As the Willow Creek saga unravels further one of the most disturbing parts is the deafening silence of Bill Hybels himself – its as if he has vanished off the planet.
With 10 women making statements against him and the entire eldership and two senior pastors resigning there seems no question that tragically – sadly – he is guilty, and we may have heard just the tip of the iceberg.
The longer Hybels waits to come clean the worse he will be perceived – if that is possible. The opportunity to be perceived as a failed leader / a broken man has passed. If he had owned the failure we would all have been deeply disappointed, but acknowledged ‘there but for the grace of God…’
As time wears on you hope Hybels isn’t gathering a ‘spin’ team to either fight the accusations or to downplay them. That would be the worst scenario imaginable but right now, the longer the silence the less genuine any (possible) repentance appears.
While I’m not a megachurch fanboy I have found Hybels missionary heart inspiring and his teachings on integrity (Who You Are When No One is Looking) felt so valuable… albeit dissonant with his own practice… so watching this very public schmozzle has been actually distressing.
I love that churches are full of broken, screwed up people – that God’s love for us never changes in spite of our own darkness – but when we fail to acknowledge our brokenness and when we put on an air of togetherness we set the cause of Christ back and we wound the very people we claimed to champion.
Come on Bill… The clock is ticking… and many are watching to see if you can practice what you preach in the tough parts of life.
Willow Creek…? I think it is now all up, Sh*t Creek.
Big Money and the things of God don’t mix.
Marketing principles and the things of God. It’s also a dangerous mix.
“Avoid as you would the plague the clergyman who is also the man of Business”
– St Jerome.
Another thought – I also wonder if the fall of WC/Bill Hybels is of more or less impact than the fall of Brian McLaren into the liberal progressive movement.
Megachurch, emerging church, local church – all not immune to temptation, hard-heartedness and failure.
I’d like to think he’s in hiding because he can’t face the consequences right now, but someone with the front to lead an organisation that size & shape probably doesn’t do ‘hiding’. But it *sounds* like the stuff built around him is crumbling away, and he may also noit have so many places to turn if others close to him have also been caught up in the flying faeces.
“I love that churches are full of broken, screwed up people – that God’s love for us never changes in spite of our own darkness – but when we fail to acknowledge our brokenness and when we put on an air of togetherness we set the cause of Christ back and we wound the very people we claimed to champion.”
One of the things I have found most disappointing in 40 years of trying to be a Christian is that my ‘redeemed behaviour’ seems almost entirely dependent on me and my efforts. I’ve known the need to behave differently and have tried to walk the talk. But I also find that if I slack off for a moment then the old man is back. Yes, I can put on being ‘good’ like a cloak, but also like a cloak, if I don’t hold onto it then it just slips away. Is God there, changing me from glory into glory, or am I just guilting myself into doing the Christian stuff out of hope and social pressure?
So I hate that churches are full of broken, screwed up people, because there should be change and growth, and so often it doesn’t feel like that’s happened.
Yes – I hear that tension.
I guess I hope that we are all becoming slowly more Christlike even we are still broken.
Appreciate the thoughts