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Winnetka Congregational Church

Associate Pastor for Children, Family, and Youth

Winnetka, Illinois

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Denomination: Non-Denominational

Weekly Attendance: 150-200

Location: Winnetka, Illinois

The Role: Associate Pastor for Children, Family, and Youth


Meet Winnetka Congregational Church:

If one phrase can best capture who we are and who we’re always seeking to become, it’s the phrase over our front doors: “A house of worship for all people.” That commitment has been there from the beginning. We’re so grateful to the 22 people who founded this church on August 18, 1874, who spelled that out and for the folks who chose to etch it in stone. It’s our humble hope to be that kind of church. For us, it’s as deep as DNA.

These days, we think it couldn’t be more timely or important. Right now, when too many lines are being drawn about who’s in and who’s out and people are excluded from churches (sometimes explicitly and sometimes in more subtle but painful ways) because of what they believe or don’t believe, what they look like, who they love, how they identify, for the color of their skin, for where they’re from, for their abilities, for their marital status; we can point to that sign and say with conviction: “This is a house of worship for all people. You belong here. We all belong here, and together, we seek to stand for all our fellow children of God.”

We have always been inspired by Christ’s command to “Love your God with all your heart and all your mind and love your neighbor as yourself.” Following that call has led us, through the years, to start the Winnetka Community House, the “Winnetka Talk” community newspaper, the Winnetka Library, Harkness House for Children, The Women’s Exchange forum, The Woman’s Society, the North Shore Art League, and our record-setting Rummage Sale (the proceeds of which are combined with 10% of our annual operating budget to support over 70 social service agencies in the Chicago area). More recently, it’s led to a Spirit-led partnership with Bethel Baptist Church (a predominantly Black church in Chicago Heights) and to four clearly defined “threads” or expressions of Christ’s love and justice (as explained below under “Calling”). 


About the Associate Pastor for Children, Family, and Youth:

We seek a passionate, self-starter with a creative and collaborative approach who wants to join our strong team and help realize our growth goals. This person's primary focus will be children, youth, and their families - both those currently in our congregation and those whom we wish to attract to our church through fresh outreach efforts. This position is full-time and includes regular participation in worship; pastoral care to children, youth, and their families; and supporting/working closely with the Senior Pastor on key initiatives.


The Associate Pastor for Children, Family, and Youth Will: 

  • Help to generate and implement fresh ideas for reaching and connecting with prospective new children, youth, and families.

  • Supervise the Nursery-12th grade programming and staff.

  • Manage the ministries below and oversee the responsibilities that come with them.

Nursery and Church School

  • Supervise the Church School Coordinator and volunteers, including Church School teachers.

  • Supervise the Nursery staff and volunteers.

  • Oversee special events, including Bible Sunday and Christmas Gift Fair.

  • Oversee Church School program (communication with families, maintain database on participants, track attendance, etc.).

  • Work with Children & Youth Committee and  Church School Coordinator to recruit teachers and select and implement Church School curriculum.

Navigators Leader (6th-7th grade)

  • Program planning, contact with members and parents, communicating via email, keeping records of programs, contact with volunteers (currently estimated at two hours/week).

  • Conduct weekly meetings/activities for the members, which has traditionally been on a Sunday. The program meets during the school year.

  • Programs include Bible Study, discussion of the day's worship activities, group highs and lows, and a fun activity, game, or a service project.

  • Planning and executing selected summer activities. 

Confirmation Program (8th grade)

  • Plan and manage the Confirmation Program in conversation with the Senior Pastor.

  • Recruit and manage contact with Confirmation Faith Guides (adults who attend each session), Mentors (one assigned to each Confirmand), and families.

  • Co-teach Confirmation class with Senior Pastor 

  • Attend Confirmation events as needed to chaperone and get to know students.

Servants youth program (9 - 12th grades) 

  • Continue to revitalize the Servants program.

  • Cultivate connections with both the youth group as a whole and individual members.

  • Host weekly Servants meetings and/or events.

  • Attend/be present for a cross-section of the youth members' events away from church (e.g., concerts, games, plays, exhibits). 

  • Plan and lead the annual Servants mission trip, including the fundraising events.


  • Regular worship participation/leadership, including periodic preaching. 

  • Pastoral Care with a specific emphasis on youth, children, and young families. Liaison to select church committees, such as Children & Youth Committee.

  • Overseeing/directing the Annual Christmas Pageant in concert with the Music Director.

  • Oversee implementation and periodic review of WCC Safe Church Policy.

  • Small Group Ministry (supporting current Small Groups and helping to create new ones).

  • Weddings and memorials, as needed. 


What You Bring: 

Education & Experience

  • Undergraduate degree is required.

  • Seminary degree is required.

  • Preferably 3  years of ministry experience in a similar role but not required.

Personal Characteristics

  • Passion for Christ.

  • Able and willing to talk about Jesus in our lives and to help the youth develop this relationship individually and collectively.

  • Committed to a “progressive” Christian theology (unabashedly Christian but unapologetically open).

  • Passion for children and youth (includes ministering to, walking with, lifting up, cultivating the gifts of, and actively involving our children and youth – and their families).

  • Able and willing to be present in the lives of our youth, both on and off campus (plays, recitals, games, etc.).

  • Ability to relate to children and youth in a charismatic way.

  • Ability to sense, see, and then help the group name and inhabit those “bubble” moments when God/Christ/Spirit enters in and when “church ‘happens” within and even through the sometimes chaotic exuberance of working with youth.

  • A promoter - able/willing to reach out to youth/children/family beyond Winnetka Congregational Church.

  • Creative and collaborative - willing to develop and try new things.

  • Strong organizational/administrative abilities.

  • Open, willing communicator.

  • Able to process things emotionally; doesn’t hold onto stuff.

  • Team-oriented - all about “We” not “I”.

  • Clear about portfolio of responsibilities, but able and willing to pitch in/do what it takes to get ministry done.


What it's Like to Live in Winnetka, Illinois: 

Located only 17 miles from downtown Chicago with Lake Michigan as its eastern border, the village of Winnetka boasts a rich history, a tradition of citizen involvement, local shops, and educational excellence. Since most of the village was built before 1930, prior to the influence of the automobile and its use as the primary mode of transportation, Winnetka was designed so that its residents could walk to trains, schools, parks, and shops. Nationally known, New Trier High School is located in Winnetka but also serves students from four other suburbs. In Winnetka, there are three public elementary schools and an all-village Junior High School. 

Northwestern University and Garrett Seminary are about 5 miles south in the city of Evanston, a wonderful mini-metropolis energized by Northwestern's culture. Lake Michigan is an extraordinary natural resource, providing opportunities for both recreation and wildlife observation, as well as contemplation and rejuvenation. The Skokie Lagoons, a natural setting welcoming migrating birds and kayakers, feature a bicycle path extending south into Chicago and north into Lake County. They lie along Winnetka's western border. The nearby Chicago Botanic Gardens and Ravinia Park, a nationally renowned outdoor musical venue, draw visitors from all over Chicagoland. 

Winnetka Congregational Church attracts members from all over the Chicago North Shore from communities including Northfield, Kenilworth, Wilmette, Glencoe, Highland Park, Evanston, Glenview, and Northbrook. Some come from towns even farther away. Residents of these suburbs find it easy to travel into Chicago via multiple expressways and the Metra commuter train. To meet our growth goals, we need to continue attracting members from both Winnetka and surrounding communities. 

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