Hybels denies reports of inappropriate behavior
by Lynde Langdon
Posted 3/23/18, 01:42 pm
The Chicago Tribune, in a lengthy report published Thursday night, accused former megachurch Pastor Bill Hybels of inappropriate behavior toward women. The report states the leadership of Willow Creek Community Church in suburban Chicago investigated the accusations and found them unsubstantiated. Hybels told the Tribune the reports were false and possibly made up to discredit him. “I’m out of explanations,” he said, adding, “I’m so exhausted of hearing so many lies that I’ve stopped playing detective.” Several former church staff members, including Willow Creek’s first female teaching pastor, and others related to the ministry told the newspaper Hybels made suggestive comments, gave long hugs, invited women to his hotel room when his wife was not present, and, in one case, had an extramarital affair. Nancy Ortberg, a Christian author and another former teaching pastor at Willow Creek, and two other former board members said they resigned because they believed the church’s investigation was inadequate. Hybels announced last fall his plan to retire in October 2018 after he transitions his duties to pastors Heather Larson and Steve Carter. Pam Orr, chairwoman of the church’s elder board, defended Hybels in a statement posted Friday on the Willow Creek website: “We have full confidence in Bill’s character, and we look forward to him continuing in his role as Senior Pastor until he transitions as planned in October of this year.” Christianity Today reports the elders also sent an email to church members defending Hybels and announcing a “church family meeting” Friday night at the South Barrington location, where Hybels and the elders will address the accusations in the Tribune article. Hybels founded Willow Creek Community Church in 1975. Today, more than 25,000 people attend worship at its seven locations in the Chicago area, and it provides leadership training to tens of thousands more through the Willow Creek Association.
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