Spurgeon College announced on May 15 that pastor and author Rick Warren is to become the school’s first-ever honorary chancellor. In his new position, Warren will provide guest lectures in Spurgeon’s online learning portals, reports Premier Christian News. He will also have a major participation at the college’s graduation rites each July where he will speak, preside over, and present awards during the ceremony.
“I am delighted to have officially joined Spurgeon’s College as its first Chancellor at this important time in its development and mission,” said Warren. “The college has played a guiding role in my family’s history and I am grateful to God and the college for this opportunity to give back to this community.”
Spurgeon’s College has had a long and significant ministry, but when we let the Holy Spirit lead us, our best days are always ahead of us. —Pastor Rick Warren
The retired pastor said he has a personal connection to both Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892), an esteemed British preacher and author who was also known as the “Prince of Preachers,” and the college. Warren’s great-great-grandfather, who was born in London, came to faith because of Spurgeon. The founder of Saddleback Church in California also explained that his ancestor attended Spurgeon College, was mentored by Spurgeon and was sent to America to plant churches, according to Baptist News. A century later, Warren became a church planter, too, launching a church that has nineteen locations and a large number of international followers.
“I have a deep personal family connection over four generations to Charles Spurgeon and the ministry of the college he founded, and he is responsible for my family moving to America,” Warren said. “Further, my understanding of the meaning of ordination and conviction from Scripture on ministry leadership are identical to Charles Spurgeon’s published views.”
Spurgeon College has recently been granted status as a university. It has 600 enrolled students and 80 faculty and staff. It is now focusing growth through online learning where Warren will be a vital contributor. As the UK’s leading evangelical college, Spurgeon College has trained “more than 5,000 men and women in Christian mission and ministry, including over 50 percent of next generation UK pastors and leaders each year,” a press release states.
“The name of Spurgeon stands for a number of key values the church needs to recover today,” Warren said. “It represents strong Bible-based doctrine; passionate preaching; extensive church planting; winsome evangelism; a commitment to the ministry of every believer; and caring for the poor, the orphaned and the marginalized. I’d summarize Charles Spurgeon’s life and ministry with this slogan: ‘He made a Great Commitment to the Great Commandment and the Great Commission that produced a great church and a great college.'”
Spurgeon’s College Vice Chancellor the Rev. Prof Philip McCormack lauded Warren’s addition to the college’s team of educators. “I am absolutely thrilled to welcome Chancellor Rick Warren as part of the Spurgeon’s College family.”
Being honorary chancellor, Warren will support the college’s plan to train men and women for Christian mission, ministry and leadership. “The primary aim of the College and Pastor Warren in their aligned missions,” according to the press release, “is to make Jesus known, in part to respond to the most recent census data showing that less than 5% of the UK population identify as practicing Christians, yet 33% said they wanted to know more about Jesus.”
Warren said, “Spurgeon’s College has had a long and significant ministry, but when we let the Holy Spirit lead us, our best days are always ahead of us. I have always believed that, and I believe it more today than ever before. I am excited and thankful to be beginning this work with the College.”