Thursday, April 12, 2018

Founder of Willow Creek Community Church - Who is Opening a Location in the Sloop - Steps Down Amid Allegations of Inappropriate Behavior with Women

The Rev. Bill Hybels, founder of the Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington,
delivers a Sunday sermon on July 14, 1985. (via Tribune)
Earlier this year we posted about Willow Creek Church taking over a pretty big building on South State Street (1319-1347 S State Street).  At the time we were surprised that a church could just plop themselves in such a big space, but upon reading more about Willow Creek Community Church we realize it's a pretty big enterprise.

The church's founder just resigned amid allegations from various women (via Chicago Tribune):
Forty-two years after founding one of the nation’s most influential evangelical megachurches, the Rev. Bill Hybels told his congregation Tuesday night that he would step down from the helm of Willow Creek Community Church six months ahead of schedule.
His departure comes less than a month after a Chicago Tribune investigation disclosed that Hybels had been the subject of inquiries by church leaders into claims that he ran afoul of church teachings by engaging in inappropriate behavior with women in his congregation — including employees — allegedly spanning decades. The inquiries had cleared Hybels.

It will be interesting to see if this affects anything with the South Loop location - our guess is no, but we will see.

The Tribune article goes onto explain legacy with regard to the development of the church:
Hybels’ resignation marks the end of a remarkable ascent in evangelical circles as he grew Willow Creek from a group of zealous 20-somethings inside a Palatine movie theater to one of the largest megachurches in the U.S.
From the beginning, he affirmed women in leadership, tapping them to serve as elders, key volunteers and teaching pastors.

In 1992, Hybels expanded Willow’s reach around the world by establishing the Willow Creek Association, a network of more than 11,000 churches worldwide that share Willow’s core philosophies. He also served as a spiritual adviser to President Bill Clinton around the time of the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

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