Published July 7, 2017

The GLS Transforms the Culture of a Church

Grace Family Church is a contemporary, multi-campus community that has been part of Willow Creek Association since the year 2000. It has hosted the GLS in Durban, South Africa every year since its inception in 2005. In 2015, after selling out the GLS for a number of consecutive years, the church felt God saying to run the GLS over two weekends to accommodate the people who wanted to attend.

Grace Family began in 1992 when Mark and Christine van Straaten opened the doors of the church in a small school.  In 1997, they attended the Summit in Chicago and it turned their lives upside down. They returned to Durban and changed how they ran their church. God blessed their courage and vision, and the church has continued to grow and reach people with the message of Christ. Currently they have nine Sunday services every weekend, spread across three campuses with about 4000 people in attendance.

Skip Collins came to Grace in in 2007 where he serves as the campus pastor for the uMhlanga campus in South Africa. He is also deeply involved in the GLS every year as the producer at his site.

The GLS has impacted Skip’s life and his church.

“In 2012, I heard Craig Groeschel say ‘If you’re not dead you’re not done.’” said Skip. “At the time, I was 58, and my wife and I were empty nesters. I was actually wondering when I would ‘be done.’

“Just a few months later my wife and I were presented with the opportunity to start our own non-profit, and open a home for abandoned babies. The words of the GLS were still ringing in my ears, and four years later, we have had 37 babies in our care while they were waiting to be adopted or returned to their families.”

The GLS transforms the culture of Grace Family Church

Skip has many stories to share about the transformation he’s seen in people who attend the GLS. But one of the most recent is about the cultural transformation at his church after the 2016 GLS. Check out Skip’s story in this video as he describes how the culture of his church was transformed:

“We will forever be grateful to Willow Creek Association for their vision to train leaders around the world,” Skip shares.

“I know I speak for our entire staff and church when I say thank you. We are forever changed!”

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