My name is Bill Giovannetti. I’m a husband, dad, family guy, follower of Jesus and pastor. My beautiful wife, Margi, is an attorney (litigator, med-mal defense, mainly), college professor, a homemaker, and a home-school parent. We have two incredible kids and live in the country. I’ll always be a city boy at heart.

Stuff I’m into: bass fishing, woodworking, keeping my lawn really green, playing with my kids, good restaurants with my wife and friends, Italian food, Greek food, Chicago Bears, Cubs, Sox (yeah, both), Bulls, Hawks, black and white movies, The Dick Van Dyke Show, I Love Lucy, Andy Griffith, American Idol.

I love theology, and believe the center of all theology is GRACE, because it is the center of God’s heart. Grace has been dramatically wimpified to the point of meaninglessness. That leads to LEGALISM which is killing Christianity by a death of a thousand cuts.

Education: Lane Tech High School (Chicago), then Wheaton College (1 year, too expensive), then Univ of Ill (Chicago, part time, several years), then Trinity College (REACH, for a B.A.), then Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (Chicago suburbs, M.Div., Urban Minisitry), then SCUPE (Chicago, graduate certificate in Urban Ministry), then Fuller Theological Seminary (Pasadena, for my D.Min.).

Jobs I’ve held: Paperboy, then a summer at a paint factory, then worked at Chicago’s largest photofinishing lab (LaSalle Photo), then a union produce clerk at Jewel (Albertson’s) and Eagle (Lucky Foods), then I entered ministry at age 20. I became the Childrens and Youth pastor at the North Side Gospel Center (Chicago). This church is the birthplace of AWANA (a church based kids ministry) and owns CAMP AWANA. I served there 8 years. Then I planted a church called WINDY CITY COMMUNITY CHURCH, now ably pastored by my friend Steve Story. I served there 16 years. Then I became the teaching pastor at Grace Pointe Church in Naperville, a Chicago suburb with John Bell. I served there 2 years. Then I moved across country to Northern California. In 2002 I became the senior pastor of Neighborhood Church... the new love of my life. Neighborhood Church is in the Christian and Missionary Alliance. I’ve also taught college ministry and theology classes at Trinity College (Chicago suburb), Simpson University,  and A.W. Tozer Theological Seminary).

My latest book is called GRACE INTERVENTION, from Shiloh Run/Barbour Publishing. You can find it here.

First book: How To Keep Your Inner Mess from Trashing Your Outer World. Check it out.

Second book: Four Letter Words. It’s here.

Third book: Secrets to a Happy Life, which is here.

Neighborhood Church is a multi-site church that uses video venues. We are part of the Christian and Missionary Alliance. About 18 percent of our total income goes to world mission through the Great Commission Fund and other missions.

Favorite authors: God (the Bible), Dave Meurer, P.G. Wodehouse, Dan Brown (I know, I know), A.W. Tozer, C.H. Spurgeon, books by old, dead guys.

Music: Country and Western, contemporary praise and worship, classical, my daughter’s singing, old hymns.

Stuff I gave up or ran out of time to do: Brazilian (Gracie School) Jiu-Jitsu, bodybuilding, gardening, tennis, going to movies, skiing.

If you’re looking for a SPEAKER for your event or church, fill out the form. Thanks.

28 thoughts on “About

  1. Bill,
    You do not know how excited I am that you have a blog. I look forward to Thursdays when your sermons are posted. We miss Redding, but love our church.

    Mike McManus

  2. Hi Bill! It’s great to see your pic on the website. It has been a long time since I have seen you. I miss your clear teaching and strong emphasis on Grace.
    I am currently in the Philippines teaching at Faith Academy, one of the largest schools for the children of missionaries. Since the Lord took home my first wife, Mary, in 2000 I have come out to Manila to serve the Lord as a high school teacher at Faith. I will be leaving Faith academy at the end of this semester, in late May, and returning to the states. The Lord has blessed me immeasurably by giving me a ministry at Faith and also in a local Fillipino Church. I have also been blessed by meeting a wonderful Wycliffe missionary, Tracy Rectanus. We were married in July of 2003. It has been wonderful. The Lord bless you in your ministry.

  3. Ugh! Forget the blasphemy. Dan Brown can’t write. Other than that, it’s good to see a pastor with a link to pornography. (I know, I know. That’s how I got to this site.)

    Matt Anthony

  4. Bill, thanks for the Blog. It is nice to catch up with you even though we haven’t spoke. Even us atheists in Chicago miss you……

  5. Hi Bill!!!!!!!
    I miss you and am so happy to have “found” you again. Has it really been almost 15 years since you officiated at our wedding? Our daughter Victoria (Tori) is now 10 and of course she is wonderful. Jim is still with the Chicago Fire Dept. and I am managing a Garden Center for the last 8 years. Tina is Chief of Info. Security at Discover Card and married a wonderful man last July. Tim has been on the Fire Dept. for the last two years and Jeff is in charge of computer programming at Kraft Foods. Mom and Dad are well and of course asking for more grandchildren. God Bless you Bill for the difference you made in my life. Thank you! Kind regards, Angie

  6. Hi Bill,

    I just came across your site when I was googling for an address in Chicago. I clicked the link and saw you had podcasts of your sermons. Perry and I have downloaded them and have enjoyed seeing and hearing you preach again. It’s great to hear you are still preaching the same message of grace.

    We are back at the Center doing Cubbies and Trek. Perry is writing the bible lessons for Pals for camp this summer and I will be the Chum lodge director. Just wanted to give you an little update on us.

    Well, it was great “seeing and hearing” you.


  7. I miss your teaching on GRACE! But I see I can download podcasts!

    Seems like just yesterday I was sitting in your Galatians class … for the second time around…cuz you REALLY wanted us to get it!

    I remember listening to your message on your inner mess with tears rolling down my eyes! That ‘s #1 on the download list.

    My kids are all teens: 14 16 & 18. And now we have a 17 year old boy that we are parenting. He started hanging out with our son (& family) in August, got SAVED in November and moved in by March. I lost my study…but gained a son.

    And now we have another 17 year old boy who also hangs around because he wants Ken as a role model. He’s comes to church with us and it’s only a matter of time before he gets SAVED.

    And then there’s the 18 year old girl who gives me Mother’s Day cards. Her life continues to fall apart…..but Jesus SAVES!

    I found your website because I heard you had a post about Lois Peterson.

    Two points from that:

    1) “God always has a new era up his sleeve”…..I can’t duplicate what Lois had….but I have this sense that God is up to something! For years I prayed that God would use me apart from my own work. These kids came on their own. They pursued us.

    2) You were not her favorite….I was! 🙂 (just kidding) I spent hours and hours at her home. I looked for ways to be there just to be with her and listen to her. She taught me to study and test everything against God’s Word. She once told me she wished there was someone I could marry in her family! She was not only my spiritual mother but very much played the role of a Mom.

    I’m looking forward to exploring your website. Your love of in-depth teaching makes my heart go pitter-patter! I’m working on a Master in Training & Development, but seriously considered Thelogy or Apologetics. Ken thought that basket weaving would be a cheaper hobby since he didn’t think I could find employment with either of those degrees. We are looking at 3 in college at the same time so there was an economic factor in my decision.

    I’m glad I connected with you again.
    Marianne Shovan

  8. I wandered over here because I was working with my “tags” and saw you under Orthodoxy. I’ve enjoyed reading through your side and learning about Ironside.

    As to reads: We love Wodehouse over here too! Browne??? Really? sigh.

  9. I heard about your site at Lois’ funeral. I really enjoying it. It’s great that you finally got married. Your wife seems really cool!

  10. Hi Sally,
    Thanks. I was just waiting for the right woman to come along! And she did!

    I know, Dan Brown is kind of a guilty pleasure. Can’t help myself. I love a page turner.

  11. Bill,

    Just came across your Web site. Very interesting.

    I pray that Grace is something that’s tasted before Legalism slashes and burns religion.

    As Brennan Manning aptly closes his personal notes ….

    Under the mercy,


  12. Hey Bill!
    Terry and I have often wondered where you are, how you are doing, did you ever find the right woman – looks like you have. You were such a great friend to us during our year in Chicago, and I’ve always wished you would wander back – you and your “voice from the past”.

    We’re here in Halifax – two kids and a few degrees later, and anxious to hear from you. You were our favourite Chicago native and we hated it that we lost touch.

    Vicki Lynn

  13. Hey Bill whats up? Long time no talk with you. we see that you and Margi and the family are doing well. Your kids are very cute. obviously they take after Margi. Just kidding. We were just talking about you today and decided to look you up. We have been living in Bartlett for the last ten years and have not found a church we like yet. Amber is now 20 years old and very beautiful. She is finishing her associates at a community college. Joshua is now 15 and a sophomore in high school and plays football and baseball. We are glad that we found you and your website and can’t wait to heare from you. Go Bears! And GO CUBS….we cannot say the same for the Sox though.

    Mike and Dawn.

  14. Hi Bill,

    How the heck are you? It was good to get re-aquianted with you on your blog. I really do miss you and our quarterly lunches and Saturday morning prayers with Lutzer. ( I will never forget the time you interupted the prayer of that Randel Terry disciple) I trust you are doing well and enjoying marriage and parenting. I’d love to catch up with all that is going on with you. Please write back and maybe we can talk.

    With Much Love, Jeff Babbe

  15. A Chicago Italian who reads Tozer/Spurgeon, watches Dick Van Dyke and lists country music FIRST…there’s something unusually grand about that. But then…you have those very non-west-coast sports allegiances…

  16. I just saw the weblog for the first time and saw that there have been some announcements promoting it at the Celebration services in the announcements on screen. I think it would be great if something could be announced at my service also at “The Well”. I think many of our body would enjoy it and may not know about it. Just a suggestion. I’ll keep reading too!

  17. I used to attend NCR back in the day with Dave Hall and the young marrieds class. Now I’m a student finishing Th.M. at Dallas Theological Seminary and serving as senior pastor of Genesis Community Church in Fate, Texas. Love the blog site. Will “creatively appropriate” some ideas for topics (not material). Will also keep reading. By God’s grace,

    1 Cor. 15:10 “For by the grace of God I am what I am…”

  18. Hi there,

    I saw that you have some links on your Blog to Urban Ministry Education resources, and I wanted to see if you would be willing to add a link to City Vision College, formerly known as the Association of Gospel Rescue Mission’s (AGRM) Rescue College. City Vision College (www.cityvision.edu) is an accredited college that enables people to take courses online while continuing in ministry and offers courses in fundraising, accounting and theology. In 2008, Rescue College became a part of TechMission and was renamed City Vision College; some of TechMission’s national partners include CCDA, AGRM, Salvation Army, World Vision, HLIC and YouthPartnersNet. Dr. Fletcher L. Tink serves as the academic Dean of City Vision College.

    Below is a sample link that you could use:

    Urban Ministry Courses Online (link to http://www.cityvision.edu)

    Thanks so much!

    Paul J. Caputo

    TechMission, Inc.
    31 Torrey Street
    Boston, MA 02124

    p: 617-282-9798 ext. 109
    f: 617-825-0313

    Connecting Communities for Social Justice

    Find Volunteering + Short-term Missions Opportunities!

  19. Bill G- I would like to license the image of the preacher for use in presentations, can you contact me? jds

  20. Hi Nancy,
    The Steve Story that became pastor when I left Windy City Community Church is a lifetime Chicagoan… and a great guy, too.

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