23/2004 : 21:07:55
Dear Randall,

I am Peter Banzon a pastor from the philippines whose church is in transition to the cell church model. We have just launched the 40 days of purpose campaign in our church with 54 new cells called PDL small groups doing six weeks of small group life. The PDL is basically a bridge event that any church can use to launch cells. The methodology of the PDL small group is that it meets for 6 weeks, where every member makes a covenant to do three things. One Attend 7 weekend services where the Pastor will preach about the five purposes of God for people's lives. Then they will atend a small group where they will discuss each of the putrposes for six weeks. Then they will read a chapter a day for 40 days from Warren's book The Purpose Driven Life. I have apporached the PDL campaign as a bridge event for launching cell groups which hopefully after the six weeks will continue on to be vital cells that grow deeper in community life, evangelism and eventually be multiplying cells. The Purpose Driven Life is being used here in our country by establishd cell churches and it has resulted in trememdous growth. It is not a watered down version of a cell but serves as an initial introduction to cell life. In fact the 40 days of purpose to me seems like a boot camp where the entire congegation is challenged with the values of the cell church. I'll let you know after Easter sunday how successful it has been in our church.

Peter Banzon
The Lord's Assembly
touchadmin Posted - 12/23/2003 : 14:25:36
Thanks for the input so far. I am reading the book itself as well and find it excellent.

But I'm referring to the church-wide program that Saddleback offers where a church uses the sermons, launches groups to digest what's learned each week, and does the whole program. Has anyone done this in a cell-based church and found it to work well or NOT work well so we can learn before trying it?

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