Amid Scandal, the Global Leadership Summit Continues to Shrink

UPDATE: Just this morning, Willow Creek has deleted two more sites. I suspect this will continue through the beginning of the conference.

As the beginning of Willow Creek Association’s Global Leadership Summit nears, the number of host sites continues to decline. Despite the promotion of 600 sites on the conference website, a count of the number of publicly available sites has now fallen to 485. According to Willow Creek Association, there are additional private sites and some in prisons. However, for people wanting to sign up for the GLS, the number of options continues to decrease as the conference draws near.

Willow Creek Association continues to say that only 111 host sites have dropped out over the sexual misconduct allegations against Bill Hybels (e.g., to Christianity Today). However, a check of the sites posted on the GLS website indicates that more sites have dropped since I last checked.  At the beginning of 2018, Willow Creek promoted the GLS with claims of 700 host sites for the conference simulcast.

Leadership Reset

Sometimes in leadership, a leader must lead by not leading. What I mean is that followers simply won’t follow under some circumstances. I believe Willow Creek leaders are now in that position. I don’t think it matters what they do, they are compromised and their best leadership move is to step down. They may not believe it is fair and they may believe they have done their best. Nonetheless, the perception is that the situation is getting worse and that a reset is needed.

The GLS will be tainted by the Hybels’ controversy and the failure to handle it properly. Much of what is presented in the sessions will be compared to what has happened at Willow Creek. Maybe I’m wrong, but I sense that a situation is being set up where it will seem that the GLS speakers will talk about leadership without actually leading.

Christianity Today on Willow Creek and GLS

New York Times Sunday article with new allegations against Hybels which he denies.

Scot McKnight’s response to Willow Creek.

Like this article and want to see more like it? Support this blog at

Subscribe to receive notification of new posts.

Photo: By Ianphilpot at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0,