World Vision – Willow Creek Association Holy Land Tour

World Vision and the Willow Creek Association are hosting a unique and exclusive study tour of the Holy Land for Church leaders from September 28 – October 8, 2010. Click here for the brochure.

Led by Dr. Gilbert Bilezikian, one of the founding fathers of Willow Creek Community Church, and Professor emeritus of Biblical Studies, Wheaton College, this will be his last study-program to the land of the Bible, a truly “one-of-a-kind” experience.

Four Objectives in Collaboration with World Vision and the WCA

1. To renew appreciation for the ministry of Jesus the servant in a power-obsessed world as the model for our personal commitment to God’s purposes.

2. Experience the land and its culture so as to:

  • broaden our knowledge and understanding of Scripture
  • confirm the historical foundations of our faith
  • renew Spiritual commitments
  • To develop an understanding of current events in and around the Land and of their global impact.

3. Facilitate interaction with local religious leaders for their own encouragement, and for team-members to gain perspective about the challenges pertaining to ministry and peace concerns in the Middle-East

4. To open opportunities for Western churches to partner with Middle Eastern communities, churches and children.

Dr Bilezikian writes, “The unique character of this study tour is that it is designed for pastors and Christian leaders, especially as a training tool for those who may aspire to conduct their own groups in the future. Whether you eventually intend to lead a group of your own to the “Holy Land” or not, we can promise that this experience will enrich your ministry immensely.”

Four Reasons For Participating

Steve Haas, Vice President of World Vision, gives four reasons why this will be a strategic opportunity to engage with the Christian community in Israel/Palestine:

First, as you probably know, for more than three decades, Dr. Bilezikian has led multiple trips to the Middle East, under the auspices of Wheaton College and Willow Creek Community Church always with the purpose of studying Scripture where Jesus lived and ministered..  “Dr. B” as he is affectionately known, has served as counselor to thousands of church leaders, most prominently those who founded and led Willow Creek Community Church.  As a result of these trips, countless leaders have experienced recommitment to the dominant motif and calling of their lives.

Secondly, Jesus was born and raised a Palestinian Jew.  Like in no other study program, participants will immerse themselves in the cultural context of which Jesus was a part.  Vital elements of the environment in which He lived continue to survive among the native people of Palestine—some of whom are the descendants of the original occupants of the land since Canaanite times.  In this way, we will grow in our understanding of Jesus the Servant in His own cultural context, and be challenged to redefine our roles as church leaders while moving in current social settings not much different from those in which Jesus lived.

Third, during this trip you will visit sites where New Testament events took place under the tutelage of a prominent biblical scholar.    We believe the theme and purpose of this journey—Jesus the Servant in a Power-Obsessed World— offers a message that you will want to share to your congregation and others.  Therefore the program is also designed to equip participants to lead their own groups in the future if they so desire.

Finally, serving as a co-host for this journey are your friends and partners in ministry, World Vision. For over 35 years, World Vision has served the poor in bringing “life in all of its fullness” to the people of the Middle East.  As one of the largest Christian organizations serving the poor, WV continues to have significant interest in the establishment of peace in the region. World Vision continues to work to encourage and maintain the stability of the indigenous Church that exists there.”

You can access the brochure that provides all the travel details including itinerary, costs, and the “fine print.”  Please note that the cost includes registration, entrance fees, most meals, lodging, gratuities, and land travel while in the Middle East.  Travellers will be responsible for their own inbound and outbound air travel to Tel Aviv, as well as transportation by taxi between the airport and Jerusalem.  We ask that you plan your arrival at the hotel in Jerusalem in time for the welcome dinner on Tuesday, September 28.  Departure from Jerusalem will be on Friday, October 8.  For any wanting to extend their trip to include a visit to Jordan, this is also offered.

Currently, Dr. Bilezikian is holding open 40 places on a first-come, first-served basis.  In order to obtain additional information or to secure reservations, you can connect directly with Jim Schiltz, field administrator of the program, via email at

You can access the brochure here and the original as a zip file here