Elder Update - October 8, 2019
Dear Willow Family,
The We Are Here series invited us all to consider the values from our past that are essential to carry into the future. In this Elder update, we are highlighting a few core beliefs that will continue to remain a priority as we enter into the next season in the life of our church.
The mission of Willow Creek Community Church is to turn irreligious people into fully devoted followers of Christ. We consider the following values key to fulfilling our church mission:
- We believe lost people matter to God, and therefore, they matter to the church.
- We believe Christ followers should manifest authenticity and yearn for continuous growth.
- We believe anointed teaching is the catalyst for transformation in individuals’ lives and in the church.
- We believe the pursuit of full devotion to Christ and His cause is normal for every believer.
These values are founded in Scripture and serve as an outline for our church ministry. First, Jesus came to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10); therefore, our church must continue to pursue those who are lost. We use the term “Christ follower” to remind ourselves of the One who saved us, the One who leads us, and the One who works through us (Colossians 1:15–18). Christ followers throughout the Bible were transformed by the power of Christ—their lives exemplified His saving love and grace—and we believe the same should be true in our church today (Ephesians 4:20–24). We recognize the value of teaching as a tool for pointing people to Christ in a way that leads to transformation (2 Timothy 3:15–17). We use the phrase “fully devoted follower of Christ” to clarify the discipleship process, one that is a lifelong, unapologetic passion of Christ followers to grow in ever-increasing dependency on Him (Titus 3:8). We commit to being a church living in pursuit of full devotion to Christ.
In order to live out these values, we recognize the importance of greater levels of corporate and individual communion with God through prayer, worship, and Bible study. We encourage our Willow family to continue to take advantage of opportunities for corporate prayer at each location and to engage in Journey Through Philippians. You can sign up for devotions and learn more about Journey Through Philippians here.
At Willow Creek Community Church, we believe both women and men should serve according to their God-given gifts, including leadership. At times in the Bible, the contributions of women are not as apparent due to historical and cultural contexts of patriarchy throughout biblical times. However, received as the whole counsel of God, the Bible demonstrates that women have active roles in God’s redemptive plan and that God equally gifts women and men with opportunities for ministry. As recorded in Genesis, God created women and men to equally bear His image (Genesis 1:27). During the time of judges, Deborah served as a prophet, leading Israel as a warrior and judge (Judges 4:4–5). In the formation of the church, on the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit falls upon women and men (Acts 2:17–18). Acts references that women and men prayed together (1:14), were persecuted together (8:3), and came to faith together (8:12). In his letter to the church at Rome, Paul asks that greetings be given to “Priscilla and Aquila, my co-workers in Christ Jesus” (Romans 16:3).
In this next season of our church, we will continue to uphold the value of women and men serving together. We will encourage women with the gift of leadership to use their gifts in service of Jesus Christ. Learn more about the value of women and men in community by reading the Elder Statements.
Senior Pastor Search
In the last Elder update, we shared the details of the vetting process undertaken by the Vanderbloemen search firm to review more than 120 candidates and present the top six candidates. The senior pastor search committee continues to research and prayerfully consider each of the top candidates. They have conducted interviews with six candidates to learn more about their characters, qualifications, and callings to the role. The search committee has been impressed by all of the candidates and is engaging in further dialogue with a select group in order to discern the wisest path for our church.
We have outlined the Elder Board’s senior pastor search process and the job description on the Pastoral Search webpage here. If you have insights, prayers, or encouragement that you’d like to communicate directly with the search committee, you can do so by emailing [email protected].
Elder Board Update
We wish to make the congregation aware that Steve Kang submitted his resignation to the Elder Board, citing personal reasons. We accepted his resignation at the Elder Board meeting on October 3. While we are saddened, we support his decision to step away from his position at this time. We are thankful for Steve's service as an Elder.
The current Elder Board meets the Policy Governance requirements for the Elder Board to operate. We will focus our efforts on the Senior Pastor search and will address adding a new Elder at a later time.
We ask that you consider the following prayer requests:
- That we continue to be a church that believes lost people matter to God, and we are a community where deeply rooted life change happens in our services.
- That we, both individually and collectively, pursue full devotion to Christ by living as authentic Christ followers who seek continual spiritual growth; our church continues to value each person in the body of Christ, honoring the God given gifts of both women and men.
- That Journey Through Philippians will lead our church to greater understanding of God’s Word as we follow Paul’s admonishment to the church at Philippi to embrace the humble posture of Jesus Christ (Philippians 2:5–8).
- Pray for Steve Kang, with grateful hearts, and for the Elders to have wisdom, guidance, and discernment as we continue the work set before us.
- That God will bring unity to the senior pastor search committee regarding His direction for the next senior pastor.
In His service,
The Willow Creek Elder Board
Jeff Mason, Chief Governance Officer
John Sleeting, Secretary