California-based Saddleback Church, led by Pastor Rick Warren, has reached a new milestone in its 36 years of ministry with its 45,000th baptism, and the pastor took the 45,000th person baptized out to lunch.

“This weekend is a historic weekend for our church because somebody in this group is going to be the 45,000th baptism of Saddleback Church,” Pastor Warren told his congregation last Sunday, as the church reached the unprecedented achievement. “And I’m going to take whoever that person is, out to lunch,” Warren added.

Last weekend alone, 792 people were baptized, and Pastor Warren personally baptized 600 of them. This led to Saddleback recording 45,743 baptisms in total thus far across all 16 campuses, the church announced in a statement.

“Baptisms are an amazing moment in the life of the church,” Warren said. “They are a public sign of new life in the believer, of new beginnings for all those involved, and they encourage everyone watching to renew their own commitment to Christ. We are grateful that God has graciously allowed us to be a part of more than 45 thousand people taking this amazing step and we pray that we’ll get to be a part of many many more in the coming months and years.”

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