In my life I have sought many mentors. We need human leaders who challenge us, inspire us, call us to serve Jesus to our capacity.
Every now and then there are those leaders who have been given 10 talents. They don’t hide anything in the soil, faith and risk are their companions as they believe in Jesus for more.
Bill Hybels was one of those leaders, a generational pastor who challenged us all that the local church was the hope of the world. I read his books, went to conferences at his church, invested money in my own development because of his example and words. None of that was wasted. So much of his teaching remains in my heart.
Yet my heart is broken.
I was reading the story of Samson this week and was incredulous at why God would anoint and pour His Spirits power upon Samson. He was empowered and gifted to do incredible acts of strength. Yet when we read about him we find a man easily influenced and manipulated by his base desires.
It is clear to me that when ten women accuse you of similar acts that there is an ungodly pattern and behaviour in your life. It is also clear to me that when you have built such a wonderful testament to Gods power and changed lives, in the midst of such ‘success’, that proper accountability may not be enforced.
Where do we proceed? The women involved need a clear and unequivocal apology. The church, and by that I mean us all, owe them our regret and sorrow that they were not listened to. That the success of one man allowed their voices to be unheard.
Willow Creek Church board have all resigned, along with Lead Pastor Heather Larson and teaching Pastor Steve Carter. I know Steve personally and am saddened that he has been caught up in the wave of protecting Bill. However I support his integrity in stepping down. Heather appears so gifted and in these moments it seems to me the Church has so much beauty. In repentance, godly sorrow and looking to a new day. I pray the women involved feel some sort of peace and hope for the future. (Story) (Church Leaders Statement)
As a Pastor I have seen the good that GLS and Willow Creek has done. It champions women leaders and pastors. Bill and his team have unapologetically championed fairness and kindness to all. In fact last years GLS started with this emphasis on kindness. GLS has brought Godly wisdom, knowledge and understanding together in a brilliant package.
I hope that this can continue. Our churches, our businesses, our education, our families…..all need godly leadership. It was never built on one man, it was built on the power of the Holy Spirit.