Saddleback volunteer, Dean Hansen has a heart and passion for the Purpose Driven (PD) Church that literally started by accident. In 2004, his dear friend survived a near-death experience only because of the prayer, love, and support of his small group. Never once did the dedicated church family leave the man’s bedside, to the point that Dean longed to become part of a strong community like the one he witnessed. That example of Christ-centered friendship led Dean to seek out Saddleback Church where his friend attended.

At the time, Dean was a member of a Baptist church and working as an engineer for Boeing. On the verge of retirement, Dean had time and talent on his hands and wanted an outlet to serve God. Now 14 years later, Dean will tell you that his introduction to Saddleback—and now to PD—was anything but an accident. In fact, it was entirely orchestrated by God.

In 2012, Dean began volunteering on Saddleback’s Membership team, diligently phoning over 22,000 people who had completed membership applications. On many of those calls, Dean had the opportunity to lead people to Christ. After working his way through the stack of membership applications, Dean was down to only four volunteer hours per month. But he wanted more.

In 2016, the servant-hearted leader began volunteering on the Purpose Driven team. That shift from membership to PD led to Dean watching dozens of Purpose Driven training videos taught by Pastor Rick Warren. Dean was tasked with assuring that the training materials aligned with the videos.

Over the next four months, Dean became fascinated with the PD model and memorized the content to the point he could train others. To become better equipped, he started sitting in on classes with PD coaches, and even attended PD workshops and conferences so that he could help guide others.

With more churches asking for training, and a shortage of PD coaches, Dean was commissioned to teach the 8-month modules via conference calls and in-person meetings.

“The PD team set me up with a Zoom account,” explains Dean. “Straight away I taught PD from a cultural perspective that would allow other countries to implement the principles within their local churches.”

One of the first training sessions he conducted was with Pastor Allan Greer of Parkway Place Baptist Church in Arkansas. The Little Rock church had partnered with churches in Zambia to bring PD and PEACE to their country. Dean leaned on his travel experience, and his knowledge of PD to introduce the principles in a way that crossed borders.

In just two years, Dean’s PD knowledge has impacted over 15 churches both locally and internationally in Sri Lanka, Zambia, Russia and beyond. Closer to home, he started working with Corpus Christi Catholic Church in Aliso Viejo, California. The two-way mentoring relationship started when Father Tim Ramaekers and Stacey Settelmayer of the Catholic Church, both attended the 2016 Purpose Driven Church Conference.

Offering follow-up support, Dean called them after the conference and made an appointment to help implement the five PD principles. Taking a humble approach, Dean told them: “We don’t want you to be Saddleback. We want you to be a healthy church. Just as PD is new to you, this is also my first time in a Catholic church, so let’s learn from each other.”

Immediately their guards were down, allowing Dean to visit with their six-person leadership team once a month. One module at a time, he guided them through the steps including the CLASS system. Seeing an opportunity, Dean invited the Catholic leaders to attend Class 101 at Saddleback and see firsthand the strategy in action. “I focused on developing a relationship so that trust followed,” says Dean. “Once that was established, we had open communication.”

What surprised the Catholic leaders most was the warm, welcoming community that invited them into the Purpose Driven family without expecting anything in return.

“You guys are so friendly,” they told Dean. “We can’t believe you give this away for free.”

In October 2017, Corpus Christi Catholic Church completed all 8 modules and on February 11, 2018, they launched their first Class 101. While they may be well positioned on the PD track, they still have a long road ahead before becoming a fully-fledged Purpose Driven Church.

“It takes time,” says Dean. “They have to work through steps, mobilize their members, and give their congregation time to understand the five purposes. The Catholic Church is built on tradition, and PD requires changing one’s mindset. But I can see their eyes light up the deeper their commitment to building a healthy church.”

Dean wholeheartedly believes in Pastor Rick’s vision that one day the entire Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange County will be Purpose Driven. For now, he’s taking it one church at a time.

To learn more about building a Purpose Driven Church, visit

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