Perhaps you have heard by now that Bill Hybels has resigned as pastor of Willow Creek Community Church and leader of the Global Leadership Summit amidst allegations of sexual misconduct. As you can imagine, because of our long-time relationship with Bill and other individuals involved, we are confused and disheartened by the news coming out of Chicago. Since we are on the outside looking in, we recognize that we may never know the full truth about what has occurred and get any kind of resolution to the situation in our minds and hearts . . . which only adds to our sadness.
This August we are slated to be a Premier Host Site for the Global Leadership Summit for the fourth time. You may be wondering how these developments will affect our involvement with the conference going forward. Our Elder Team will be taking the matter under consideration at their next meeting. The elders obviously want to be sensitive to everyone involved in this situation, while at the same time recognizing that the GLS movement is larger than any one person. We will let everyone know as soon as a decision has been made.
You may also be wondering how we are processing these revelations personally, since we know and have been influenced so heavily by Hybels. Paul and I both will tell you that Bill has been the single greatest influence in our lives in terms of the mission of the church and how God is calling us to reach people who have yet to respond to God’s grace. Our commitment to excellence, the laser focus on our mission, the desire to develop leaders, both men and women, and the intentionality we bring to everything we do are all things we have learned in our association with Bill and the Global Leadership Summit.
On the other hand, like all of us, Bill has blind spots and broken places. The testimony of key women leaders who worked closely with him, and whom we also know and trust, is shedding light on some patterns of sexual misconduct that are deeply concerning. As you can imagine, there is more than enough disappointment, frustration, and hurt to go around for everyone involved, from the women who have been affected, to Bill and his family, and to the Willow Creek community. Because of the high profile and impact of many of the individuals involved, much is at stake, not just for them personally, but also for the kingdom of God.
John Claypool’s axiom—the truth hurts, but only the truth can heal—perhaps has never been more relevant. So, I want to invite you to join Paul and me in praying this prayer for our friends to the north. May God bring true healing and a hopeful redemption to all his children who are caught up in the maelstrom of these circumstances. And, may his good and perfect will quickly prevail.