According to blogger and Willow Creek church member Rob Speight, the leaders of the Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit (August 9-10) have promised to give 10 minutes at the beginning of the conference to a “live acknowledgement” of the Bill Hybels controversy. Here is a beginning of Speight’s post:
I have become aware of some disturbing news about the Global Leadership Summit (GLS) 2018, and how it will be kicked off.
The WCA has made the decision to make a “live acknowledgement” approximately 10 minutes prior to Session #1 on August 9, 2018. The webinar that described this announcement was directed to the host site producers and tech staff of the GLS.
The Summit is God’s Event
By way of introduction, the following statement was made on the webinar:
“First off, the Summit is God’s event. It’s always been God’s event, not about one person. So it’s not something that we felt the ministry had to pause for a year.”
This statement is fraught with troublesome issues. Several inferences are obvious:
The WCA is reassuring the host sites that remain that they are participating in an event that belongs to God.
At the same time, the WCA implies that the host sites that have pulled out of the GLS have made a mistake by choosing to not participate in this event because it belongs to God.
By ascribing God’s name to and ownership of the GLS, one is not permitted to argue against it. It compares to the age old dilemma posed by “that” friend who would say to you, “God told me . . . (and then fill in the blank).“
If God told that person something, then the conversation ends. One can’t debate or question that which is of God.
The WCA falsely concludes that because the GLS belongs to God, they must automatically hold the event this year.
It could well be argued that if indeed the GLS is God’s event, the WCA ought to hit the pause button this year! After all, God is the Defender of the oppressed. The women have been oppressed at the hands of the powerful.
First, by Bill Hybels, and more recently by the leadership of Willow Creek. Until the truth is revealed regarding the women’s claims, would it not be wise for the WCA to err on the side of caution and on behalf of the women who claim personal violation?
It is technically true that the GLS is “not about one person.” But:
○ That one person originated the GLS.
○ That one person traveled the world representing the GLS.
○ That one person was the face of the GLS.
○ That one person was looked to by all other WCA senior leadership to give them their marching orders.
○ That one person raised untold millions of dollars for the WCA and GLS.
○ That one person’s own star power attracted other stars to participate in the GLS.
○ It is this same one person’s inappropriate conduct (while traveling globally on behalf of the WCA & GLS) with women (not his wife) that is at the center of the biggest scandal in the 26 year history of this iconic ministry.
It seems obvious that Willow Creek leaders presided over a massive failure of leadership. To put on a leadership meeting and think that a 10 minute acknowledgement will address the issues is another sign that the leaders need to be taught not teach.
Go read the rest of Speight’s piece here.
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Image: Fair use from https://www.willowcreek.com/events/leadership/index2.html