Willow Creek Church Elders to Resign by the End of 2018

UPDATE: In a statement issued at Willow Creek Church tonight, three steps were outlined. All elders of the church will step down by the end of 2018, the church will hire a consultant to assist with governance, and another committee of Christian leaders will conduct an investigation of the allegations of misconduct against Bill Hybels. Also, pastor Heather Larson announced that she is stepping down as a pastor. Essentially, it appears that the entire leadership team is moving aside.

The news of the elders and Ms. Larson stepping down was greeted with loud applause from the members of Willow Creek gathered in the meeting. Also speaking was Steve Gillan who will be the interim pastor during the transition. Gillan is currently pastor of Willow Creek North Shore.

The statements from elder representative Missy Rasmussen, pastor Heather Larson and interim pastor Steve Gillan can be seen in full here.

(Original post)

There are persistent rumblings out of Willow Creek that the elders of the church will resign over their handling of the Bill Hybels situation (for more on this, click here and here) perhaps as soon as tonight.

The elders have been under tremendous pressure due to their response to public and private allegations of misconduct against the former pastor of Willow Creek, Bill Hybels. Many inside and outside the church have questioned their reluctance to initiate an independent investigation of the allegations.

The church’s troubles have come into public view recently due to the start of this year’s Global Leadership Summit tomorrow. Many churches and simulcast hosts have backed out over the allegations. Five speakers including Denzel Washington have pulled out of the conference.

I will update this post as I get new information.

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Photo: By Ianphilpot at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=18726346

25 thoughts on “Willow Creek Church Elders to Resign by the End of 2018”

  1. I can not say that I am surprised about Bill’s fall.
    He passively excused professing Christian President Clinton’s behavior through his monthly ‘mentoring’ years ago as we find now was happening at the same time as his own predatory behavior. (Lewinski affair revealed in news Jan1998, Bill invites worship leader to hotel room in Sweden Feb1998)
    Willow’s mission to reach the unchurched dodged a huge reputation hit and potential exodus when absolutely No media coverage was reported of the regular monthly meetings when the Monica story broke.

    “Bill, did your mentoring meetings with Clinton occur right after Monica’s meetings?. Did you meet her? How did Clinton explain the ongoing adultery to you while simultaneously holding bible studies with you?” Did Clinton seem sincere about following Jesus? Did you suspect he was using you to shield himself from Evangelical scrutiny? Did you ever meet any of the other women Clinton had groomed and subsequently slandered? What did you make of all those stories of untimely deaths of women and protectors of Clinton”

    Many at Willow felt assaulted when they heard, after the fact, that Clinton was given the Willow Creek platform at the 2000 GLS, after vetoing the ban on partial birth abortion, the most horrific violation of innocence humanity has devised.

    Bill seemed to be attempting a rehabilitation effort for Clinton, inviting him to the GLS to cleanse his democrat party candidates of low morals. Look Christians, he’s a bible follower and repenting.
    Bill had given a pass to all sorts of evil the democrats embrace and continue to. No surprise he took after one of their top leaders.

    1. Bill seemed to be attempting a rehabilitation effort for Clinton, inviting him to the GLS to cleanse his democrat party candidates of low morals. Look Christians, he’s a bible follower and repenting.

      Your comment seems unnecessarily partisan considering neither party has been free of members with personal moral failings of this type. Your use of the disparaging epithet “democrat party” (the correct name is the Democratic Party, democrat is a noun, not an adjective) is a stark tell concerning the bias you hold.

      Case in point, your quote above could just as easily be used to describe the nonsense evangelical leaders spouted about Trump before he was elected (baby Christian?). They continue to fawn over him in great numbers – talk about embracing evil. Bill Hybels’ misdeeds stand on their own and do not need to be connected to partisan political conjecture.

      1. lol, that’s your best counter point; my comments seem unnecessarily partisan? lol, OK, That’s because you see party loyalty first rather than ethics/morals, however you may put it.

        Bill Hybels associated himself firmly in democratic circles. He was Bill Clinton’s spiritual adviser for 8 years. He scoffed at republicans or conservatives.

        A couple problems with your equivocation of political parties come to mind.
        One party had they leader, Bill Clinton’s name on over 22 flight logs on the Lolita Express with convicted Pedo Jeffrey Epstein with trips between 2001 and 2003 included extended junkets. That would be after Clinton’s GLS appearance in 2000.
        One party had their leader, Bill Clinton, evade consequences for rape, sexual assault/ harassment charges (Juanita Broaddrick) and was kept in leadership power.

        1. It wasn’t a counterpoint, it was an observation. There is nothing particularly substantive in your comments to refute.

  2. If you don’t want to be part of the solution now is the perfect time to blame the people who caused this. If you don’t want to be part of the solution now is the perfect time to “pause”. If you’re not part of problem right now is the best time to have a hand full of rocks.

    Be better than that problem, chunk rocks, pause, repeat.

    1. What’s the solution? As long as people keep worshipping their so called leaders, who are just dudes, this is going to happen. Also, the model of a church is a joke. No one needs to get paid to give a speech every week about their opinion on their God. A better model would be like an AA meetings or a Quaker meeting.

  3. “The Chicagoland area… desperately need people who will live and act like the Jesus we have taught about for the past 43 years.” – Heather Larson

    Maybe that’s part of the problem with WC – and many other modern churches. There’s plenty of *teaching* about Jesus, but precious little *living* like him.

    1. I don’t know why you would single out the modern churches for this. Traditional churches are plenty problematic, especially those that teach the Beatitudes applies only to your personal relationships with those you know, if they teach them at all.

      1. Tacitus, I referred to modern churches because a) I was alluding to WC and those churches like it (i.e. modern churches), and b) that is where my experience – and therefore my credibility to comment – lies.

  4. A watershed moment and an opportunity, not unlike the aftermath of quoting scripture to justify Roy Moore’s pedophilia or megachurch standing ovations for a sexual predator pastor in Memphis or quoting scripture to justify kidnapping and imprisoning refugee children or revelations of a Russian spy at the National Prayer Breakfast. U.S. White Evangelical Patriarchy is crumbling in real-time.
    Time to dismantle the Global Leadership Summit and replace it with a long-overdue National Repentance Summit.

      1. No point. It would only be added to the Newspeak lexicon — as another name for leadership with the added implication that it be humble leadership, not that it would be in reality.

    1. U.S. White Evangelical Patriarchy is crumbling in real-time.

      From looking at how well that worked out, crumbling sounds like a feature and not a bug 🙂

  5. I really take issue with much of Heather Larson’s statement. (Link to the full statement). Unlike Missy Rasmussen’s statement, Ms. Larson spends much of her time recalling her falling in love, her children, her joy, her ministries…Lots and lots of “I” statements and very little remorse.

    This just is not about Heather Larson. The congregation does not want to be reminded of how charming you are and how many sweet memories you have of the church building.

    The congregation wants to hear you acknowledge that for many people, the years Ms. Larson recalls so fondly were full of much different experiences for far too many people. People were abused, ignored, dismissed, disciplined for trying to tell the truth, despairing and far too long suffering “for the sake of the Gospel”.

    Her statement is an attempt to refocus the meeting on her and her achievements. People who have been hurt to this extent are never comforted by hearing how someone else had a wonderful 20 years at Willow….they want and deserve to hear total brokenness & the acknowledgement that all the wonderful things that Ms. Larson recalls so fondly were bought at a terrible price.

    The miraculous gift of Christ is never never to be bought at such a price. whatever else may have occurred at Willow Creek in the last decades is ultimately wood, hay & stubble.

    This is a tragedy that calls only for grief and remorse.

    1. These are all common signs of a narcissist. We need to stop being so ignorant about covert narcissism in The Church. This is how wolves find positions of power, because we are too ignorant to tell the difference between good and evil.

    2. Yeah, the statement from the Elders at least approached what I could hope for, in at least addressing the fact that they screwed up monumentally. But you compare that to Larson’s statement, and hers is just pathetic in not even really addressing the fact that she did wrong.

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