Bill Hybel’s Wake-Up Call at Willow Creek

At the recent Leadership Summit held at Willow Creek‘s main campus, Bill Hybels described some survey results with reference to Willow Creek as the wake-up call of his adult life. If you haven’t watched this already, I’d strongly encourage you to watch Bill Hybels in this eleven-minute video clip.

This weekend Willow Creek’s services are titled “Imagine Impact: Reveal Research” with Bill Hybels and his executive pastor, Greg Hawkins, speaking. We visited this evening and perceived a striking dissimilarity in tone from the video clip above. (That is surely due to the audience change, i.e., at the Leadership Summit he addressed leaders in a non-church setting, but tonight he addressed lay people in a church meeting.) At the end of this evening’s presentation, Hybels casually mentioned that his message at the Leadership Summit had caused a lot of reactions on the Internet and that he had decided not to respond to them via that media. Tonight he briefly responded by arguing unapologetically that Willow Creek prides itself in being honest and willing to admit when it has a bad idea. He insisted, however, that their fundamental philosophy remains unchanged.

(I’ll link to the weekend presentation if it becomes available here.)

Related: “A Sunday Morning at Willow Creek

Update: Scot McKnight, who attends Willow Creek, comments on “Willow’s Reveal Study.”


  1. says

    Hi, Andy. Thanks for the post. This whole development is pretty fascinating. Could you elaborate on the strikingly dissimilar “tone” you noticed last night? Thanks.

  2. says

    Sure, A. J.

    1. At the Leadership Conference, the tone was something like this: “The results of this survey rocked my world and were the wake-up call of my adult life. This is unbelievable. The level one category (unchurched) is most satisfied with our church, and the level four category (most mature) is least satisfied. Where did we go wrong?!”

    2. Last night, the tone was something like this: “Hey, we took this survey, and the results are pretty cool. Consequently, we’re going to focus more on coaching you to take the next step because that’s what you want and you matter.”

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