Changes at Willow
We had sad news from Chicago yesterday that Bill Hybels has brought forward his retirement, which was planned for later in the year, into immediate effect.
Our dear friend Gary Schwammlein, leader of WCA for many years, sends this greeting and helpful perspective:
Dear Ministry Partners,
Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice (Phil. 4:4). On one hand, I have much to rejoice because my grandson Peter made it through a very challenging period in his recovery from Chemo treatment, but it’s also a very sad day and many of you will grieve with me as a result of the developments announced below. Church staff, the elders, the board and the leadership team of the WCA have worked tirelessly to find a solution that would have had a different outcome. God saw it differently and may his will be done.
We all knew this day would come, but not now and not as abruptly. Bill has stepped back from his position at church and the leadership of the GLS. This decision was under discussion for a while and very recent developments have only confirmed the wisdom and prudence of this decision. While this is all utterly sad, deeply regrettable and painful, with Bill’s help we have started making arrangements that will deliver a GLS of the level of excellence expected. While we are grieving at the pain this development has caused many people, let us also look forward in great faith trusting God for the continuing impact that the GLS will have around the world.
We know that there are many people who are incredibly grateful to Bill Hybels and would echo Gary’s sentiments. If you would like to send a personal note directly to Bill an email address has been provided: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gary Schwammlein has invited questions and comments so please do send them to us. If you would like to speak to someone from WCA please don’t hesitate to contact us in Southampton.
In addition to Gary’s message, below is the official statement from Dick DeVos, the new WCA Chair and the WCA President Tom De Vries.
We will keep you up to date on any further developments for the GLS in the coming weeks. As stated, we resolve to deliver an excellent GLS 2018 that will serve the local church well here in the UK and Ireland.
WCA UK & Ireland
Chairman of the Board UK & Ireland
Message from Dick DeVos, WCA Board Chair, and Tom De Vries, WCA President.
Tonight, we have some important news.
As we are sending this email, Bill Hybels and leaders from Willow Creek Community Church are hosting a church family meeting in South Barrington, IL.
Since part of Bill’s announcement involves Willow Creek Association, we want to communicate with you as quickly as possible.
You may be aware that there has been recent controversy surrounding Bill and several former staff members. During the regularly scheduled WCA board meeting on April 4, Bill decided that it would be best for him to step off the Board, and after discussion and prayer it was agreed upon together. In addition, the decision was made that Bill will step aside from his usual teaching and hosting roles for the 2018 Global Leadership Summit. Bill remains dedicated to the purpose and mission of WCA, but he understands that his leadership and participation in the 2018 Summit has become a significant distraction.
Additionally, he has accelerated his planned retirement date as Senior Pastor of Willow Creek Community Church from October of this year to tonight, April 10, 2018. We support Bill in this season of reflection.
Our commitment to you is to deliver the best possible 2018 Summit experience. With your continued support and partnership, we look forward to discovering how God will work and expand the Kingdom through the world-wide impact of the Summit.
On Behalf of the WCA Board
Tom De Vries
President, Willow Creek Association
The Global Leadership Summit