Bill Hybels Responds


Over the last year I have read post after post about Willow Creek’s new “shift” in ministry. Yes, they are going through changes. Yes, they are evaluating. Yes, they are recognizing successes and failures.

The interesting thing was in the midst of all of this, we started to hear people bash Willow. Basically pointing a finger and saying “we told you so”. Every time I read these kind of articles, I was confused. I couldn’t figure out where these people were getting ther info and why they were convinced they new anything about what Willow Creek was actually doing.

Today Bill Hybels released a short video answering some of the questions. Responding to some of the statements that have been made. And in my opinion redirecting people to who Willow Creek was, is and will always be. He took some time to set the record straight.

Take a moment and check out the video

Bill Hybels Responds


23 Responses to “Bill Hybels Responds”

  1. Man, thanks for pointing us to that. Great interview. I was never worried about Willow or Bill or anything associated with them, but it was cool to hear him address some of the things said about them. Thanks!

  2. 2 Tyler

    i dont know that there is a lot to argue with there. solid video. took on the real questions with good answers.

  3. Casey, I was never worried either.

    Tyler, Hybels has never had anything to hide. Their ministry and approach has always been simple. It was just a shame that some were intent on taking it somewhere it never needed to be.

  4. 4 tawny

    Thanks for sharing that. I have never seen Bill before, just read his books. 🙂

  5. I’ve always liked Hybels and I totally buy in to what they’ve been doing at willow for years. I think it’s amazing that they have the guts to continue to evaluate what they are doing and how effective it is.

    Hey, wow I just realized we haven’t traded links!

  6. Tawny, he is a great guy. I’ve had the privilege of hearing him live a couple of times and he is very simple, low key and honest. He reminds me a lot of my Dad.

  7. Russ, we were commenting at the same time:)

    I’ll get your link up today!

  8. Yeah, I’ve heard Bill live and read a couple of his books. He definitely has a heart for Christ. I respect him and his ministry.

    The internet / YouTube / blogs have change the face of communications. When we admit that we need to change our focus to better meet the needs today’s congregation and community, it gets picked up and twisted to sell magazines, news papers, blog hits, etc…

    All ministry adapts and changes to the changing needs of those to whom they’re ministering. Recycling a 30 year-old approach that resonated well with my parents will probably fall flat. Does that mean that approach was a mistake? You won’t be able to convince any of the 1000’s who came to Christ through that ministry that it was a mistake.

  9. 9 alex

    Thanks for the good find and share brother!

  10. Here is my stance.

    We see a lot of “my ministry focuses on …”.

    Like Hybels on Seeker-driven, Osteen on encouragement, Emergent on social justice, etc., etc.

    But, whether taken out of context or not, is preception of the focus and redirection towards God and God alone.

    I was listening to an Osteen sermon the other day and something dawned on me: if I preached, my sermons will sound nearly exactly like Osteen.

    But with one clear exception: yes, that God does bless. That God does protect. God does all these things. But He cannot and will not do these things with the breaking of yourself at the foot of His throne and without putting God absolute first in your life.

    We are certain princes and princesses of the Most High God but only when we fully submit to our loving Saviour, King and Lord.

    Only when we are died and then born again, may we enter in the kingdom of God that is being restored on this earth as we speak.

    Everybody can keep preaching the way they are called to do. I would like to see a bigger, more incredible emphasis towards pointing people to God and letting God speak to them. Letting God be their teacher. Letting God be their wisdom and truth.

    Letting God be God. Let Him be glorified for what He does best: be good.

  11. Ric, I agree. What Willow is focusing on is there process of discipling the believer. The process always changes, but the vision hardly does. There vision is still as he said “trying to turn irreligious people into fully-devoted followers of Christ”. That will never change, but the process most definitely will be evaluated and worked on forever.

    Alex, Thanks.

    Joe, Amen! we have to keep the focus on God, even more Jesus at all times. Whatever the vision, process or procedure, it is nothing if it doesn’t draw people to Him.

  12. 12 TheNorEaster

    Interesting. He is changing because the culture has changed in the last thirty years, like he mentioned between the seekers of the 70s and the seekers of today. He is not, that I have seen, standing up there and dictating foreign policy to the state department or some sort of God-knew-you-were-going-to-buy-this-book purpose-driven ministry.

    I don’t see what the problem is.

  13. 13 tawny

    These are some very cool comments. Brent, your dad seems very nice, I like him. I agree with Joe, and I think if all of us truly put God first, He will call us all to different jobs and passions. (All His though) I am excited because it seems the Church (big Church) is starting to appreciate the different parts of the body instead of trying to amputate each other. 🙂

  14. 14 mosesonmissions

    Thanks. I am glad I came across and the link to the video this to hear more about Willow Creek.

  15. Noreaster, I agree I don’t see what the problem is either. I think the end of your statement is interesting though. Seems you’ve alluded to Warren and Saddleback. In my opinion they are ones, like Hybels and Willow, that too often get mistreated and bashed.

    Tawny, I sure hope so!

    Hey Mosesonmissions, glad this was helpful.

  16. 16 patpoop

    thanks for the info. visit mine! :]

  17. 17 Matt

    It was a good interview in terms of questions, but he didn’t say anything new really. As a pastor of a large church you can’t focus on other people’s criticisms of your ministry. I don’t regularly attend Willow Creek, but I was surprised during my last visit the message was more biblically centered than previous sermons I heard.

    I think Osteen is a popular preacher, but I do not hear much of the Bible on his show. It was Jesus who said, “Repent or perish” and I don’t think that message is heard in a lot of churches.

  18. Brent,
    As I said on Tony Morgan’s blog, I applaud them.
    1 – for evaluating, and saying “some of this doesn’t work”. I mean, who “REALLY” does that kind of intense evaluation when you SEEM to SUCCESSFUL and keep growing?

    2 – for walking in love WHILE people bashed them
    3 – for coming out and setting the record straight, publicly.

    Kudos to Willow Creek. I’ll be there next week @ the Arise Arts Conference, and I can’t wait!

  19. patpoop, visit your what? You didn’t sign in with a link to your blog.

    Matt, Thanks for stopping by and getting involved. I’ve had the chance to participate in services at Willow. The first time I went I went expecting to hear watered a down gospel and not much substance, cause that’s what everyone said I’d hear. I was pleasantly surprised when I heard a great gospel message and a wonderful sermon with a ton of application to my Christian life. Besides that Hybels is full of Biblical truth and wisdom in his books and teachings. I really appreciate what he and willow are doing. Hey do you have a blog?

    Fred, I agree. Dude I’m jealous, I wish we could e with you next week. Tam and I were there last year and it was amazing!

  20. 20 Matt

    Yes, I do have a blog, it’s a general one about faith and media here and I have a Christian music blog here.

    There are good things and bad things about Willow Creek (I won’t go into detail) just like there are about other large churches. Christian folks tend to be afraid of being critical because critical thinking and criticism are not encouraged or generally considered acceptable (If you don’t have something nice to say don’t say anything at all). I think people tend to polarize in their opinions about ministries. It’s just like the reviews on, either a ministry is the greatest ever or the ministry is evil. I try to be honest and fair without being judgmental. I’m not sure I always succeed at that, but I’m trying.

  21. Matt, sorry your comment was stuck in spam.

    “There are good things and bad things about Willow Creek (I won’t go into detail) just like there are about other large churches.”

    I am assuming you meant any church here…not just large churches. Cause as long as their are people involved, there are issues.

    I agree with your thoughts on polarizing. Popular is popular. People live in opinion. I would hope people base their opinions on fact, but people don’t.

    However, I have no issue with questioning, but criticism is a different boat. Generally criticism comes from people who have strong opinions, but not much fact. The reality is that if I have an issue with something I see at another church, I have the right to question and get the info and then possibly challenge that church or leadership with my thoughts. But I have no right to criticize a church that I don’t attend and know very little about.

    In Willow’s case, I have heard lots from both sides, but I have learned very little except from what Hybels or other leaders have said. That is the only info I can go on. I’ve studied their model of ministry, I’ve read through their reveal stuff. I highly respect Hybels books on integrity and leadership. That’s what I do know. I have attended the church and participated in their service. That I do know. Even in all of that, I can only respond to what I know. I have a huge respect for them and what they are doing, based on what I know. However as things come up that I think are strange or inappropriate, I will do my best to question, but I will not criticize. Edification is all about building up. Not tearing down.

  22. 22 Libby Darden

    This was a phenomenal relief. After a while you start to wonder if any of the negative stuff has a tinge of truth to it. Hearing Bill deny all this stuff and affirm that Willow is not going nuts was very comforting to me. This ministry has been rock solid for more than three decades. Why think that they’re suddenly going to be led astray now? This was great stuff.

  23. Libby I am glad it was beneficial to you. I have heard all the noise lately, but truly didn’t see any basis for the concern. I am glad Hybel’s spoke to this as well. I think it was time for it and he did it appropriately.

    Thanks for coming by!

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