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Showing posts with the label Willow Creek

A MinistryWatch Analysis: What Happened At Willow Creek?

By Warren Cole Smith - Posted at Ministry Watch : In the 1970s and 80s, radio personality Casey Kasem would often punctuate his “American Top 40” program with the phrase: “And the hits just keep on coming.” The expression became a catchphrase of the era. It was the same era in which Chicago-area’s Willow Creek Community Church rose to national prominence. But Casey Kasem’s famous phrase could also describe the church’s decline: “The hits just keep on coming.” The first hit came in 2018, when whistleblowers accused longtime pastor Bill Hybels of sexual misconduct. The church’s leadership initially rallied around the pastor, who denied the accusations. And that may have been the church’s second mistake: to uncritically accept Hybels’ word against credible accusations , rather than investigate them. The early whistleblowers gave others courage, and the church’s denials made them defiant. Soon, the allegations we so numerous – and so credible – that Hybels was forced to resign.

Willow Creek’s Crash Shows Why Denominations Still Matter

Nancy Beach at Willow Creek Community Church for the WCA Leadership Summit Image Source: By Tish Harrison Warren - Posted at Christian Headlines: "Yet because Willow Creek was an independent congregation — which endorsed and promoted Hybels as a pastor — the report ended by saying there was nothing the church could do to further discipline Hybels." (RNS) — It’s become common among some Protestants — and especially evangelicals — to call themselves “Jesus followers.” Not Christians. Not Baptists or Pentecostals. Not members of the Presbyterian Church in America or the Anglican Communion. Not Wesleyans or Methodists or Lutherans. Just people following Jesus. I appreciate the spirit behind the moniker. Christians want our first loyalty to be to Jesus, not a particular institution or tradition. But I am wary of referring to myself (or anyone else) as simply a “Jesus follower” because no one follows Jesus in some pure, individual way, free of insti

Accusers to Willow Creek: No Reconciliation Without Repentance

By Megan Briggs - Posted at ChurchLeaders : Betty Schmidt, who served as an elder at Willow Creek Church for over 30 years, says she will not participate in efforts at reconciliation between herself and the current Willow Creek elder board. Schmidt first expressed her concern over the way the elder board was handling the allegations against Bill Hybels in April. Now she is speaking up again, raising alarm over the board’s choice in mediators to handle the conversation between Willow Creek and the women accusing Hybels of sexual misconduct . “Before reconciliation can be attempted, Willow Creek elders and leaders must focus and address their own actions and failings, which have been accruing since the unfortunate family meetings of late March and for the four years prior,” Schmidt writes on her site VeritasBeTold . The family meetings Schmidt refers to are the ones the elder board held with congregants following the Chicago Tribune’s breaking a story about Hybels and the women a

Bill Hybels Resigns from Willow Creek

By Bob Smietana - Posted at Christianity Today : Former leaders have accused the church of failing to adequately address several allegations against Hybels, including inappropriate comments, private meetings with female staffers in his hotel room and at his home, intrusive hugs, and, in one case, an unwanted kiss. Megachurch pastor “accelerates” October retirement weeks after former colleagues went public with misconduct allegations. Bill Hybels has stepped down as senior pastor of Willow Creek Community Church, the Chicago-area megachurch he founded over 40 years ago, citing the controversy over recent allegations against him. Many in the wider Christian community have been confused by those allegations, he said, and the controversy has distracted his church’s leaders from their mission and has hurt the church’s ministries. “They can’t flourish to their fullest potential when the valuable time of our leaders is divided.” Hybels, who previously planned to retire in October