Discipleship & Groups
Job Type:
Education Required:
Experience Required:
Job Description

At Willow Creek we believe kids and students are not just the future of the church, they are the church, and we want to create engaging environments where they can experience God’s love, take steps in their faith, and use their gifts and talents to lead and serve. Our goal is that our kids and students ministries are a place where kids, tweens and teens can explore their faith and find a community of peers and leaders to walk alongside them. It is a place for kids and students to bring their non-churched friends and offers games, engaging teaching, and small-groups, which are designed for going deeper into community and tackling big questions.

As the Next Gen Pastor you will carry out the vision of Willow Creek Next Gen Ministries and provide leadership to the Promiseland (Birth - 5th grade), Elevate (6th-8th grade) and Student Impact (9th-12th grade) ministries volunteers, students, and parents. You will collaborate with the core team and campus leadership to set the direction, vision, goals and initiatives of the ministry. Our heart is to make Willow Creek’s youth ministries the kind of place where no one stands alone.



  • Work with key volunteer leaders to recruit, train, and develop a volunteer team for middle school and high school ministries.
  • Provide relevant biblical teaching to the children and students. This teaching can come from a combination of equipping others, partnering with other campus Next Gen pastors or core leaders, or preparing and delivering the message yourself.
  • Through collaborating with the Core Team and other Next Gen Pastors, develop a ministry with highly engaged and motivated volunteers, ensuring they are well equipped, supported, and encouraged.
  • Build a team to support all children and students at the campus as they take their next steps with God.


  • Work with the Core Students Director and Next Gen team to determine curriculum for large and small groups, plan for major events, and develop best practices around protection, volunteer and parent engagement.
  • Bring your best ideas to the Core Student Ministries team and develop collaborative relationships with all the Next Gen Pastors at each campus.


  • Love and pastor the leaders and volunteers at your campus.
  • Through systems and teaching, ensure the children and students are also being loved and pastored well.
  • Walk with families through the ups and downs of life -- celebrate with those who are celebrating, mourn with those who are mourning.

Keep a Willow-wide Focus

  • Meet weekly with the Core Next Gen team to contribute to content, direction and decisions for Next Gen at all campuses.
  • Enthusiastically champion all-in church-wide efforts.
  • Establish strong channels of communication with all Willow leadership and peers, serving as the primary advocate between your campus and Willow Creek Core staff.
  • Be a champion of the vision for reaching people far from God, and helping each take their next step with God.
  • Be an advocate by authentically supporting the strength of being one church in multiple locations, casting vision for the kingdom impact that is possible because of our connection.

Compliance and Safety

  • Uphold the values of Next Gen Ministry, ensure safety, and deliver a fantastic guest experience.
  • Manage all staff relationships in accordance with WCCC policies and practices, working with Willow’s HR team to implement key employment decisions.
  • Ensure the campus staff and ministries operate in compliance with Willow’s policies, especially  as it relates to protection, abuse of power, sexual harassment, and handling of finances.
Whatever It Takes -- in addition to other responsibilities, the Student Ministries Pastor has a heart that is team and one-church focused, and gladly jumps in where needed above his or her regular responsibilities, either at their campus, other campuses, or with the Core teams.


    • Making Disciples - students are meeting Jesus and beginning to take their next steps with God.
    • Compelling Environment -- Parents are “dragged back to church” by their students once they experience Elevate and Impact.
    • Growing Intentionally -- the student ministries staff is excited when more people are attending, meeting Jesus, taking steps, and participating than were in the previous year.
    • Passionate Alignment -- by your modeling, staff and volunteers at the campus are excited about the vision of Willow Creek, and thankful to be connected to something making a difference across Chicagoland.
    • Volunteer Development -- there is a culture of high volunteer engagement, and student ministry is led by capable, trained and aligned volunteers.
    • Collaborative Creativity -- Elevate and Impact at your campus becomes a breeding ground for creativity and innovation, and shared with the Core team and other Student Ministries Pastors at the other campuses.
    Note: You are not alone in achieving success at your campus. Your Campus Pastor, the Next Gen Core team, the Core Students Director, Core Children Director and all the campus Next Gen Pastors will be contributing toward the success of each campus.



    • Team Building -- can build teams and identify high capacity leaders to build more teams.
    • Developer -- proven track record of developing leaders.
    • Talent Scout -- always on the lookout for new leaders and volunteers
    • Total Quality Manager -- looking for ways to improve; sensitive to misses; committed to excellence.
    • Cheerleader -- encouraging volunteers and staff constantly.
    • Carrier of the DNA -- they bleed the mission, vision and values of Willow Creek.
    • Solution Specialist -- able to identify problems and find solutions.
    • Staff Champion -- cares for the spiritual, emotional, and familial health of the student ministries staff
    • Pastor -- has a heart to care deeply for your staff, parents, leaders, volunteers and students.
    • Evangelism - Passion for evangelism to  middle and high school students.
    • Organizer -- can effectively manage details personally, and recruit others to do the same.

    Personal Characteristics

    • Learner -- can take direction and feedback and has a great desire to learn.
    • Aligned -- knows Willow, loves Willow, has bought-in to the method, philosophy, and direction of our “one church in multiple locations” model.
    • Conflict Resolver -- unafraid to tackle interpersonal conflicts, ministry misalignment, or issues of sin.
    • Leader at Home -- no concerning spiritual or emotional health issues within his or her family.
    • Person of Integrity -- they are a leader worth following in habits, disciplines, and personal decisions.
    • Self-Aware -- knows where they have weakness, and finds others to fill in those gaps.
    • Disciple -- fully devoted to following Jesus in everything they do.

    Education & Experience

    • Next Gen Pastors likely have an undergrad degree or higher, including Biblical studies. However, it is more important to us that this individual is educated and continues to grow, whether that happens in a classroom setting or other.
    • Likely served in a leadership position at a church or campus size of 600 or more.
    • Has proven experience leading teams.
    • Has experience caring for and shepherding others.

    View all available positions at Willow Creek.