Willow Creek Community Church in suburban Chicago is transforming itself to a modified
 The quote is a selection from David O. Kueker’s Fuller Seminary Doctor of Ministry project submitted in September, 2007, entitled Diagnosis, Dialogue, and Decision: A Threefold Process of Revitalization For the Illinois Great Rivers Conference.
It is shared here in recognition of its 12th Anniversary along with comments to update and provide perspective on the material. The original project was a Training Manual/Study Guide of three Seminars supported by three chapters of research and an Introduction. The material is available for download at www.disciplewalk.com/Resources.html. In 2009 it was provided for purchase as a softcover book entitled Designing Discipleship Systems: Christian Disciple Making For Any Size Church, Any Theology through CreateSpace.com.
   
All Scripture quotations are from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Please review the page How and Why We Use Quotes.
Willow Creek struggled with a variety of small group formats to effectively provide discipleship care to so many converts, finally settling on what Hybels refers to as a “modified Metachurch” model. Christine M. Anderson, “Life Together: Reclaiming the Ministry of Small Groups” in Equipping the Saints: Mobilizing Laity for Ministry, ed. Michael J. Christensen with Carl E. Savage (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2000), 55. Cf. Paul Braoudakis, ed. Willow Creek Community Church Church Leaders Handbook (Barrington, IL: The Willow Creek Association, 1997), 115. For metachurch information, see Carl George, The Coming Church Revolution (Grand Rapids, MI: Fleming H. Revell, 1994), 59, 124. For the conversion to small groups, see Bill Donahue, “Releasing Community in Small Groups,” The Pastor’s Update 80, no. 7019 (Pasadena, CA: Fuller Theological Seminary, 1998). Donahue states that Willow Creek’s shift to a better system of managing small groups and a goal that all members participate was accompanied by a reallocation of 25% of their budget toward this purpose.
Michael Slaughter, Spiritual Entrepreneurs: Six Principles for Risking Renewal
(Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1996), 14-15, 72-75, 122-123, 131-134. Weekly participation in 2006 averages over four thousand with seven weekend worship services. Cf. Ginghamsburg Key Staff Directory: Mike Slaughter, http://ginghamsburg.org/staff/?tx_wecstaffdirectory_pi1%5Bcurstaff%5D=83 (accessed June 18, 2007).
Ginghamsburg does their own version of cell; cf. Easum, Dancing With Dinosaurs, 66-69. For a more traditional application of cell principles in a United Methodist context, cf. Steve Cordle, Church In Many Houses: Reaching Your Community Through Cell-Based Ministry (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2005).