Bill Hybels was the senior pastor of Willow Creek Community Church, a megachurch in South Barrington.
Hybels is also a bestselling author with over 20 books, including – Becoming a Contagious Christian, Too Busy Not to Pray, Courageous Leadership, The Volunteer Revolution, Just Walk Across the Room, Holy Discontent, and Axiom.
He was born on December 12, 1951, in Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA.
Bill received a bachelor’s degree in Biblical Studies from Trinity International University.
Willow Creek Community Church
Hybels founded Willow Creek Community Church on October 12, 1975.
Two years after its foundation, the church had grown to 2,000.
In 1981, Willow Creek Community Church moved to its current location in South Barrington.
The church is one of the most heavily attended churches in the United States with more than 24,000 people attending on average.
At the start of 2018, the evangelical Christian megachurch in the Chicago suburbs had been hit by allegations of sexual misconduct against Bill.
According to the Chicago Tribune, a group of former staff members and pastors has accused Bill of a pattern of sexual harassment. It was written that Bill made invitations to a staff member to hotel rooms, an unwanted kiss, extended hugs, and suggestive comments.
The group includes Leanne Mellado, a former staff member who is married to Santiago “Jim” Mellado (served as President of the Willow Creek Association) as well as John and Nancy Ortberg, longtime friends of Bill and Lynne Hybel and former teaching pastors at Willow Creek Community Church.
In April 2018, Bill resigned from his position as pastor at the church. He called the sexual accusations ‘flat-out lies.’
Bill also said that his former friends are trying to collude against him.
During an interview, he explained:
“This has been a calculated and continual attack on our elders and on me for four long years. It’s time that gets identified.”
Hybels went on to say:
“I want to speak to all the people around the country that have been misled … for the past four years and tell them in my voice, in as strong a voice as you’ll allow me to tell it, that the charges against me are false.”
Bill later added:
”There still to this day is not evidence of misconduct on my part.”
On May 9, 2018, the Willow Creek Board of Elders released a statement which indicated that the Board:
“[does] not believe the stories were all lies or that all the [accusers] were colluding against him.”
In August 2018, Pastor Heather Larson also resigned from her position. In addition, the entire elder board of the church resigned.
Heather Larson said:
“In recent days and weeks, it has become clear to me that this church needs a fresh start.”
Heather also said:
“The staff, this staff that I dearly love, they also need a clean running lane to heal, to build, to dream.”
In March 2019, The Washington Post reported that a 6-month independent review by 4 evangelical leaders found the misconduct allegations against Bill to be credible.
Steve Gillen, lead pastor of Willow Creek’s North Shore campus, will serve as interim pastor.
Bill Hybels got married to Lynne in 1974.
The couple has two children.
Some of his published books are:
- The Power of a Whisper: Hearing God, Having the Guts to Respond;
- Too Busy Not to Pray: Slowing down to Be with God;
- Simplify: Ten Practices to Unclutter Your Soul;
- Becoming a Contagious Christian Participant’s Guide.
He also wrote – ”Fit to Be Tied: Making Marriage Last a Lifetime” (with his wife).
Lynne said about the book:
“Bill and I wrote this book twenty-five years ago out of the struggle of our own marriage.”
Lynne also said:
”But the truth is: The lessons we learned and shared in that book have proven to keep us connected to one another, to our kids and to God for over forty years.”
In 2018, following allegations of misconduct, two publishers have suspended reprinting or publishing books by Hybels.
”Confession is probably the most neglected area of personal prayer.”
”Developing prayer fitness is similar to developing physical fitness: we must follow a pattern in order to stay balanced.”
”God isn’t interested in stock phrases. Talk to him. Talk to the Father sincerely.”
”Don’t ask God to bless junk food and miraculously transform it so that it has nutritional value. That’s not how God works.”
”Our spirits, like our bodies, have requirements for health and growth. Some people don’t want to pay the price of developing good spiritual habits.”
”The idea that God doesn’t care about his children is rooted in a lie, plain and simple.”
”Perfect peace comes only through relating with the Peacemaker himself.”
In 1995, Bill started the Global Leadership Summit as an annual training event for ministry, church, and other leaders to improve their skills.
Around the time of the Monica Lewinsky scandal, Hybels was a spiritual adviser to President Bill Clinton.
On July 1, 2010, Bill introduced President Barack Obama for a speech on immigration reform.
Bill Hybels – Net Worth
Hybels earned most of his wealth from being the founder of Willow Creek Community Church. In 1987, his salary was capped at $87,000 per year to avoid criticism. Later, his salary was raised to $95,000. In addition, the church paid for his car. Also, he received a $20,000 housing allowance.
Moreover, Bill is the author of many Christian books, that sell very good, especially on Amazon. For example, his book – ”Too Busy Not to Pray,” has sold over one million copies. He also has a private jet and a luxury yacht. Therefore, Bill Hybels has an estimated net worth of $40 million.
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