Matthew Warren

Saddleback Church Gathers to Share Grief Over Death of Rick Warren’s Son


Members of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., came together this weekend to pray and worship, and “to be real” in facing the death of the 27-year-old son of their pastor, Rick Warren, after a lifelong struggle with mental illness.

The service at the church began with Tom Holladay, teaching pastor at Saddleback, praying for Pastor Rick Warren and his wife, Kay, on Saturday, the day the internationally known Christian leader announced that his youngest son, Matthew, took his own life after struggling with mental illness, deep depression and suicidal thoughts throughout his life.

After praise and worship, Holladay told the congregation that Pastor Warren had called him earlier during the week to request him to preach to the church during the weekend. When Holladay asked what he should preach about, and what was on Warren’s mind, Warren said he wanted the teaching pastor to preach about what to do on the worst day of your life – not knowing that later that week he would face Matthew’s death.

Holladay’s sermon was based on 1 Samuel 30, which is about David coming back from the battle and finding out that the entire town of Ziklag had been wiped out. The response of David and his people is a model for us to deal with a situation where hope seems distant, he said.

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