Willow Creek Shifts Model Based on Reveal

Willow Creek Community Church basically wrote the book when it comes to seeker-sensitive churches in the United States. But now Willow Creek has announced a major shift in their model of ministry, based on the results of their Reveal Study published last fall.

Greg Hawkins, executive pastor at Willow … said they’re making the biggest changes to the church in over 30 years. For three decades Willow has been focused on making the church appealing to seekers. But the research shows that it’s the mature believers that drive everything in the church—including evangelism … Hawkins says, “Our strategy to reach seekers is now about focusing on the mature believers. This is a huge shift for Willow.”

In June Willow will end their mid-week worship service geared towards believers. Instead the church will offer classes for people at different stages of growth. Willow’s weekend seeker services are also being re-tooled.

In the past Willow believed that seekers didn’t want large doses of the Bible or deep worship music. They didn’t want to be challenged. Now their seeker-sensitive services are loaded with worship music, prayer, Scripture readings, and more challenging teaching from the Bible.

So, what are your thoughts?

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  1. Sharon Gamble says:

    Well, it is about TIME!! We felt under-challenged at a church that had the seeker-friendly model and shared that with our pastor. He made changes after we left, that showed he heard us and honored what we said. We are thrilled for our former church and maintain a good relationship with the pastor. He is a rare and wonderful man, who can listen to criticism with humility and interest. We were longing for more Scripture, more Bible study. It’s nice to know that the seeker-friendly model is coming to realize that keeping the services shallow and anonymous creates shallow and anonymous Christians, who aren’t able to grow up in the faith.

  2. Ray Fowler says:

    Sharon – It does raise some interesting questions. We want to be sensitive to seekers who come to church, and yet we also want to help believers grow in their faith. It is not always easy to balance the two.

Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. What do people want most from church? at Ray Fowler .org
  2. A Sociologist Reviews Willow Creek’s Reveal Study at Ray Fowler .org

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