Willow Creek Community Church will be opening its newest campus location in Glenview, Illinois, on the first Sunday in December.
Known as Willow Creek North Shore, the campus is led by Pastor Steve Gillen, who has been on the megachurch's staff in varying capacities for the past 20 years.
In an interview with The Christian Post, Willow Creek North Shore Creative Director Tyler Hoff explained that the church sought to open the 72,000 square foot campus in Glenview because of its proximity to where many of their members live.
"Willow Creek decided to open their new location in Glenview after researching where much of the congregation was living, and also where it would best complement the community in which it resides," said Hoff.
"Land on the North Shore is hard to come by. Only through providential means, and after a dozen leads that ended in disappointment, were we able to purchase multiple lots to create our new church home," he explained.
Hoff said a related factor that made the building of a new church site necessary was that another Willow Creek location for the past 13 years had been renting space at Christ Heritage Academy and was growing fast.
"Five years ago, it was apparent that we were outgrowing their location, and only through providential means were we able to purchase multiple lots to create their new church home in Glenview," he added.
Willow Creek told CP that the North Shore campus will "feature a 1,200-seat state-of-the-art auditorium at the center of the facility surrounded by a sky-list preassembly area and a café, where attendees can enjoy coffee or watch worship services on video screens."
"The space also houses offices, adult ministry spaces and educational classrooms. A youth worship room, located at the north end of the building opposite to the auditorium, will strengthen youth ministry activities, while the 'Promiseland' children's area accommodates up to 400 kids per service."
Founded in 1975 by Pastor Bill Hybels, Willow Creek has gone from holding worship services in a movie theater to a multi-site church with approximately 20,000 regular worship attendees.
Glenview is not the only area where Willow Creek is seeing expansion. Earlier this year Crystal Lake, Illinois' Planning and Zoning Commission greenlit Willow Creek's plan to move another of their campuses into a former Oak Industries facility.
Marcus Bieschke, lead pastor for the Crystal Lake campus, told CP in an interview back in April that they expect to hold their first worship service at the 193,000 square foot site in autumn of 2017.
"We're extremely grateful to the members of Crystal Lake's Zoning and Planning Commission for their unanimous affirmation that our church's future plans align with our shared dreams for our great city and surrounding communities," Bieschke said.
"This is one more very important step in the process to ensure that our church's dreams are not just compatible but also complementary with our city's needs and future."