Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church posted his URGENT LETTER on the church website on Wednesday and by close of business Thursday church members had stepped up to close their critical budget deficit of $900,000.
Warren's Wednesday morning letter stated, "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."
But by Friday morning, the pastor was humbled and amazed: "In spite of a media culture that thrives on bad news and is typically clueless about how churches actually work, and in spite of hatefulness and insults by some who immediately jumped to the wrong conclusion - the church of God marches on, and once again God surprises all of us."
The letter outlines the church's accomplishments in 2009 and details how the donations would be used, including the church's food pantry, homeless ministry, counseling and support groups.
"This is pretty amazing," Warren told his congregation during a Saturday service. "I don't think any church has gotten a cash offering like that off a letter."