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.
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