At 7 p.m. on June 23, Willow Creek's Promiseland ministry for children will take over Alexian Field for Family Fun Night. Families and friends will gather in the stands for the baseball game between the Schaumburg Flyers and the Joliet Jackhammers.
Tickets are $2 each and available at Promiseland. Invite co-workers, neighbors, friends, and family, or do what one man did–he purchased 60 tickets so his neighborhood could attend together.
Willow Creek Community Church is passionate about reaching out to people affected by physical and developmental challenges. “One (of many) ways we celebrate the community of people with special needs is by hosting our Fishing Derby,” says Pat Cimo, director of Willow Creek’s Family Life ministries, which sponsor the derby. “The fishing derby is an annual event for children and adults with special needs—and their families and caregivers. The event isn’t just about fishing; it’s about creating a memorable day of fun for each person, including the hundreds of volunteers and their families, who join in the festivities.”
Despite the rain, the fishing derby took place from 8 a.m.–1 p.m., Saturday, June 12, on the shores of Willow Creek Lake on Willow Creek’s South Barrington campus (67 East Algonquin Road, South Barrington, Illinois). The pond was stocked with fish, and the surrounding lawn bustled with family friendly activities: face-painting, Disney characters™, prizes, and more. People fished 8–11:30 a.m., and a free barbeque lunch was served from 11:30 a.m–1 p.m. indoors (because of rain).
Kids matter at Willow. Since the first days of Willow Creek, children have been nurtured and taught on weekends at Promiseland, the children’s ministry. Volunteers are crucial to caring for kids, doing everything from checking them in at a welcome desk to leading small groups, to being a one-on-one buddy with a child who has special needs.
In the summer, Promiseland gives their regular volunteers time off so they can return in the fall refreshed and ready to serve God. Summer Serve, operating during the months of June, July, and August, calls on other Willow Creek members and attenders to step up and fill in the gap. No training is required and volunteers serve in a broad assortment of roles. Serving at one or more services during the summer months allows volunteers to hang out with kids and show their appreciation to weekly volunteers.
Promiseland is available to infants through grade 5 and Elevate, Willow Creek’s junior high ministry, is available to students in grades 6-8.
Life can feel overwhelming for parents expecting a baby—and even more so, for those adjusting to the changes their new baby brings. The Family Life team at Willow Creek Community Church wants to support new parents during this cherished but challenging life transition. Expecting Parents Gatherings, held on February 20 and 21 at Willow’s South Barrington campus, are designed to help parents better understand how Willow can support them in their role as parents.
“We will explore what Scripture says about the role of parents as the primary spiritual leaders of their home,” says Gail Green, Willow’s children’s pastor for infants and toddlers. “Parents will also be able to tour the infant area of Promiseland [Willow’s children’s ministry for infants through grade 5], get their questions answered, and receive a handout of opportunities—resources and next steps for parents.”
These opportunities include child dedication, Promiseland, and a peacefully appointed Mother’s Room where moms can watch the weekend services on screens while feeding or nursing their infants. willowcreek.org/familylife-tools
Willow Creek Community Church has opened up several new avenues for helping people get connected in small groups. During a three-week “Join a Group” open access period, people can register for a variety of small groups meeting on Willow Creek’s South Barrington campus, as well as existing groups that meet in homes throughout the Northwest Suburbs of Chicagoland.
Depending on their needs and availability, people can choose from existing traditional groups—such as men’s, women’s, mixed, or singles groups—or they can try a short-term Parenting Group for a Season. The latter type of group, utilizing a DVD curriculum based on Kevin Lehman’s best-selling book, How to Have a Great Kid by Friday, is led by trained small group leaders from Willow Creek’s Promiseland, Elevate, and Student Impact ministries.
Registration for all types of groups is open until February 14, 2010.