Willow Creek: A Story of Worship: Matt Lundgren


Willow Creek worship leader Matt Lundgren knew, even as a child, that music was more than a hobby for him. There was something powerful that connected with him when he practiced his saxophone. And as a Christ follower, the songs he sang in church drew him closer to God.

Matt isn’t alone. While few  grow up to become worship leaders, many can relate to the spiritual connection that happens when they hear or sing worship songs. “I’ve heard countless stories of how God has used the words or moments created through music to bring comfort, challenge, or clarity to someone during a worship service,” Matt says. “It’s one of the reasons worship music is such a high value at Willow Creek. It’s a primary pathway that opens peoples’ hearts up to God in a way that teaching alone cannot.”

When it comes to the music for special services like Easter, Willow Creek’s worship teams pull out all the stops “as a way to honor the One we worship on the day of His resurrection,” Matt says. “I’m super excited about the music elements in this year’s Easter services. We sense God’s leading in it, and I can’t wait to see how He will work in the lives of people through the partnership of music, video, story, and powerful teaching.”

Willow Creek Takes Worship and Teaching to Angola Prison

Willow Creek Angola Prison Tony Sorrentino

Photo credit: Tony Sorrentino

On Tuesday, April 8, pastors and worship leaders from Willow Creek and Salem Baptist Church journeyed to Angola bringing worship and teaching to the prisoners at Louisiana State Prison. Read more in this story from KNOE 8 News.

ANGOLA, La. (KNOE 8 News) – Some big names in the NFL are doing some time at the Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola.

Billed as a time of worship, training and fellowship, Willow Creek Community Church and Salem Baptist Church from Illinois converge on the Louisiana State Penitentiary along with players and chaplains from the NFL’s Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers, New Orleans Saints, Baltimore Rams and Jacksonville Jaguars on April 7 and 8, 2014.

Read More.


Celebration of Hope 2014: Radical Generosity

Willow Creek Celebration of Hope Radical Generosity

As Willow Creek’s Celebration of Hope 2014 reaches the home stretch, participation in this year’s campaign against global poverty is approaching an all-time high. “Peoples’ dedication, time, and generosity continually inspire and remind me that there is no limit to what God can do through His radical followers here at Willow,” says Heather Larson, Willow’s executive pastor and the director of the Compassion & Justice team that runs Celebration of Hope each year.

This weekend, April 12/13, Senior Pastor Bill Hybels wraps up the three-week Celebration of Hope series in a service that gives everyone a chance to experience the power of radical generosity. “We’ll be collecting our Celebration of Hope offering,” Heather says. “As a church, we have been learning about the power of living radically generous lives. Here’s our chance to turn those learnings into action.”

Give hope

The annual Celebration of Hope offering provides resources for Compassion & Justice’s global initiatives during the coming year. “Every dollar given helps our church partners break the cycle of poverty in their communities. These churches are a part of us. We are one church, many hands—and we can use our hands to give with radical generosity.”

Each Willow Creek regional congregation has its own unique Celebration of Hope giving initiatives. Choose your campus to learn more and donate.

Be radical

Giving generously is one of three ways you make a difference through Celebration of Hope this year. Here are two more ways you can be a Celebration of Hope radical:

WILLOW CREEK: A STORY OF HOPE: Clean Water for Phoebe

Willow Creek Celebration of Hope Water

Phoebe knew the water she drew every day from a shallow, contaminated well was making her children sick. But in her community of George, Zambia, she had no choice. Access to clean water was only available to those who could afford it—and she could not. That is, until Jubilee Center, a Willow Creek church partner, stepped in and installed a borehole well through generous donations made to Celebration of Hope.

In Phoebe’s community, cholera epidemics were an annual reality, killing nearly 1,000 people each year and making thousands more ill. Whenever Phoebe’s children fell sick, she couldn’t earn money for food because she had to stay home to care for them.

Through the Jubilee Center, Phoebe’s pastor began learning about the importance of the local church serving the tangible needs of the people in its community—not just their spiritual needs. The Pastor began to believe his church had a greater calling than officiating funerals from cholera outbreaks; they could introduce people to the love of Christ by advocating for clean water and helping to improve the health of those living in their community.

Willow Creek’s church partners in George established borehole wells at local churches throughout the area, providing Phoebe’s family with access to free, clean water. Cholera epidemics are now a thing of the past, allowing Phoebe to work and earn a steady income to support her family. “I no longer refer to my church as ‘Faith Bible Church,’” Phoebe says, “but instead I call it ‘River of Life Church’ as a testimony to the life God has brought to my family and community through clean water.”

Jubilee Centre has reported that because of the introduction of these borehole wells—and the clean, safe water they provide to families—cholera is a thing of the past in this community!

Water is one of the six areas of focus in Willow Creek’s strategy for equipping their church partners in Asia, Africa, and Latin America to fight global poverty. Learn about all six areas at the Willow Creek South Barrington lobby experience, a family friendly walk-through exhibit, before and after weekend services, April 12/13. Learn more >>

Hope for Broken Marriages at Willow Creek

Willow Creek offers a six-week marital restoration workshop designed for couples whose marriage is in distress. With more than 40 percent of marriages ending in divorce, no one would disagree that relationships aren’t easy.

But there is hope.

Couples whose marriage is struggling due to long-term emotional disconnect, infidelity, abuse, and/or broken trust can learn to integrate emotional, relational, and spiritual health back into their marriage–and relate in new ways to their spouse and to God. Through in-depth teaching, practical tools, and table discussions led by trained facilitators, couples can experience a change of heart toward God and their spouse, infusing hope into their marriage and movement toward restorative personal and relational growth.

If you dare to believe God can redeem your pain and transform your marriage, this workshop is for you.

The Marital Restoration Workshop begins April 16 at Willow Creek, located at 67 E. Algonquin Road and is open to couples who do not attend Willow.

DATES: Wednesdays, April 16-May 28 (No class April 30)

TIME: 7–9 p.m.

COST: $20 per person ($40 per couple) Scholarships are available.

Please NoteBecause the sessions build upon one another, participants must commit to attending all six weeks of the workshop.