The history of Living Word Christian Center dates back to 1988 when Bill and Veronica Winston conducted small evangelistic meetings at the Quality Inn Hotel located just west of downtown Chicago. Still living in Minnesota, they traveled to Chicago on weekends to hold two-day “Faith Crusades,” where the crowds would sometimes average less than 20 people. Pastor would teach the Word of God, and Sister Veronica would play the guitar for praise and worship. It was not long before the Lord spoke to Pastor Winston to leave Minnesota and move his young family to Chicago permanently. He obeyed and with only $200 -- but filled with the Word of God -- they moved to Chicago in the fall of 1988. Pastor Winston’s original vision in moving to Chicago was to start a Bible training school. However, as God directed his steps, he was led to start a church and founded Living Word Church of Chicago in 1989. With less than 50 members, the church began meeting in a humble store front located on Chicago’s West Side, at the corner of Lake and Pulaski streets. A year later the church moved to the nearby suburb of Forest Park, at 7306 West Madison Street. With this move in 1990, the church name was changed to Living Word Christian Center.
But the church move was not without its challenges. After signing the lease, more than half the membership decided not to make the move to Forest Park. With a large monthly lease and only a handful of members. But with God as Pastor Winston’s source, not people, Pastor Winston faithfully confessed God’s Word for increase and church growth. New members steadily came each year, and the church’s growth soon led to the need for a still larger worship center. From 1994 through 1997, while searching for a permanent location, the church held its services at the Chez Roué Banquet Hall not far from Madison Street.
The ministry eventually purchased the Forest Park Mall, a 33-acre shopping mall that had been in decline for several years. With about 5,000 members, the church held its first worship services in a vacant home improvement store within the mall on December 31, 1997, New Year’s Eve night.
Today, Living Word Christian Center is a 20,000-member multi-cultural church that holds its services in a state-of-the-art worship center.