Monday, October 23, 2006

The Willow Creek of the Northwoods!

Next time you're tempted to make a pilgrimage to Willow Creek Community Church in Barrington, Illinois, start out a little early and drive right on by and just keep trekking north with map in hand until you pull into the parking lot of the Hayward Wesleyan Church. It's nothing like Willow Creek or Saddleback or any of the other mega-churches, but it's well worth the 300+ mile drive into the north-country. We visited yesterday, and here is an incredible example of how a worship service can be effectively blended for all ages and for people from different backgrounds. It was anything but a show staged for an audience. The theme was the Cross, and we were led in worship by a young worship team, featuring an old hymn blended with contemporary words and music; then a prayer for today (from St. Augustine); a sermon that brought justice and mercy together at the foot of the Cross in a simple and yet a profound way; then preparation for communion through a musical and visual screen presentation, taken from "The Passion of the Christ," and finally coming forward to take a piece of bread from the loaf and dip it in wine. We recited the Lord's Prayer, and the service was over. Both John and I left not with a WOW, wasn't that good, but rather knowing we had been in the presence of the Lord--in the community of God's people.

Mark O. Wilson is pastor--has been there 15 years with no itch to be moving on and up into the leagues of the big boys in the megachurches. Hayward (Wisconsin) Wesleyan Church has had steady growth in these past years from fewer than a hundred to around six hundred, but far more important than numbers is the place it holds in the community. Believe it or not, the church stays open year around, even during those -40 degree winter days!! Check out Mark's website:

1 comment:

  1. Ruth, we were delighted to have you with us in Hayward! Stop in anytime you're in the northwoods!