(From Christian Post.com)

By

Christian Post Reporter
Wed, May. 02 2007 12:16 PM ET

Willow Creek Community Church, one of the largest and most
influential churches in the nation, is unleashing a new vision that
would expand its already far-reaching impact around the world.

Senior
Pastor Bill Hybels unleashed Vision 2010 to the Willow Creek family in
a kick-off sermon series this past weekend, calling congregants to a
bolder unprecedented outreach and impact for the coming years. And the
“two-word term that keeps reverberating in this vision is multiplied
impact,” said Hybels.

Multiplied impact will happen on three levels – the surrounding community, within the church itself, and the world.

The
first big idea that Hybels and his Willow Creek team in South
Barrington, Ill., heard “loud and clear” during their months of
strategic planning and prayer was to raise the level of risk associated
with reaching people far from God all across the Chicagoland area. That
means a bolder witness and reaching out to the lonely and confused
people across racial and socioeconomic lines.

This approach comes out of Hybels’ Just Walk Across the Room book and evangelism campaign which was named Best Outreach Resource of 2006 by Outreach magazine.

The
megachurch and its regional campuses have at least 9,000 more seats to
fill at their current locations, Hybels noted. Through a bolder
approach to outreach, Willow anticipates God to move in supernatural
ways and see His power released.

The second idea Hybels unfolded was to rethink how they coach Christ followers as they pursue a fully surrendered life.

A
survey conducted among Willow Creek attendants had revealed
“mind-blowing” results, as Hybels put it. It asked how satisfied
attendants were with how Willow Creek serves them at various stages in
their spiritual development. Pre-Christians, or people who are still
seeking and exploring Christianity, rated Willow Creek “very high.”
Ratings dropped slightly among new Christians but were still
“fantastic.” Adolescent Christians rated the church as good. But fully
devoted followers of Christ indicated less satisfaction, saying they
are not sure the church is helping them as much at this stage in their
life.

“We want more of the deep truths of God,” they said, according to Hybels.

In
Vision 2010, Willow Creek leaders will be altering the way they coach
to teach attendants how to be “self-feeding individuals” early on in
their spiritual development. Rather than expecting to be spiritually
fed each week with a 35-40 minute sermon on Sundays, congregants will
start learning how to take responsibility for their own feeding.
Everything else – the worship services and the classes at Willow Creek
– will just be “whip cream” on top.

Willow Creek’s third big idea
is to unleash unprecedented levels of compassion into the broken world.
The megachurch already feeds thousands locally through food pantries
and sends aid overseas for AIDS relief and tsunami recovery. But Hybels
believes they’re just in the “warm-up stage of what God is going to do
in and through this church in unleashing unprecedented amounts of
compassion and justice and fighting for the poor and oppressed in this
world.”

This is where “multiplied impact” comes in.

“When
God moves in our church more and more, then it stirs other churches,”
said Hybels. “As the watching world sees Willow do this, there will be
multiplied impact around the nation and around the world.”

“God
has a destiny for you beyond what your faith can imagine,” the senior
pastor kept recalling from his own Christian walk and the building of
Willow Creek and repeating to the church. “God’s greatest miracles are
in our future, not our past.”

Willow Creek Community Church began
more than 30 years ago with Hybels and a group of young students at the
Willow Creek Theater in Palatine and now has an average attendance of
20,000 each week at its newly built auditorium and regional campuses.
After starting the Willow Creek Association in 1992, the megachurch has
trained and impacted hundreds of thousands of church leaders. The WCA
currently has around 12,000 member churches around the world.

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