Special Friends South Barrington

Expressing God's extravagant love and unleashing the God-given abilities of those with special needs

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Special Friends at Willow Creek

Moving from Presence to Belonging

In recent years, the world has made significant strides in accepting people with intellectual disabilities. We see this in schools with inclusion strategies, in buildings with equal-access accommodations, and in churches with an increase in disability ministries.

But at Willow South Barrington, we hope to go one step further. We seek to step beyond merely accepting that our friends with intellectual disabilities are present. We want each one to belong. And to fully belong at Willow means you’re connected with a Christ-centered community; you’re learning and growing spiritually; and you’re using your gifts to serve others.

As you browse this website and engage with our ministry, we pray you’ll feel a connection with one or more of our ministries—and join us in helping our Special Friends move from merely being present to fully belonging. Thank you for being part of our journey!

Watch our Special Friends share about the best and hardest things about being them:

Our Special Friends Space

In Special Friends, we have created an intentional environment for our friends with intellectual disabilities—a welcoming space in our church designed specifically for their unique needs, making it more conducive to learning about God and making friends. We even have therapy dogs in our space to provide a loving comfort for our friends during each of our services! We are currently meeting digitally and can't wait to gather together in our space again!

Kids (Ages 4–12)

Digital Church Service on Facebook

We offer a unique weekend church service or our young friends with intellectual disabilities. We pray this virtual service gives your kids an opportunity to engage and learn about the God who loves them!

 

Teens/Young Adults (Ages 13–21) & Adults (Ages 23+)

Digital Church Services on Facebook

We've created a virtual church service so our teens and adults of all abilities can worship together, learning about Jesus through experiential teaching, and deepening their friendships with each other and with God.

We also offer Zoom meetings so that our Special Friends can connect and find community during this time: 

Teens Hangout: Monday, 10–11 a.m.
Meeting Link
Meeting ID: 846 6358 8793
Password: TEENS

Adults Hangout: Wednesday, 3–4 p.m.
Meeting Link
Meeting ID: 814 1070 2734
Password: ADULTS

Teen/Adult Bible Study: Wednesday, 7–8:30 p.m.
Meeting Link
Meeting ID: 870 5467 5858
Password: BIBLE

Saturday Church Service: Saturday, 5:15 p.m.
Meeting Link
Meeting ID: 835 2276 5043
Password: WORSHIP

 

Midweek Teens/Young Adults (Ages 13–21) Group

7–8:30 p.m., Wednesdays, 1st and 3rd Wednesdays | Fall & Winter

 Our teens and young adults long for meaningful relationships with other and with God, and they are able to find these kinds of connections through a variety of opportunities available on Wednesday nights—including worship, social nights, service projects, and small group Bible study.

This group is geared towards those who do well with 1:5 volunteer to participant ratio. Support persons are welcome to come with those who do well with a higher ratio.

REGISTER

 

Midweek Adults (Ages 22+) Group

7–9 p.m., Wednesdays | Fall & Winter

Adults with intellectual disabilities take their faith one step further on Wednesday nights, where they build community, worship together and learn how to use their God-given abilities to serve in our church. Small group Bible study, socials and choir are just a few of the opportunities offered for our teens and adults with intellectual disabilities.

This group is geared towards those who do well with 1:5 volunteer to participant ratio. Support persons are welcome to come with those who do well with a higher ratio.

REGISTER

Going Digital

Kids' Virtual Church Service on Facebook

Teens' and Adults' Virtual Church Service on Facebook

Follow Special Friends on Facebook for additional content

 

Journey through Jonah

Join us as we take a closer look at what happens when a reluctant prophet meets God's mercy and forgiveness.
"..you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love..."
Jonah 4:2

When: Wednesday nights 7–8:15pm

Who: Teens and adults with intellectual disabilities

Where: Virtual Special Friends Room
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89406996703?pwd=R2RMKzhUdm12M05qamhMdm5QMVhQUT09
Meeting ID: 894 0699 6703
Password: GROUP

 

An encouraging message from Tesla and the Gang!

 

Volunteer with Special Friends

The volunteers in Special Friends are the heart of the entire ministry! You bring a willing heart, we provide the training and together, we can serve all the kids, teens, and adults with special needs in our church as well as their families.

Interested in volunteering with Special Friends? Please complete our Special Friends Volunteer Form below.

SIGN UP TO VOLUNTEER

Questions? Please contact Special Friends Director Jenni Von Tobel or call her at (224) 512-1340.


Sunday Section 106/107: South Barrington weekend service for families

9 & 11:15 a.m., Sundays | Main Auditorium

The Sunday Section 106/107 is a diverse community with a heart for individuals with special needs and the family, friends, and fans who support them.

Wherever you sit, Special Friends families are always welcome to connect with the Section 106/107 community. We would love for you to attend our “Quick Connects” (between the 9 a.m. and 11:15 a.m. service), men’s and women’s small groups and section outings.

Questions? Contact Sunday Section 106/107 Leader Michele Pilafas or call her at (847) 404-7452.


Section 106B: South Barrington weekend service for families

9 & 11:15 a.m., Sundays | Main Auditorium
Section 106B is a diverse community with a heart for individuals with special needs and the family, friends, and fans who support them.

Questions?Contact Sunday Section 106B Leader Michele Pilafas or call her at (847) 404-7452.

Special Friends Staff Contacts


Watch the Brock’s share their story of finding support through Special Friends ministry:

Service Times

Sundays
9 & 11:15 a.m.

(224) 512-1233
[email protected]
67 Algonquin Rd
South Barrington, IL 60010
 Open Campus Map 

Upcoming Events

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Expressing God's extravagant love and unleashing the God-given abilities of those with special needs.