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Oak Lawn, Illinois
|Residence||Homer Township, Will County, Illinois|
Robert "Robb" D. Thompson (also "Robb"; born in April 1953) is the founder and president of Family Harvest International, a worldwide network of Christian congregations. He is the founder of Family Harvest Church in Tinley Park, Illinois, a racially diverse church with over 4,000 members.
Thompson grew up in Oak Lawn, Illinois where he was raised a Roman Catholic and worked for United Parcel Service for the majority of his early adulthood. He moved to Homer Township, Illinois, where he sought "practical answers to life's problems and a real personal relationship with Jesus Christ", and began considering other denominations. He stated that he had a transformative experience on October 28, 1975 where he was "unplugged and reengineered and then plugged in again to Christ" and became a Baptist for several years.
As an ordained minister, Thompson founded Midwest Christian Center in 1983, which later grew into a large worship center. He remained the pastor of the center through the late 1990s. He also pastored the House of Glory church in the 1980s, in Orland Park, Illinois, and held regular Bible study groups. It was during these study groups in 1999 where the name "Family Harvest" was conceived.
Thompson is the founder of the nondenominational Family Harvest Church in Tinley Park, Illinois, a member of the Family Harvest International network. Family Harvest Church, which can hold over 3,000 congregants in one service, has been called a megachurch, noted for its theater chairs, projection screens, polished singing performances, stage lighting, amplified sound, and TV and web shows. In 2004, the church had nearly $10 million in assets.
In 1986, in an effort to promote that Halloween is "historically evil" and harmful to children, Thompson's church scheduled a "Hallelujah Party" in its place on October 31. The church has made it an annual tradition ever since.
Family Harvest Church's ministers preached regularly about the risk of a "Y2K apocalypse" during 1998, relating it to Thompson's published interpretation of the Bible. On January 2, 2000, with Y2K essentially a nonevent, pastor Rev. Doug Boettcher's message was about not letting go of one's preparations, urging members of the Family Harvest Church to be prepared "for any kind of natural disaster" and to help their neighbors in such a situation; but many locals had already returned generators and space heaters the day before.
For Christmas 2005, Thompson arranged the donation of over 100,000 articles of clothing, toys, and other goods to Miracle Centre Cathedral, a Ugandan cathedral run by senior pastor Robert Kayanja that is claimed to be the biggest auditorium in East Africa. The items were distributed to displaced persons' camps and orphanages in northern Uganda.
In early 2011, the Robb Thompson Ministries hosted the "Dancing for the Stars" dinner-dance fundraising event in Orland Hills, Illinois. The proceeds of the event were to go to underprivileged children around the world and to funding Family Harvest's global missions. Over 400 attended the event which helped raise $25,000. With these funds, two medical and dental trips are being organized in 2011, to the Petén Jungle in Guatemala and later to Haiti, where children, orphans and adults will be offered free medical and dental checkups and treatment. The ministries also announced that a portion of the funds will be donated to help Japan after the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami.
Robb Thompson's television program, “Winning in Life,” is viewed by millions in the United States and around the world.
International College of Excellence
Robb Thompson is Founder of the International College of Excellence, a Christian university dedicated to teaching and training of new pastors "to maximize their personal potential and equipping tomorrow's leaders". He serves as the institution's President. The college is headquartered in Tinley Park, Illinois, a suburb south of Chicago.
- Thompson, Robb. Marriage God's Way! (audiobook). Midwest Christian Center. OCLC 34111558.
- Thompson, Robb (1998). La Decisión Ganadora (in Spanish). Tinley Park, Illinois: Midwest Christian Center. OCLC 60424911.
- Thompson, Robb. Why Financial Harvests are Denied (audiobook). Tinley Park, Illinois: Family Harvest Church. OCLC 226246598.
- Thompson, Robb (2002). Shattered Dreams: What to Do When Your Future Seems Lost (2nd ed.). Tinley Park, Illinois: Family Harvest Church. ISBN 978-1-889723-23-5. OCLC 173262672.
- Thompson, Robb (2002). Winning the Heart of God. Nashville, Tennessee: Royal Books. ISBN 978-0-7852-6487-3. OCLC 53231392.
- Thompson, Robb D. (2007). Solitary Refinement: Finding and Making the Most of Time by Yourself (The Hidden Power of Being Alone). Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson. ISBN 978-1-59951-029-3. OCLC 190760622.
- Blaine, Rick (1992-07-19). "Spirituality: Seeking new meaning in life". Chicago Tribune. p. 3. Retrieved 2009-03-03.
- "Your Faith". Chicago Daily Herald. Arlington Heights, Illinois. 2009-01-03. p. 4. Retrieved 2009-03-03.
- Fulka, Rena (2006-08-06). "Choices, choices". The Star. Tinley Park, Illinois: Star Newspapers. Retrieved 2009-03-03.
- Lavoie, Dan (2005-01-30). "Stone Church eyes move to Orland". The Star. Tinley Park, Illinois: Star Newspapers. Retrieved 2009-03-20.
- Williamson, Elizabeth (1993-05-16). "Make a Joyful Noise: Church music strikes a responsive chord: Congregations lift their voices in song that's in harmony with our ever-changing culture". Chicago Tribune. p. 3. Retrieved 2009-03-03.
- Thompson, Robb D. (2007). Solitary Refinement: Finding and Making the Most of Time by Yourself (The Hidden Power of Being Alone). Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson. p. 52. ISBN 978-1-59951-029-3. OCLC 190760622. Retrieved 2009-03-03.
- "LCU Accreditation". Life Christian University. Retrieved 16 April 2011.
- Herrmann, Andrew (1986-10-30). "Halloween stirs a devil of a fuss: Churches join parent protest of 'evil'". Chicago Sun-Times. p. 52. Retrieved 2009-03-03.
- Mendell, David & Harper, Pat (1998-12-14). "Hit by the Millennium Bug: Pessimists Brace for a Computer-Driven Cataclysm". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2009-03-03.
- Newton, Stephanie (2008-03-10). "'Solitary Refinement': Chicago Pastor Shows Readers How to Utilize Their Time in New Book". PR Newswire Association, L.L.C. Nashville: Thomas Nelson. Retrieved 2009-03-03.
- Smith, Sheila (2007-05-19). "Former Illini basketball player encourages teens to have a purpose of faith in life". Herald & Review. Decatur, Illinois: McClatchy-Tribune Information Services. Retrieved 2009-03-03.
- Sherlock, Barbara (2004-06-24). "Rev. James E. Watson, 53: Love of gospel powered pastor's Harvey church". Chicago Tribune. p. 10. Retrieved 2011-04-15.
- Testerman, Jeff (2004-04-30). "Buyers shun Living Water property". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved 2009-03-20.
- Gibson, Ray; Heinzmann, David (2000-01-03). "Stockpiles of Y2K Gear Head Back to the Stores". Chicago Tribune. Chicago, Illinois. Retrieved 2010-04-27.
- Enigk, Erica (2005-06-23). "Tinley Park: OTB passes final hurdle". The Star. Tinley Park, Illinois: Star Newspapers. Retrieved 2009-03-20.
- Lloyd, John (25 October 2008). "The Riches of Heaven". Financial Times Weekend magazine.
- Nakagwa, Flavia (2005-12-24). "Kayanja aids northern children". New Vision. Uganda. Retrieved 2009-03-20.
- "Charity Briefs". SouthtownStar, a Chicago Sun-Times publication. Retrieved 26 April 2011.
- Tinley Junction Staff. "Church's dancing event raises funds for less fortunate". The Tinley Junction. Retrieved 26 April 2011.