Saddleback Church Pastor Rick Warren announced his replacement Thursday, as he steps away from the church he founded with his wife in 1980.

Andy Wood, lead pastor of Echo Church in the San Francisco Bay Area, will take over for Warren in September.

The announcement came a year after Warren said he wanted to lead a search for his replacement.

Wood and his wife, Stacie, and their three children, ages 8, 13 and 15, will move to Orange County next month and attend Warren’s final preaching series in August.

Saddleback will hold a service to celebrate the Warrens on Sept. 3 and 4. Wood and his wife will be commissioned into their new roles on Sept. 10 and 11.

“Kay and I believe so much in this couple,” Warren said. “We love them so much, and we are confident that God has prepared and chosen them to take up the baton and run the next leg of the Saddleback marathon. We truly, deeply, confidently and unreservedly endorse this couple to take our church to the next level of growth and impact.”

Wood and his wife have been married for 19 years. Their final day at Echo Church will be June 26.

Wood holds a master’s degree from Southwestern Theological Seminary, where Warren was also a student. The Woods founded the Echo Church in San Jose in 2008.

“Fourteen years ago, he had planted a purpose-driven church in the San Jose-Silicon Valley area,” Warren said. “Andy and Stacie Wood grew that church to around 3,000 people in one of the most difficult places in America to start a church. I am so proud of what they’ve accomplished there.”

Andy Wood said, “One of the things we say often at Echo is that we exist to urgently lead people to say `yes’ to Jesus and passionately follow him, and that mission is core to our hearts.”

“For decades, we have admired and respected Pastor Rick and Kay Warren and their work through the Purpose-Driven Church model has been critical,” he said.

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