This Friday night, Willow Creek’s Special Friends actors and their peer mentors put their months of hard work on stage as they tell a “Tale As Old As Time,” Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.
“The attendance of every person in the audience matters to these kids and students,” says Pat Cimo, Willow’s Family Life director. “Each seat filled represents Willow’s love and support for our Special Friends and their families. So round up a group or make it a date—and be our guest!”
The production is more than just a show. It’s a momentous achievement—not only for the actors and their peer mentors from Student Impact and Elevate—but for the Special Friends ministry as a whole.
“Every student standing on that stage represents an entire family that has stood behind them for the past four months—helping them muster all their courage and memorize their lines so they can shine with confidence,” says Pat. “It will be a privilege to witness their accomplishments and cheer them on. See you there!”
7 p.m., Friday, August 28
Main Auditorium, South Barrington
Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Come early to get your choice of seats!
This weekend Teaching Pastor Steve Carter invites Willow to prepare for a powerful new season together. “The series we’re about to begin—called The Invitation—feels like a family conversation,” Steve says. “It’s all about inspiring, empowering, and calling one another to follow in the footsteps of key biblical characters who boldly invited others to join something bigger than themselves. I’m praying that each and every one of us will walk out of Willow’s doors with a renewed urgency and energy to invite—friends, family, coworkers, whoever! Then join us this fall for a new chapter in Willow’s history.”
Following The Invitation series, Senior Pastor Bill Hybels will be diving into a new series he has been working on this summer—and can’t wait to unpack—as we approach our 40th anniversary as a church.
“The fall series will be a monumental step forward for us as a church,” Steve says, “and I’ve been praying that as many people as possible will join us. But first we need to prepare for that together—and that’s where The Invitation comes in. Be here to be inspired by the limitless possibilities of your role as an ‘inviter’—and to become better equipped to make a simple invitation that could change the life of someone you know.”
It’s a new day for Willow’s young adults—the community of 18 to 30-ish individuals led by Clary Butler, their new young-adults pastor. “We’re kicking off this fall with a night of prayer, worship, and vision casting,” Clary says. “I’m inviting every young adult I know, and I’m praying God will move in a powerful way. If you’re a college student, young professional, or anyone in the 18–30-ish age range, come and be a part of something exciting—and help us spread the word!”
Clary sees limitless potential in what God can do through those in their early-adult years. “Our senior pastor, Bill Hybels, was just 22 when he sensed God’s whisper to start this church we call our home,” he says. “What if every young adult at Willow Creek was open and receptive to hearing God’s whisper in his or her life? How might that change the future of our church—or our world?”
Are you an 18 to 30-ish young adult?
Join Clary and Willow’s young-adults community this Friday night at 7 p.m. in the Lakeside Garage. “We’ve got a fantastic night planned,” Clary says, “Great food, refreshments, music, and an atmosphere that will set the stage for young adults to hear their personal whisper from God.”
Help spread the word about Willow’s young-adults community:
Questions about the Young Adult Ministry? Interested in serving as a mentor to young adults? Email Clary.
Tomorrow Night’s GLS Celebration
“Everyone wins when a leader gets better,” says Senior Pastor Bill Hybels. “No matter where you lead, The Global Leadership Summit can help you get better as a leader and clarify your grander vision—the reason God called you to lead.”
This week, thousands of leaders at more than 300 premier host sites in the U.S. take a leap toward bettering the way they lead for the rest of their lives through the world-class teaching of The Global Leadership Summit 2015. And in the months following, a total of 260,000 leaders and pastors in 875 cities and 120 countries will be impacted, as the GLS goes global.
But whether or not you plan to attend this year’s Summit, you’re invited to experience the high impact of the GLS through the 2015 Summit Celebration tomorrow night at 7 p.m. in the Main Auditorium at South Barrington. Extend Willow’s hospitality as you welcome more than 1,600 international leaders for a time of worship with the Summit band, laughter with comedian Michael Jr., stories of impact from leaders and pastors around the world—and words of vision from Gary Schwammlein, president and CEO of Willow Creek Association.
“This week is the highest-impact week of our church’s year,” Bill says. “Join me in kicking off this year’s Summit—and I guarantee your world will be rocked by what you see and hear.”
Last night almost 2,000 high school students and their small-group leaders returned to Willow Creek on 37 charter buses after spending a full four days connecting with God and one another at Student Impact’s summer retreat, Sandblast. Over the course of the weekend, former Willow pastor Darren Whitehead and Director of Student Impact Bryan Jones centered their messages on the theme, “I Surrender All.” Click here to get a glimpse into this year’s camp experience.
The Student Impact staff and team of small-group leaders will spend this week praising God for a powerful weekend. “Sandblast 2015 is one camp I will remember for years to come,” Bryan says. “The Holy Spirit was tangibly present in each session as students surrendered their lives fully to Christ—dozens of them for the first time. I am truly humbled by the authenticity with which students worship, and I have never been more convinced that God wants to use the surrendered lives of teenagers to bring His kingdom to earth!”
This year’s Sandblast was a record-breaker—not only in total attendance, but in attendance across Willow’s regional campuses as well: 1,457 students from South Barrington, 123 from Crystal Lake, 103 from DuPage, 108 from Huntley, and 156 from North Shore. “The highlight of camp,” says Bryan, “was that 130 students who had never been to church before attended Sandblast—and many of them accepted Christ for the first time. In addition, 62 students made first-time decisions to follow Christ and 77 students recommitted their lives to Him.”
Student Impact South Barrington resumes its regular schedule this Sunday, August 2 with 11:15 a.m. worship and teaching in Lakeside Auditorium. To learn more about Student Impact at South Barrington, click here. For information about student ministries at one of Willow’s regional congregations, click its link below: