Saddleback Church Hong Kong campus launched on Sunday, attracting a total of 832 adult and children for the first Sunday Service and Saddleback Kids.
"I love you all," said Warren on his Facebook page.
Locals were overjoyed.
"I was there today, thank you so much for bringing this energetic church to HK! Full of Love! Great people, great worship, great message !! All the glory to our heavenly father," said Prolay Lam on Facebook.
Saddleback Church has ten campuses in Southern California in America, but for the first time in its 33-year history it is planting campuses outside of the country. The significance is that they will be planted in 12 strategic "Gateway Cities" around the world for their proximity to the final 3,800 people groups that still do not have a church.
Saddleback Hong Kong was the first to launch, among the first three international campuses, on October 6 at Munsang College in Kowloon City at 2:30 p.m.
Then Saddleback Berlin and Buenos Aires will follow suit in the subsequent Sundays, Oct. 13th and Oct. 20th. Over the next few years, campuses will open in other gateway cities including Accra, Amman, Bangalore, Johannesburg, London, Manilla, Mexico City, Moscow, and Tokyo.
The targeted "unengaged" groups are those "who have had little or no exposure to the Bible, Christian churches or missionaries," the Saddleback Church explained. These launches are fruits of their year-long work with the "12 Cities PEACE Plan"; they have worked toward strengthening local churches by providing pastors with Purpose Driven training, and meet the practical needs of the poor and marginalized in those cities.
"Hong Kong has 4 percent population that is Christian [and who attend church]," pastor Stephen Lee, who leads Saddleback Hong Kong told The Christian Post. "Not too many people go to church. It's only about 300,000 people attending church every week." So he hopes to reach the remaining 96 percent, which includes the estimated 80 percent who have dropped out of church entirely.
"We are not competing with local churches, no matter (if it is) English church or Chinese church," he added. "We really want to bring back the 16 percent to help (them) reconnect to God, and also the 80 percent who have never been in the church."
These global campuses, while headed by pastors already linked to local culture, will feature live worship and video or satellite-feed messages from Warren, the senior pastor of each congregation.