Friday, November 23, 2012

Blog Tour: A Purpose Driven Life (Review)


In 2002, the church I was attending decided to do a "church-wide" study on a new book. The Purpose Driven Life.

Rick Warren, lead pastor for a "new" church, Saddleback Church in California, was just emerging as a new voice in the Christian publishing world.

The Purpose Driven Life was ground-shaking in 2002. It caught the attention of millions of people, searching for answers to three simple, yet powerful questions.

I joined in on the book study, because like others - I wanted to know answers to the three "deep" questions explored in the book: Why am I alive? Does my life matter? and What on earth am I hear for?

Since the initial release, Warren has gone on to make great strides in both his pastoral ministry at Saddleback and his writing ministry within the publishing world.

Ten years later, I'll admit, I still find myself searching for answers to those three simple, yet powerful questions addressed in Warren's book.

So it's no wonder, that Warren decided to update what has become a "classic" work. He did so, especially for a  new generation of readers, who may have been teenagers at the time of the first release.

But rather than release it with a new cover and a few tweaks, Warren has done something unique. The book is simply a portal to a plethora of media resources.


Each chapter contains a QR Code, which directs smart phone (or tablets) to a website that contains a video introduction by Warren.

It doesn't stop there - each day (chapter) has an audio Bible study - that means Warren has provided more than 30 additional hours of teaching, as a companion to the book.

There is even an editable online message note section - so you can take notes as you listen, then print or email the text for future use.

Also new in this edition: Warren has added two bonus chapters, identifying what he says are two common barriers to living a purpose driven life. Those chapters include "The Envy Trap" and "The People Pleasing Trap."

The expanded resources also includes access to an online community, where readers can discuss their journey to purpose, get feedback and receive support. (I searched the online resources, and finally found the link to Saddleback's internet campus: http://www.saddleback.com/internetcampus/smallgroups/ - I'm not sure if this is the right link. To be honest, this was the hardest of the "new" resources to navigate online.

What Warren has created, at least in my view, is unprecedented. I've seen other books use one or two QR Codes like "sprinkles on a cupcake" - more for flash and show. But Warren's use of the QR Codes and the book's new website show an amazing understanding and grasp of the power behind internet based technology.

On a side note - I love that I can watch the videos on my iPad. I don't take that for granted, since taking a brand new online class (ironically, on using smart phone technology)  where I could not view class videos with my iPad or iPhone because the video embedding technology used by instructors required flash (not available for iPad/iPhone users.)

Ultimately, Warren has taken a solid book and given it an amazing facelift - without diminishing it's quality. The facelift goes well beyond a new cover - and the new online resources give new and old readers alike a reason to take a look at it.

At one point in life, I cynically thought Warren created this book to gain his "15 minutes" of religious publishing. (Trust me, working for a church, I've seen the "next big thing" come and go, in a variety of areas.) I think the lasting impact of this book - and the way Warren has lived his life in the last 10 years - show that I was wrong - and for that, I'm glad.

This resource has stood the test of time. I think the newest resources will not only help breathe new life into the book, but introduce it to a media-savvy generation with ease.

My only criticism - I can't find a way to download the audio Bible studies to my iPod for "off-line" listening (or in my case, a "classic" iPod that doesn't go online like the iTouch.)

More About The Author
As founding pastor of Saddleback Church, Dr. Rick Warren leads a 30,000 member congregation in California with campuses in major cities around the world.

As a theologian, he has lectured at Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard, University of Judaism, and dozens of universities and seminaries.

As a global strategist he advises world leaders and has spoken to the United Nations, US Congress, Davos Economic Forum, TED, Aspen Institute, and numerous parliaments.

Rick has also founded the global P.E.A.C.E. plan, which Plants churches of reconciliation, Equips leaders, Assists the poor, Cares for the sick, and Educates the next generation in 196 countries.  
 
Online Resources
Find out more on Zondervan 
Buy it on Amazon
Visit Rick Warren's website: http://pastors.com/
Visit http://purposedriven.com/
Check out the new online resources - Day 1
Read a sample chapter
Resources mentioned in the new edition

Note: As a freelance journalist, I was provided a copy of these books by the BookSneeze Review Program. This review was not influenced by a free book - just in case you (or the FTC) were worried about this detail.

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