South Park Church began in the early 1940’s as an outreach to children, coupled with an adult Bible study. South Park Church began meeting in the South Park field house and was originally named Park Ridge Gospel Church. During these early days Billy Graham preached during a week of meetings held at the field house. Today’s property was donated and the church was renamed South Park Church in 1953.
The new sanctuary was constructed during the 1960’s, and following, in the 1970’s, South Park’s Youth Pastor, Bill Hybels and the youth ministry began Son City Youth Group, where hundreds of high school students gave their lives to Christ. Bill and this staff went on from Son City Youth to begin Willow Creek Church.
While outreach has always been a focus at South Park, during the 1980’s we made several significant partnerships, one of the most notable being India Rural Evangelical Fellowship, an organization that has brought the Gospel message to children and families all over India. Since its founding, over 10,000 people have given their lives to Christ. We continue to partner with them today.
During the early 2000’s we began our partnership with Safe Families, an organization that stands in the gap for at-risk children. Over 70 Families at South Park are involved in serving with this organization, and we are hoping and praying for that number to continue growing. In addition to these partnerships, over the last decade, members of our team left and founded The Branch Community Church, and other outreach based programs in the inner city of Chicago.
In 2014, South Park began a new journey with the Breakthrough Campaign. Breaking through spiritual and physical barriers, a new vision called 2020 Vision for our current church was created and our building underwent significant renovation. Since then, our Small Groups and Iron Men ministries have experienced dramatic growth, and we have continued to watch God’s hand work in our congregation with deepening commitment from all who attend.
With our deepening commitment, we began UNFINISHED in 2017. We’ve only just begun to see the fruit of the five year plan known as 2020 Vision. UNFINISHED identifies the steps we can take now, over the next two years, to say yes to a personal invitation from God to join him in reproducing healthy disciples,families, and even churches. We are continuing to discover who God is calling us to be as His church and are looking forward to watching His story unfold in and through us.