Willow Creek finds limits to its model

Spiritual growth not keeping pace
Willow Creek Community Church, the suburban Chicago megachurch that has become a model for some of the nation’s largest congregations, started more than a quarter century ago by asking the question: Why don’t people go to church?

Now, church leaders are looking for new ways to keep them there after new research revealed that worshipers’ spiritual growth did not keep pace with their involvement in church activities.

The findings, based on research at Willow Creek and similar churches, showed that increased involvement in church activities was not necessarily accompanied by a boost in spiritual growth, defined as “increasing love for God and others.”

The research was enlightening not only for Willow Creek and its 17,000 weekend worshipers, but also for the more than 12,000 churches in the Willow Creek Association that look to the church for guidance on meeting the needs of spiritual “seekers.”


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