Current Status: Alumni
Graduation Year: 2002
Steve Carter (B.A. '02) was announced as the co-lead pastor of Willow Creek Community Church (WCCC) as part of founder Bill Hybels' succession plan.* Prior to this prominent position, Carter served as the Lead Teaching Pastor as well as the Director of Evangelism at WCCC, which has seven locations in the Chicago area with a collective attendance of 25,000 every weekend. The church spent a dozen years, from 1992 to 2004, as the largest church in America, according to Outreach Magazine.
When Carter attended HIU, he was a part of a group of students who became inspired by the things they were learning in their classes. Compelled to truly live out Jesus’ teachings, they decided to put their faith into action. They called themselves Solidarity, and began going out into the poorer areas of the Fullerton community to help students go deeper with Jesus. Today, Solidarity is going strong, as it continues to serve the community with tutoring, after school programs, sports, special events, dinners, computer classes and more.
Right after Carter graduated from HIU with a degree in Biblical Studies, he interned at a prominent church in Michigan. Carter spent over six years growing with the church as he served as an intern, then as the junior high teaching pastor, then as the leader of all student ministry and finally as the leader of family ministries.
Thinking back to his education at HIU, Carter says, “The first thing that comes to mind is how available and accessible the professors have been for me while I was a student and even now as a pastor. The faculty there is truly helping you live more into the fullness of who God created you to be. So I was pushed when I needed to be, inspired and given opportunities that helped prepare me; but more than that I had a relationship with these great men and women. They were more than professors; they were examples, mentors and friends.”
When asked what Carter would tell a student who was thinking about attending HIU, he said, “It’s a place where community happens. It’s worth it and it will be something that quite possibly will forever change you as you’re given opportunities to discover and experience the kingdom at hand. It might be over a meal, talking with a professor, serving locally together, or driving through the night with friends after watching your favorite band play. Hope offers you amazing people to learn, grow and experience life WITH.”
Check out Carter’s blog here.
*For more on Carter's position as co-lead pastor: http://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2017/october/willow-creek-bill-hybels-names-co-ed-pastors-to-succeed.html
"The faculty there is truly helping you live more into the fullness of who God created you to be. "