Willow Creek Community Church, a megachurch in the Chicago suburbs, will be distributing Christmas gifts to every inmate in the state of Illinois this Christmas season.
Willow Creek pastor Bill Hybels has said that church volunteers are ensuring that every inmate in the entire state will be receiving a Christmas gift bag. According to RelevantMagazine.com, Hybels started the effort as part of a larger effort to reach out to those who are spending Christmas in prison.
“I follow God’s son, Jesus Christ, who was blindingly clear about how I should engage with prisoners,” Hybels told his congregation. “If I had passed away at 55 despite all that clear training and additionally because I’m a pastor, I would’ve had to explain to God that I didn’t pray for prisoners, that I had never visited one, I had never lifted a finger to help prisoners in any way.”
Willow Creek is not reaching out to prisoners only during the holidays, however. The church regularly sends volunteers to local prisons to conduct Bible studies and minister to inmates.
One inmate who received one of Willow Creek’s gifts stated, “Those bags are phenomenal … It gives us a sense of love, … of joy. We get a sense that somebody out there that love us that don’t even know us. That love is very strong and profound.”
Photo courtesy: ©Thinkstock/sackhorn38
Publication date: December 7, 2017