Episode 034: Reflections on Willow Creek

For this conversation, we discuss the situation at Willow Creek and how this should cause us to reflect and pay attention in a deeper way.

 

This situation should cause us to reflect and pay attention in a deeper way…

 

There are three groups of people here: the victims, the congregation, and Bill and the leadership—it’s important to separate those groups of people, and each group needs special attention…

 

But it starts first with those who were violated… those victims need to be listened to and given every opportunity to heal… they need our primary attention…

 

The first thing the new leadership must do is re-establish trust and credibility, or they won’t be able to help anyone… they need to slow down and simplify…

 

At New Life [after our crises], we cleared our calendars, stopped doing outside events, and became a church family again… for us, it was about prayer, worship, Scripture, and sacraments…

 

What I would say to Willow Creek is that you don’t know how hurt you are right now… take some time, take a deep breath, and do a full evaluation before you move ahead…

 

There are some systemic problems in the American church culture… number one: pastors are not designed or called by God to be celebrities… the moment we embrace a celebrity culture in the church we are headed for a train wreck… it has to stop…

 

We have a lot of orphans that are leading churches who haven’t learned how to be sons and daughters… you can’t be a mom or a dad before you’ve been a son or a daughter… in the church, we’ve skipped this step…

 

If your first thought is “We have to protect the church” you are in huge error… the call is not to protect the institution but to help people get healed… Jesus was not interested in guarding the religious institutions of his day, he was interested in bringing healing… if it cost the institution, then so be it…

 

If you think about the parable of the lost sheep, the 99 represented the economic good of the shepherd… Jesus was willing to risk the institution of the 99 for the sake of the one… if Jesus is the Head of the church, he is capable of sustaining the church when there is bad news…

 

The Lord brought Willow into existence and he is going to bring it back to a place of fruitfulness, so let’s pray and speak blessing over them…

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