The Politics of the Willow Creek Association Pastors

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The Willow Creek Association (WCA), a loose association of some 8,000 churches with a common interest in evangelizing using the “seeker” model pioneered by the Willow Creek Community Church, is a good example of a postmodern religious association. A survey of clergy whose churches belong to WCA reveals the membership of the WCA to be diverse, with a large membership from mainline and evangelical denominations. However, the clergy are orthodox in theology, conservative in social theology and on political issues, and generally Republican in partisanship. These pastors are also very active in politics and their churches are deeply involved in the provision of social services. Differences among WCA pastors, especially between the mainline and evangelical Protestants, suggest that the WCA will not evolve into a denomination in the near future. However, the communalities among these clergy reveal the potential of postmodern associations to serve as a forum for cross-denominational coalition building on key issues.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Wheaton College and Furman University 2: The University of Akron, Olin Hall, Akron, OH

Publication date: December 1, 2003

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