Celebrating the Life of Dallas Willard

May 25, 2013
Memorial Celebration

On May 25, 2013, Dallas's family, friends, ministry partners, colleagues, students, fellow pastors and "fellow pilgrims" from around the world joined together in person and online to express gratitude for Dallas's life and work. 


"For the godly, death is nothing. Have no fear of those who can only kill the body, Jesus says (Matt. 10:28). We will not even experience death (John 8:51-52) and will, in fact, not die (John 11:26)...Such is the understanding of the New Testament as a whole. Those who live in reliance upon the word and person of Jesus, and know by experience the reality of his kingdom, are always better off "dead," from the personal point of view...we live in the knowledge that, as Paul elsewhere says, "Jesus the Anointed has abolished death and has, through the gospel, made life and immortality obvious" (2 Tim 1:10)."
The Divine Conspiracy, pp. 393-394



1: Receive the Generous Blessing

Dallas's pastor, Bill Dwyer, invites us to pause and thank God for Dallas's life and encourages us to receive the gifts he has left for us.

3: Give 'em Heaven

Dallas’s 14-year-old "grand daughter," Larissa Heatley, shares memories of her “grand father," including the day he told her to give 'em heaven.

4: Hey, Dallas...?

John Ortberg shares some of the things he learned by asking, “Hey, Dallas..."

5: Dallas's Four Final Concerns

JP Moreland gives us a glimpse of life on campus with Dallas. He then shares Dallas's four concerns about the future health of Christianity and the spiritual formation movement.

Receive the Generous Blessing

Bill Dwyer has been the senior pastor at Dallas and Jane Willard’s home church, the Valley Vineyard, for forty years. Bill has a passion for Jesus’ kingdom. For the first twenty years of ministry, Bill was an activist. Jesus birthed a passion in him for missions, evangelism, spiritual warfare, leading a church community, faithfulness to the Word, the ministry of healing, and the renewing work of the Spirit. Twenty years ago, Jesus used Dallas and Jane to draw Bill into spiritual formation, contemplative practices, and spiritual direction. His desire is to see every believer bring the active and contemplative life in the kingdom together. 

We Will See Each Other Again

Richard Foster met Dallas and Jane when he became their pastor at Woodlake Avenue Friends Church in 1970. He and Dallas partnered in ministry together for the rest of their lives. Richard is the author of several bestselling books, including Celebration of Discipline, Life with God, and Prayer: Finding the Hearts True Home. He is the founder of Renovaré, a community of Christians seeking continual spiritual renewal in Christ, and the lead editor of Renovaré's Life with God Bible.

Give 'em Heaven

Larissa Heatley is Dallas Willard’s granddaughter and has a passion to further Christ’s kingdom through continuing her grandfather’s work. Larissa studied English and Public Relations at the University of Arizona, graduating in 2021, married Markus Norwoods in 2023, and now works as the Social Media Producer and Community Manager for Red Robin Restaurants. Her favorite quote from her grandfather is “Give 'em heaven,” and she hopes to live that out daily.

Hey, Dallas...?

John Ortberg and Dallas were ministry partners for decades, collaborating through conferences, interviews and books. He is a founding board member for the Dallas Willard Center for Spiritual Formation, is a member of the Board of Trustees at Fuller Seminary, and has served on the board of Christianity Today International.

Some of John's favorite moments in life have been his chances to sit in the chair next to Dallas and just say, "hey Dallas ...

John has helped us all dig into what he's learned from Dallas by writing books like The Life You’ve Always Wanted, Living in Christ's Presence and Soul Keeping, and recording small group curriculums and devotional videos series based on Dallas's books. 

Dallas's Four Final Concerns

JP Moreland studied under Dallas at USC 1982-1985 and was honored to have him as his dissertation supervisor. JP and his wife have counted Dallas and Jane as dear friends and mentors for thirty years. Dallas impacted JP through his combination of a rigorous intellect with a vibrant walk with Jesus, his fresh, penetrating ideas about the kingdom and how to live in it, and by the reality of God that poured out of his life. 

JP is currently Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at Talbot School of Theology, Biola University in La Mirada, California.