People will no doubt go round and round for the rest of all time about guilt or innocence of Bill Heybels, lead pastor of Willow Creek Community Church in Chicago. We have been extremely close to the leadership of Willow Creek church over the past 25yrs. We love them deeply. We hurt with them and for them.
I have thought long and hard, as you probably know, about the #metoo movement within the context of church culture.
Sexual impropriety is a part of human nature. Just because someone is in church leadership doesn’t exempt them from being a part of what the rest of the world is drawing attention to.
I absolutely have been treated in the most respectful manor by 90% of men I have known in church leadership over the years.
Working and living close to the center of the circle of church staff leadership for 30yrs, I can say without shame or doubt that absolutely sexual harassment has happened in just about every church I’ve ever been a part of.
Nothing turns my stomach more than when I hear about a pastors or church leaders messing up. It’s just awful and sad. I’ve seen time & again what happens to the accused, their spouse, their & children—So incredibly devastating for everyone involved.
With that said, know how firmly I believe that PASTORS ARE PEOPLE TOO! They are imperfect just like you and I. They make mistakes. Give grace, give hope to them and their families. Give them privacy and space to heal.
Because they are not super human as many might think, please, please, hold them accountable just as anyone else you might care or worry about.
Love people who mess up. Don’t gossip. Don’t gossip about people that write or talk about their #metoo experiences within the walls of the church or out. Nothing is more hurtful to a victim than to be shamed for sharing their experience.
Peace to You