Note from CM: Thanks to RDavid, who commented yesterday and brought our attention to Scot McKnight’s post about the job description set forth at Willow Creek Community Church for their new Senior Pastor.
Here’s the link: Willow Creek, What’s a Pastor?
As most of you know, I consider Scot a mentor and friend, and I think he is spot on in his critique of Willow here. Read his piece, and note his specific concerns.
I have also written rather extensively on the subject here, and we will soon be taking another look at it by blogging through Scot’s book, Pastor Paul: Nurturing a Culture of Christoformity in the Church.
For today, I’d like you folks to read through this job description and discuss it together — good, bad, and otherwise.
Oh yeah, and if you want to apply, there’s a link at the bottom.
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Weekly Attendance: 21,000 at eight locations
Neighborhood: South Barrington, Greater Chicagoland, Illinois
The role: Leading from the South Barrington campus, the Senior Pastor will wear the dual hats of pastor (able to discern God’s direction for the congregation) as well as CEO (with organizational leadership skills to lead a complex organization with more than 350 employees). This leader will bring the right balance of preserving what is, but also will fan the flames of Willow’s DNA of boldness, innovation, and creativity.
Meet Willow Creek Community Church:
Willow Creek Community Church is a local church with a global impact. One church in eight locations; more than 21,000 people gather every weekend across the Chicago area. Each Willow Creek church offers the same high-caliber teaching, experienced live at South Barrington and via high-definition video stream at regional locations. In addition to live worship, each site offers a unique assortment of classes and workshops, robust programs for children and students, and plenty of volunteer opportunities where members and guests can meet people and make a difference in their own neighborhood.
Thousands of local churches across the globe can trace their beginnings to an inspiring vision they received while attending a leadership conference, event, or service at Willow Creek. Although the past year has seen some turmoil for the church, the leadership has not lost its heart for reaching those far from God through relevant, biblical teaching and weekend services, developing impactful teams, and leading compassion and justice initiatives that change the community both in Chicago and around the world.
Casa de Luz, Willow’s Spanish-language congregation, meets at the South Barrington campus and serves their Spanish-speaking community. Each regional church— irrespective of its location or language—is both an extension of Willow Creek and a fully functioning local church with its own staff and ministries to meet the needs of its local community. Although most weekends are live-streamed, each regional Lead Pastor has the opportunity to teach live eight to ten times per year.
The central campus of Willow Creek in South Barrington and its regional campuses, governed by a unified body of elders (installed in January 2019), are united by more than just the “Willow Creek” in their names. Each shares a single-minded focus: to reach people who are far from God and to help them become fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ.
After our recent visit to Willow, we are convinced she has bright days ahead. This is a fantastic opportunity for a God-centered leader to join the team to continue the rebuilding which has already begun.
About the Senior Pastor:
The Senior Pastor will lead and serve the Willow Creek Community Church at all its locations to become a thriving, healthy family of local churches. This man or woman will provide overall leadership and vision for the entire network of regional campuses. They will ensure Willow Creek’s vision and strategy is clear and understood across all locations, that the right leaders are leading and serving the campuses, and that Willow Creek is positioned for strength well into the future.
The Senior Pastor will have the ability to dream and cast vision for the next season of congregational life and community impact. The ideal candidate will demonstrate spiritual leadership, an authentic walk with Jesus, and a proven commitment to balancing the rhythms of work and life. He or she will be a proven “leader of leaders” who can motivate and inspire high-capacity men and women to use their gifts to further the vision.
The Senior Pastor will accomplish the following goals:
In Spiritual Leadership:
- Although not expected to deliver the message every weekend, when teaching, communicate biblical truth in an inspiring fashion that helps reach irreligious people and help people at all levels of their spiritual journey to become fully devoted followers of Jesus.
- Exemplify a life of walking closely with Jesus, including strong spiritual leadership in the home.
- Can balance leadership and vision along with accountability and submission while working with a board of lay elders. The Senior Pastor will meet with the elders regularly and will have full voice into all matters, but will not be a voting member of the elders.
- Help bring healing to a staff and congregation that has experienced significant loss.
In Visionary/Organizational Leadership:
- Bring strength to Willow’s network of churches through a unified vision, while continuing to provide a great deal of autonomy that has allowed the regional sites to attract top talent and thrive as self-supported congregations.
- Focus initially on strengthening Willow as a local church. Once strength is restored and Willow is healthy and thriving once again, continue Willow’s legacy of high-impact ministry outside the walls in the Chicago area and around the world.
- Lead the executive team to bring unity and clarity to all programs and ministries, so that all of Willow is pulling for the same mission and vision.
- Work with the elders to clarify the relationship with Global Leadership Network (formerly WCA). Note: GLN (WCA) is no longer under the authority of the elders but still occupying space in the building.
- Focus on building an executive team. Initial hires are likely to be a Teaching Pastor, as well as a South Barrington Lead Pastor to focus on the broadcast campus and largest staff.
- Put emphasis on leadership development, individually modeling this at the highest levels. Equally, place a focus on building processes and systems so that managers and team leaders across Willow are being developed.
- Provide leadership to help Willow discover her target audience. In the past, it was “unchurched Harry and Mary.” This needs to be redefined for 2020 and beyond.
What you bring:
Willow Creek values candidates who are life-long learners. Proven leadership experience is important, and this individual should be theologically grounded, but a formal theological classroom education is not a requirement for selection.
Experience and Skills
- Has a proven communication gift with the ability to effectively deliver talks with a large audience in a room that seats 7,500, while simultaneously engaging with people who are viewing from other locations via high-definition video.
- Has the ability to deliver messages that reach the seeker, as well as provide depth to help believers grow in their faith.
- We have a strong preference toward leaders with multi-site or complex organizational experience.
- Has life experience in connecting with professionals, entrepreneurs, and people who have outwardly made it in life but are seeking significance.
- Has a heart for those who are under-resourced and history of fighting poverty and injustice.
- Has a track record of developing and equipping leaders.
- When you look in the rearview mirror of this leaders life, you see growing organizations.
- Values and champions women in leadership roles at all levels of the organization, in both executive and ministry capacities.
- Has likely worked in a nonhomogeneous environment and embraces a diverse culture.
- Can balance being accessible, while also exhibiting healthy personal boundaries.
- Is known to be a humble servant leader. This shows up in learning, asking questions, and relying on the strengths and gifts of others.
- Displays a high level of emotional and relational intelligence.
- While very grace-filled, holds to a traditional view on marriage (between one man and one woman).
- Has likely weathered a season of great pain and loss which has helped humble, refine, and shape him or her into a better leader and pastor.
What it’s like to live in South Barrington, Greater Chicagoland, area:
Each Willow Creek campus is located in the greater Chicagoland area. Chicago is the third most populous city in the United States, after New York City and Los Angeles, with 2.7 million residents in the city, and 9.5 million in the metropolitan area. In addition to its renowned upscale establishments and restaurant districts, the city’s unique location on Lake Michigan, its rich architectural heritage, its lively theater, arts, and comedy community, and its vibrant nightlife attracts residents and tourists alike. Chicago was recently named the fourth-most “walkable” city of the 50 largest cities in the United States (2011, Walk Score).
Chicago has numerous nicknames, including Chi-town, Windy City, and Second City. The city is a center for business and finance and is considered one of the world’s top global financial centers. Located near a portage between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River watershed, Chicago has remained a major hub for industry, education, telecommunications, and infrastructure since its founding, with O’Hare International Airport being the second busiest airport in the world in terms of traffic movements.
Chicago offers a large array of cultural, historical, sporting, and entertainment focal points that bring thousands of tourists to the area yearly. Grant Park hosts the annual Taste of Chicago festival, while also featuring Millennium Park, home to the iconic Cloud Gate Structure, Buckingham Fountain, and the Art Institute of Chicago. The city is home to numerous major-league sports teams, world-class museums, and the Magnificent Mile shopping district, all along the beautiful Lake Michigan shoreline, creating an atmosphere not soon to be forgotten.
Willow’s broadcast campus is located in South Barrington, a suburb of Chicago just about an hour away, is consistently ranked one of the best places to live in Illinois. Living in South Barrington offers residents a suburban feel and most residents own their homes. In South Barrington, there are a lot of parks and great green spaces to enjoy, as well as proximity to the greater city of Chicago while still feeling like a “small town,” with just over 4,000 residents. The public schools in South Barrington are highly rated.
Think you’re a great fit for this role? Become a candidate here.