The departures of Bill Hybels and James MacDonald leave churches waiting for new leadership and hoping to rebuild trust. It’s been 22 months since Bill Hybels resigned from Willow Creek Community Church, and the Chicago-area megachurch—one of the biggest in the country—is still without a senior pastor. The multisite congregation, once celebrated as a model and training ground for Christian leaders, has struggled to transition to steady leadership in the aftermath—leaving the well-being of its eight locations and thousands of congregants at stake as attendance and tithes dip. In the fallout of Hybels’s departure over sexual misconduct allegations, the esteemed…

After months of delays in the process, the church’s interim pastor announces plans to resign. The search for a new leader at Willow Creek Community Church is back to the drawing board. Elders at the suburban Chicago megachurch announced Thursday that they have released the two finalists they were considering for the role of senior pastor from the search process. The elders also announced that acting senior pastor Steve Gillen will step down in March. The church has been without a permanent senior pastor since pastors Heather Larson and Steve Carter resigned in August 2018 as a result of the…

“Dr. B,” an egalitarian leader and mentor to Bill Hybels, continued teaching at church for years after elders learned of his misconduct. Willow Creek Community Church—still grappling with former senior pastor Bill Hybels’ history of alleged sexual harassment and abuse of power—now is dealing with allegations of misconduct against the man who mentored Hybels. A longtime church member shared in a public Facebook post Saturday that Gilbert Bilezikian—known widely as “Dr. B.”—kissed, fondled, and pressured her to have sex with him between 1984 and 1988. “We believe that Dr. B engaged in inappropriate behavior, and the harm he caused was…

“We are sorry,” elder board says as more women claim misconduct. Last night, Willow Creek Community Church made a promise to its members following the early departure of its founder and senior pastor, Bill Hybels. “Even though Bill is no longer in his role, our work to resolve any shadow of doubt in the trustworthiness of [Willow] is not done,” the church’s board of elders told members in a Friday evening letter. “With the benefit of hindsight, we see several aspects of our past work that we would have handled differently, and we have identified several areas of learning.” Last…

Megachurch pastor “accelerates” October retirement weeks after former colleagues went public with misconduct allegations. Bill Hybels has stepped down as senior pastor of Willow Creek Community Church, the Chicago-area megachurch he founded over 40 years ago, citing the controversy over recent allegations against him. Many in the wider Christian community have been confused by those allegations, he said, and the controversy has distracted his church’s leaders from their mission and has hurt the church’s ministries. “They can’t flourish to their fullest potential when the valuable time of our leaders is divided.” Hybels, who previously planned to retire in October, revealed…

John and Nancy Ortberg, others confront megachurch with its own #MeToo moment. “The charges against me are false,” says Hybels of former friends’ “collusion.” When the #MeToo movement arose this past fall, Willow Creek Community Church sprang into action. “If you’ve been sexually harassed or harmed, your pain matters—to us and to God,” the suburban Chicago megachurch posted on its Facebook page, along with details about how to get help. A handful of Willow Creek’s female leaders, including cofounder Lynne Hybels, also joined the Silence Is Not Spiritual campaign, calling on evangelical churches to stand up for women who had…