Southern Baptist pastor Rick Warren is gearing up for an East Coast tour marking the two-year anniversary of his best-selling book, The Purpose Driven Life, which is approaching 20 million copies in sales.

The tour, which begins Friday in Washington, D.C., includes meetings with groups that Warren calls “cultural influencers,” such as media and entertainment moguls in New York City and military leaders in Washington. It also includes a Sept. 20 appearance on NBC’s “Today Show.”

During 16 events over the course of 12 days, Warren plans to speak about “the renewal of purpose happening in America,” according to a press release, which he views as a “grassroots spiritual awakening.”

“I believe that we are possibly on the verge of a New Reformation in Christianity and another Great Awakening in our nation,” said Warren, founding pastor of Saddleback Valley Community Church in southern California. With 80,000 names on its membership roll, it is the largest Baptist church in the world.

Twenty-four months since its release, The Purpose Driven Life continues to sell about 800,000 copies a month. It has remained on the New York Times best-seller list for more than 87 consecutive weeks, hitting the No. 1 spot over 20 times.

Warren said he is as surprised as anyone about the popularity of his book, which he views as one of many signs that America may be on the verge of revival.

“There is certainly something stirring in the 20,000-plus churches that have done 40 Days of Purpose,” Warren said in an e-mail to

The tour kicks off a new phase of Warren’s 40 Days of Purpose campaign. Six thousand more American churches are planning to study the book this fall.

On Friday, Sept. 17, Warren will stop at multiple events in the nation’s capital, including one at the Pentagon. On Saturday, he travels to Orlando, Fla., for the National Convention of Counselors. Sept. 19 is at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y. Numerous events are scheduled in New York Sept. 19-21.

The tour moves to Atlanta Sept. 22. From there it is to Chattanooga, Tenn., to kick off a city-wide 40 Days of Purpose event. It ends Sept. 24-25 in Nashville, Tenn., with the Mothers of Preschoolers convention, where three Purpose Driven books for children make their debut.

Warren is set to appear Monday on the “Today Show” to discuss the growing purpose-driven movement, which has included training for more than 300,000 pastors and spread to 122 countries since 1985. He also is scheduled to be featured in an upcoming segment of NBC’s “Dateline” program.

Bob Allen is managing editor of

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