Businesses Bill Winston Ministries RSS feed for News. Boot camp for the spiritual battle <p> <img title="bc3" alt="bc3" src="/uploadedImages/BWM/Utilities/News_and_Events/News/2008/BootCamp_Page_1_Page_1(1).jpg?n=1116" /> </p> <p> <img title="bc4" alt="bc4" src="/uploadedImages/BWM/Utilities/News_and_Events/News/2008/BootCamp_Page_1_Page_2(1).jpg?n=4816" /> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Fri, 04 Apr 2008 00:00:00 GMT Church-ownership a miracle for mall ; Once downtrodden site gets a revival <p> Church-ownership a miracle for mall ; Once downtrodden site gets a revival <br />[Chicagoland Final Edition] <br />Chicago Tribune - Chicago, Ill. <br />Author: Russell Working <br />Date: May 28, 2007 <br />Start Page: 1 <br />Section: News <br />Text Word Count: 1345 <br />Document Text </p> <p> <br />The front side of the Forest Park Mall could belong to any shopping center on Roosevelt Road. Behind a stucco facade, customers hunt for groceries at Ultra Foods, shower curtains at Kmart, phones at a US Cellular store. </p> <p> <br />But enter the mall and follow the beat of a gospel band, and you'll find yourself in a 3,500-seat sanctuary where worshipers from the Living Word Christian Center are clapping and singing hallelujahs. Rev. Bill Winston preaches while cameras project his image on giant video screens. </p> <p> <br />This is the landlord's side of the building. </p> <p> <br />Combining Bible and business acumen, Living Word has transformed what was once an eyesore listed on a Web site called into a thriving if unusual hybrid: half mega-church, half shopping mall. </p> <p> <br />Since the nondenominational church bought the dying mall in 1998, Living Word has more than doubled to 15,000 members while creating a facility divided between a state-of-the-art worship center and the church's commercial subsidiary at 7600 W. Roosevelt Rd. </p> <p> <br />Both sides of the mall speak to the church's mission: not only saving souls, but also modeling economic development for a largely black congregation. Living Word has established a business school, a broadcast media center, a Christian bookstore, a kindergarten- through-8th-grade academy and its own clothing stores selling business apparel. </p> <p> <br />The church-owned Forest Park Plaza Inc., which runs the mall, has built a new facade for the building and earns rent from tenants like Kmart and Old Country Buffet. </p> <p> <br />"I truly believe that if a person is a Christian, that they, according to the Scriptures, are the seed of Abraham," Winston says. "And as the seed of Abraham, everything I lay my hand to is going to prosper." </p> <p> <br />Along the way, Living Word has transformed a block that village officials had feared would become a blight on a major commercial strip in the western suburb. </p> <p> <br />"Pastor Winston and his team have just done a phenomenal job," Forest Park Mayor Anthony Calderone said. "The mall was absolutely deserted when Living Word purchased that property. ... It was terrible, absolutely terrible." </p> <p> <br />The revival has had a spinoff effect. Winston says the mall sustains 400 jobs and creates $100 million a year in taxable income, a figure Calderone says sounds about right. </p> <p> <br />Living Word is trying to replicate its mall-church at a 12-acre shopping center it bought in 2005 in Winston's hometown of Tuskegee, Ala. And his ambitions go even further. The church has raised nearly $5 million in its attempt to buy a bank, and it is planning to start a military academy. </p> <p> <br />A new water-bottling plant, which will double as a teaching model for students at the business school, is expected to be running this summer. Winston is chairman of the bank and is listed as principal in most of the church's enterprises. </p> <p> <br />Business interests like Living Word's are more common in black congregations than white, says John N. Vaughan of Church Growth Today, a mega-church research and consulting center in Bolivar, Mo. Whereas major white churches tend to shy away from economic ventures, African-American churches have promoted economic empowerment by establishing credit unions, retirement centers, and even, in the case of a church in Houston, a shopping mall. </p> <p> <br />"The black pastor has been a champion for their people since they came out of slavery," Vaughan says. "Within the African-American community, this is much more common because it is part of their DNA to be socially responsive." </p> <p> <br />The man behind the mall's revival was born in 1943 in the hometown of the Tuskegee Airmen, America's first African-American military pilots. </p> <p> <br />The town was home to what is now Tuskegee University, established by one of Winston's heroes, Booker T. Washington. A former slave, Washington taught that blacks needed to pursue their own economic advancement to achieve civil rights -- a philosophy that influenced Winston. </p> <p> <br />After graduating from Tuskegee in 1967, Winston entered the Air Force and served as a fighter pilot in Vietnam. In March 1971, he piloted an F-4E Phantom that struck anti-aircraft batteries deep in North Vietnamese territory. The mission won him the Distinguished Flying Cross.</p> <p> <br />After the Air Force, Winston worked for IBM's Minneapolis office, he says. While at the company, he met his wife and fellow pastor, Veronica, and they married in 1983 (they have three children). Winston was called to the ministry in 1984, beginning at a church in Minneapolis. He attended Oral Roberts University in Tulsa for several months in 1996 but did not receive a degree, the school reports. He also studied at Logos Bible School. </p> <p> <br />Winston's book, "The Kingdom of God in You," says he earned an honorary doctorate from Friends International Christian University, a California-based school whose accreditation is not recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Reached by phone, a university official said it by policy cannot confirm the degrees it awards, but Winston is listed on its Web site as an alumnus. </p> <p> <br />Living Word opened in 1988, and its first church was in a windowless building in a high-crime West Side neighborhood. The door was propped open for ventilation. Rumbling trucks interrupted the sermons. </p> <p> <br />The low point came when someone stole Winston's Oldsmobile. "We were in there having a service one night, and came out, and the car was gone," he says. "I tell people that we were casting out demons and one of them got out there and drove my car away." </p> <p> <br />The church promises its followers strength in their battles with Satan. A prayer formerly posted on the church's Web site offered the power to break free from "curses, fetishes, charms, vexes, hexes, spells, every jinx, all psychic powers, sorcery, bewitchments, enchantments, witchcraft, love potions, and psychic prayers that have been put upon me, back to ten generations on both sides of my family." </p> <p> <br />The talk about empowerment through faith isn't limited to the church. Downstairs in the mall, the Joseph Business Center is directed by Mark Muse, who holds an MBA from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School. The center offers a nine-month program for $2,600, and it hosts seminars ranging from investing in gold to starting a business. This year, 66 students were scheduled to graduate. </p> <p> <br />The church plugs the center through video infomercials during services. This caught the attention of Quentin and Akilah Townsend, former Romeoville residents who own a real estate company in Georgia. In 2004, the couple bought the Atlanta Vision -- an American Basketball Association franchise -- for $500,000. The team made its first profit this season, he said. </p> <p> <br />"We wouldn't have bought the basketball team without the education that we received from the Joseph Business School," Quentin Townsend said. "It taught us how to identify a business structure. So we felt comfortable moving forward as far as looking at the financials, looking at the performance." <br />The churchgoers have made a difference at both Kmart -- the sole anchor left in the mall when the church moved in -- and at its nearby competitor, Wal-Mart. Both stores report an increased customer flow, especially on Sunday. </p> <p> <br />"At services, Winston demonstrates the kind of faith, charisma and fundraising skills that allowed the church to buy and revive a $5 million mall. He leads worshipers from the Garden of Eden to the Gospel of Mark as they call out "Amen!" and "That's right!" </p> <p> <br />Members will need to pitch in to fix the heating and air- conditioning system, he says. He believes they can raise the cash in three weeks. They need $236,000. </p> <p> <br />"Say to your neighbor, 'That's nothing,' </p> <p> <br />" Winston tells the crowd. </p> <p> <br />"THAT'S NOTHING!" </p> <p> <br />It is faith like this that has turned the Forest Park Mall into a marketplace for both Bible and business. And Winston has ambitions of promoting these products beyond his congregation. </p> <p> <br />"I tell people if I can get you fixed on the inside," he says, "you can go to your neighborhood and fix it on the outside." </p> <p> <br />---------- <br /> <br />Credit: By Russell Working, Tribune staff reporter <br />Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction or distribution is prohibited without permission. <br />Abstract (Document Summary) <br />"At services, Winston demonstrates the kind of faith, charisma and fundraising skills that allowed the church to buy and revive a $5 million mall. He leads worshipers from the Garden of Eden to the Gospel of Mark as they call out "Amen!" and "That's right!" <br />Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction or distribution is prohibited without permission. <br /><br /></p> Mon, 28 May 2007 00:00:00 GMT Preacher lifting hopes, profits for ailing mall High-tech ministry anchor for center in Forest Park <p>Preacher lifting hopes, profits for ailing mall High-tech ministry anchor for center in Forest Park <br />[North Sports Final Edition] <br />Chicago Tribune - Chicago, Ill. <br />Author: Aamer Madhani, Tribune staff reporter <br />Date: Aug 24, 2001 <br />Start Page: 8 <br />Section: Metro <br />Text Word Count: 894 <br />Document Text <br /></p> <p>RELIGION. </p> <p>Driving his golf cart through the nearly empty Forest Park Village Center, past a long row of vacant storefronts and a few mall walkers, Rev. Bill Winston sees promise where others have found only disappointment. </p> <p>The television preacher of the Living Word Christian Center bought the failing indoor mall in 1998 to house his church and to retool the rest of it into an outdoor shopping center that would help fuel his ministry. </p> <p>More than three years later, the mall remains virtually deserted-- a concrete elephant with only six businesses occupying its 33 acres-- but the church has grown by leaps and bounds. On Sundays, more than 7,000 churchgoers flock to the corner of Des Plaines Avenue and Roosevelt Road to hear Winston preach. </p> <p>Last year Living Word opened a $9 million state-of-the-art worship center equipped to record Winston's Sunday sermons, which are aired during the week on Channel 38. Offerings from the congregation paid for the center, Winston said. </p> <p>Winston also started a state-certified nine-month business school in the mall that he said has graduated 25 students so far. By the end of the year, he wants to open a water-bottling plant in the mall for the students to run as a lab project. </p> <p>And his faith that the mall will have a renaissance has not wavered. </p> <p>"Just like Joseph, I'm a dreamer," said Winston, referring to the Old Testament figure who dreamed the stars, moon and sun would bow before him. "You got to believe. You got to have faith." </p> <p>Winston came to the Chicago area in 1989 to start his ministry with $150 in his pocket and a directive from God, he said. Initially, the church held services in an Oak Park living room. </p> <p>But the congregation steadily grew to fill successively larger rented halls as Winston became known as a charismatic minister whose knowledge of the Bible was difficult to rival. </p> <p>"I found him to be interesting immediately, but what I really liked is that he could back everything up in the Bible by the verse," said Curtis Sturghill, 54, of the South Side, who began attending Winston's services in 1989 when he was preaching at a storefront at Lake Street and Pulaski Road. </p> <p>In 1997, Winston was holding services for about 5,000 people in a rented banquet hall across from the mall on the 7600 block of West Roosevelt Road when he got the idea about buying the shopping center. </p> <p>A former IBM executive and Air Force fighter pilot, Winston saw an opportunity not only to accommodate his burgeoning church but also a way to make the church some money. </p> <p>"There is no reason the church should not be profitable," Winston said. "Jesus wanted the church to prosper." </p> <p>Winston declined to say how much he paid for the property, which was bought from the Teachers Retirement System. Property records show that the church has taken a $13.2 million mortgage on the property. </p> <p>At a recent service, Winston paced in front of an offering box with a gold-plated sign that said "Debt Free Church." He reminded the congregation that this was one church that never forced anyone to buy a chicken dinner to raise money, reason enough to be generous with tithing. </p> <p>"Not one chicken has lost its life for this church," he said jokingly. "And we are not about to start killing any chickens now." </p> <p>With both Sunday services almost at capacity, Winston is contemplating having a third. </p> <p>Lorraine Popelka, mayor of Forest Park from 1987 to 1999, said the mall--with a vacancy rate of about 90 percent since the early 1990s-- has been frustrating for town officials. </p> <p>The mall opened in 1983 to much fanfare, with a Venture department store, a large home improvement store and a movie theater anchoring the project. The smaller stores, however, never took off, and one by one they moved out. The anchors followed. </p> <p>"It was a bit of headache," Popelka said. "We so desperately tried to get stores in, but it just never seemed to work out. I'm still not sure if a mall will ever work there." </p> <p>Jerry Jacknow, a former village commissioner and a real estate agent in the village, said there are numerous reasons for the mall's failure, including a saturated market, the wrong mix of stores and a structure that was limiting. Built above a former Navy torpedo plant, the basement of the mall has some cement walls that are 30 feet thick- -built to contain a torpedo blast. </p> <p>Residents of the working-class western suburb, told by village officials that the mall would provide enough revenue to keep property taxes stable, instead have watched as the site foundered. </p> <p>"It became a liability and a cancer on the community," Jacknow said. </p> <p>Mayor Anthony Calderone, who was a village commissioner when Living Word bought the mall, said revitalization of the mall is critical. And while unable to point to any specifics, he said Winston was making strides in that direction. </p> <p>For his part, Winston said he is confident of success. </p> <p>"Everywhere we've gone, we've prospered," Winston said of Living Word. "I'm not worried. The key is getting another anchor in. Once we get that in, the [other] stores will follow." </p> <p>Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction or distribution is prohibited without permission. <br />Abstract (Document Summary) <br /></p> <p>Mayor Anthony Calderone, who was a village commissioner when Living Word bought the mall, said revitalization of the mall is critical. And while unable to point to any specifics, he said [Bill Winston] was making strides in that direction. <br /></p> <p>Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction or distribution is prohibited without permission. <br /> </p> Fri, 24 Aug 2001 00:00:00 GMT Illinois church to refurbish <p> Montgomery Advertiser, The (AL) <br />Montgomery Advertiser (AL) <br />June 7, 2006 <br />Illinois church to refurbish <br />Author: David Irvin Montgomery Advertiser <br />Edition: 01 <br />Section: B <br />Page: 08 <br />Estimated printed pages: 2 <br />Article Text: <br /><a href=""></a><br /></p> <p>Tuskegee mall Jordan Crossing Shopping Center has lost its two major anchors and most of its smaller shops <br />An Illinois-based megachurch will begin refurbishing the Jordan Crossing Shopping Center in Tuskegee this month, about a year after it purchased the property. </p> <p> <br />The religious group's founder and pastor, Bill Winston, is a Tuskegee native. He wants to help revitalize the mall and generate jobs in the area. <br />"Our vision is to attract national businesses and retailers, provide jobs for local residents and restart the increased flow of money and other resources back into the community," Winston said in a news release. </p> <p> <br />Before starting the Living Word Christian Center in 1990, Winston distinguished himself as an Air Force pilot and businessman. <br />Kim Clay, a spokeswoman for the Living Word, said the church will revitalize and "remodelize" the property, making it more modern in its style and amenities. </p> <p> <br />But most of all, she said, the religious organization wants to rebuild the community. </p> <p> <br />Diane White, grants administrator for the city of Tuskegee, said since its construction in 1982, Jordan Crossing has lost its two major anchors and most of its smaller shops. </p> <p> <br />"It's not in bad shape, it's just empty," White said. </p> <p> <br />The 12-acre Tuskegee mall is the second property owned and managed by the church. The church first purchased Forest Park Plaza, a 33-acre shopping mall in Forest Park, Ill., and brought in tenants like Kmart, Taco Bell, Quizno's Subs and several apparel stores. </p> <p> <br />The church's properties are operated under a separate, for-profit entity set up by church management. Profits from its business go toward fueling the church's ministries and to building up the existing properties, officials said. </p> <p> <br />A groundbreaking ceremony at Jordan Crossing is scheduled for 10 a.m. Monday. </p> <p> <br />Copyright (c) Montgomery Advertiser. All rights reserved. Reproduced with the permission of Gannett Co., Inc. by NewsBank, inc. </p> <p> <br />Record Number: mnt14042649 <br /></p> Wed, 07 Jun 2006 00:00:00 GMT Officials in symbolic breaking of ground for Washington Plaza in Tuskegee <p> <img title="official4" style="WIDTH: 750px; HEIGHT: 655px" height="655" alt="official4" src="/uploadedImages/BWM/Utilities/News_and_Events/News/2006/WashingtonPlaza_Page_1(1).jpg?n=8205" width="750" /></p> <p> <img title="officials2" style="WIDTH: 660px; HEIGHT: 597px" height="597" alt="officials2" hspace="42" src="/uploadedImages/BWM/Utilities/News_and_Events/News/2006/WashingtonPlaza_Page_2.jpg?n=1706" width="660" /> </p> Thu, 15 Jun 2006 00:00:00 GMT Area pastor puts business where his faith is <p> <span> <strong> <img title="business" style="WIDTH: 730px; HEIGHT: 651px" height="651" alt="business" src="/uploadedImages/BWM/Utilities/News_and_Events/News/2007/Theleadger_Page_1.jpg?n=5639" width="730" /> </strong> </span> </p> <p> <span> <img title="business2" style="WIDTH: 745px; HEIGHT: 567px" height="567" alt="business2" src="/uploadedImages/BWM/Utilities/News_and_Events/News/2007/Theleadger_Page_2(1).jpg?n=3060" width="745" /> </span> </p> Mon, 20 Aug 2007 00:00:00 GMT The Call <p> <img title="call1" style="WIDTH: 700px; HEIGHT: 905px" height="905" alt="call1" src="/uploadedImages/BWM/Utilities/News_and_Events/News/2003/TheCall_Page_1.jpg?n=386" width="700" /></p> <p> <img title="call2" style="WIDTH: 700px; HEIGHT: 914px" height="914" alt="call2" src="/uploadedImages/BWM/Utilities/News_and_Events/News/2003/TheCall_Page_2.jpg?n=3038" width="700" /> </p> Sun, 01 Jun 2003 00:00:00 GMT Economic Empowerment Summit <p> <img title="EES1" style="WIDTH: 655px; HEIGHT: 733px" alt="EES1" src="/uploadedImages/BWM/Utilities/News_and_Events/News/2007/NDigo_Page_1.jpg?n=8631" /> </p> <p> <img title="EEC2" alt="EEC2" src="/uploadedImages/BWM/Utilities/News_and_Events/News/2007/NDigo_Page_2.jpg?n=5332" /> </p> <p> <img title="EES3" alt="EES3" src="/uploadedImages/BWM/Utilities/News_and_Events/News/2007/NDigo_Page_3.jpg?n=1032" /> </p> Thu, 18 Jan 2007 00:00:00 GMT Preacher's purchase <p> <img title="preacher1" alt="preacher1" src="/uploadedImages/BWM/Utilities/News_and_Events/News/2007/Crains_Page_1.jpg?n=1896" /> </p> <p> <img title="preacher2" style="WIDTH: 652px; HEIGHT: 778px" height="778" alt="preacher2" src="/uploadedImages/BWM/Utilities/News_and_Events/News/2007/Crains_Page_2.jpg?n=2783" width="652" /> </p> Mon, 17 Sep 2007 00:00:00 GMT FBO changing of the guard ongoing process <p> <a title="pastor" href="/uploadedFiles/BWM/Utilities/News_and_Events/News/2008/FBO.pdf"></a> </p> <p> <img title="FBO" height="437" alt="FBO" src="/uploadedImages/BWM/Utilities/News_and_Events/News/2008/FBO.jpg?n=5351" width="722" /> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Tue, 08 Jul 2008 00:00:00 GMT