We have walked through a lot of change as a church lately—thanks for pursuing Christ in the midst of it all. We are pleased to share that Ed Ollie Jr. is joining our church family as the North Shore Campus Pastor and will also serve on Willow’s teaching team.
Ed has a wide range of business, non-profit, and pastoral experience, but most of all, he is passionate about building bridges and pursuing unity that changes communities. Originally from Iowa and the oldest of six, Ed studied Political Science and Sociology before receiving his Masters of Public Administration. His ministry career began in campus ministry with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship (13 years), and he continues to serve there as the Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees.
Ed garnered his business skills at the University of Michigan, where he served as the Director of Development for Ross School of Business. There, he directed giving strategies, planned annual giving, and led volunteer recruitment and training for the Eastern region. He moved on to Alfred A. Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning where he was the Chief Development Officer, setting strategic direction for all advancement activities of the college.
His non-profit and business experience ultimately led him into pastoral work, first at NorthRidge Church where he led strategic advancement and leadership development. This role empowered him to cultivate the spiritual life and engagement of all adults in the church and mobilize them toward outreach efforts and a church plant.
In 2013, the Ollies moved to Tennessee to serve as Senior Associate Pastor of Hermitage Hills Church where he taught, drove local and global mission strategies, and brought alignment to their core mission. During that time he also began serving on the board of MOPS International and has enjoyed learning more about the strategic role of outreach and evangelism that moms play in the church.
Ed joined the team at Harvest Bible Chapel in 2017 to expand their Chicago Cathedral campus. In his three years there, he took on new multiple roles: Lead Campus Pastor, Teaching Pastor, Chief Encouragement Officer, and Elder. During Ed’s time, Harvest went through significant change and he intentionally pastored and shepherded both the staff and congregation toward healing. He provided clarity of strategic direction and planning to move forward after a major leadership transition and was instrumental in providing stability and spiritual focus.
Over the summer, Ed and his wife felt a prompting to step out in faith and leave Harvest. Over the last few weeks, we have pulled people into multiple interviews with Ed to learn more about his fit for North Shore. This included some on our executive team, two campus pastors, some of the North Shore staff (all those who are staying), and seven North Shore lay leaders from the congregation. The input provided was invaluable.
You will find Ed to be a true pastor. He will walk with you through the pain of this season, and he will also call you into helping build a thriving community on the North Shore. He is also a leader—and will help ignite a renewed passion to reach the North Shore with the love of Jesus, carrying on the legacy that has been yours for the past 18 years.
Ed and his wife, Marcia, met on an Urban Project in the summer of 1993 in the Austin neighborhood of Chicago. Marcia is a graduate of UNC, completed her Masters at FIU, then did a Ph.D. study at Washington University before diving into motherhood. As an adopted daughter, Marcia studied transracial adoption and continues to live out her passion for social work.
Ed and Marica have three children: Leah (16), Kayla (13), and Micha (9) and live near the West Loop. Their kids are spunky, competitive, studious, and fierce advocates for peacemaking. Micah, of course, takes his role as little brother very seriously.
Nobody in their family likes coffee, but they all love caramel apple cider, hot chocolate, and the beautiful 14-day window of fall that we experience here in Chicago.
Ed is easing into his role this November and will be fully engaged by December. He is anxious to meet the staff and congregation to learn how he can best serve and support. Ed will join our Wednesday night prayer and worship gatherings (streamed on YouTube at 7 p.m.) and we’ll plan additional meet-and-greet experiences in the coming weeks.