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Friday, January 27, 2006

Willow's New Church for Hispanics

CasadeluzThis from the Chicago Tribune:

It may look like just another Sunday at the South Barrington megachurch, but the 150 or so people gathered inside this intimate chapel were singing and praying in Spanish. And unlike the so-called "unchurched" who traditionally have flocked to Willow Creek's big auditorium down the hall, most everyone grew up with religion, usually Catholicism.

Church leaders started to reach out to the area's growing Hispanic community several years ago by forming a small prayer group on New Year's Eve 1999. They later found that the 2000 census had counted about 112,000 Hispanics within 20 minutes of the church.

"We weren't sure if Hispanics would feel comfortable here," said Mark Ashton, pastor of spiritual discovery at Willow Creek. "There were no Spanish-speaking pastors at the time, and it doesn't feel like a place where Hispanics go. We serve a mostly white market, and our campus has a corporate feel."

But the church's Hispanic neighbors have gradually begun to find their way to Willow Creek, where that small prayer group has evolved into a separate church called Casa de Luz, or House of Light. The church, which draws a consistent crowd of 150 to 200 people, will begin offering two weekly Sunday services this weekend.

One of the differences between worshipers at Casa De Luz and those at regular Willow Creek services is how and why they check out the church, said Gene Brush, a bilingual insurance agent from Berwyn.

Most Hispanics won't visit the church on their own, Brush said, but usually show up with friends or family on someone's recommendation. Brush believes Hermosillo will keep seekers coming back.

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January 27, 2006 in Megachurches | Permalink

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Comments

Can I be first?

Posted by: Jeff | Jan 27, 2006 3:30:34 PM

I wonder how all of those hispanics will find the church without a billboard that says... (the spanish didn't work) "WE DO CHURCH RIGHT" ...

At the risk of feeling the wrath of those who "strongly dislike" the mega church... Props to a church realizing that their neighbors are changing...

"Most Hispanics won't visit the church on their own, Brush said, but usually show up with friends or family on someone's recommendation. Brush believes Hermosillo will keep seekers coming back."

I am wondering why I haven't yet learned spanish at age 40...? Anyone want to tutor me, so we can reach everyone that the Lord brings to us?

Posted by: Jeff | Jan 27, 2006 3:34:48 PM

Jeff,

Yeah, buddy... I can stumble through the New Testament in Koine Greek, a centuries-dead language, but I can't understand a lick of spanish. What up with that? I think you convicted us. OUCH! (Of course, i just moved to an area where there aren't ANY non-english speakers... but still...)

Thanks,
Peter

Posted by: Peter Hamm | Jan 27, 2006 3:39:23 PM

My first thought when I read that 150 attend was, "That's really small." Then a thought, "Wait a minute; that's more people than come to my church on a given weekend."

Funny how the words "Willow" and "Creek" skew your perception of numbers.

Posted by: David Hamstra | Jan 27, 2006 9:46:23 PM

Si. Capaossa Senor and Senorita's. Casa Fiesta. Jesus es Casa...

Posted by: Clairvoyent 1 | Jan 27, 2006 10:02:09 PM

Jesus is "Home?"

Posted by: Jeff | Jan 29, 2006 8:47:07 AM

For those interested...800 people attended Casa's first weekend of weekly services! They are off to a great start!

Posted by: kim | Feb 5, 2006 8:57:44 PM

As a mexican American attending a mega church in sunny So. Ca., my concern with W.C. and the hispanic comunity is that is that those hermanos(brothers)should not be taught the word of God in Espanol only but in english as well so that our hispanic brothers who are not bi-lingual will not remain "stuck in the mud"as it were attending W.C. and giving($$$),but filling like the "si senior" step child W.C. Step up to the plate;provide a bi-lingual ministry by; the senior pastor and all the leadership going back to school to learn how to speak and write Spanish. in 2006 its not about my "my mega church method"its all about God way. when I Legaly come to the USA in 1960 at 7 years old I was taught how to speak English and at home all my family spoke spanish.Many of your hispanic church goers see W.C. as "mi secunda casa"(my second home)

Posted by: Tomas E. | Jun 2, 2006 1:59:12 PM

I got up this a.m. thinking about Willow Creek and all the mega churches as well and I wondered about the Hispanic ministry,(those that do not fit in because they niether understand or speak English,every day common English to be sure ; some will stay thus becomimg part of the "mega church" only time will tell and not because the "mega church" opened its doors to them but because;The non English people opened the door of thier heart to Jesus Christ. Come on, lets get real,Im an American who happends to have deep Mexican roots as I said before,I attened a mega church but so what? the only thing important to me is 25 years ago the living mega Jesus Christ saved me by His grace.I do not get it ; mega chruch this/mega church that;theres only One mega true Chruch-the church that Jesus bought(not with $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$)but with His Blood.

Posted by: tomas E. | Jun 3, 2006 1:09:18 PM

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