When Willow Creek Community Church was founded in 1975, it emerged as one of the most innovative congregations in the country. Seeking to reach a culture full of "Unchurched Harrys and Marys," Willow re-imagined how the church did worship, preaching, outreach, and discipleship. Other church leaders have been eager to learn from Willow's innovative model ever since.
Forty years later, many of the ideas Willow Creek pioneered are now commonplace, but the church has not lost its innovative impulse. A new generation of pastors is building on Willow's heritage of leadership by experimenting with forms of worship and discipleship never before tried at the church. Aaron Niequist, a worship pastor, and Steve Carter, a teaching pastor, are beginning an 18-month experiment at Willow Creek called The Practice. Leadership Journal editors Drew Dyck and Skye Jethani sat down with Niequist and Carter to discuss their holy experiment.1