Bill Hybels Biography, Age, Wife, Yacht, Willow Creek Church, Misconduct allegations and resignation


Bill Hybels Biography

Bill Hybels is an American church figure and author. He is the founding and former senior pastor of Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, Illinois, and the church is one of the most attended churches in North America, with an average attendance of nearly 24,000.

He is the founder of the Willow Creek Association and creator of the Global Leadership Summit. Hybels is also an author of a number of Christian books, especially on the subject of Christian leadership. Previously slated to step down in October 2018, Hybels retired early after allegations of sexual misconduct were made against him, though he has denied all allegations.

A six-month-long independent review found the allegations to be credible. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Biblical Studies from Trinity International University, near Chicago, as well as an honorary Doctorate of Divinity from TIU’s Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. In 2006 he was an interview with the Chicago Tribune, whereby he pointed out his experience at a Wisconsin summer camp as a teenager that crystallized his understanding and personal embrace of Christian belief.

Bill Hybels Education

Bill Hybels holds a bachelor’s degree in Biblical Studies from Trinity International University, near Chicago, and an honorary Doctorate of Divinity from TIU’s Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.

Bill Hybels Willow Creek 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. Hybels got attracted by the vision and abandoned his business aspirations for ministry. The church is one of the most heavily attended churches in the United States with more than 24,000 people attending on average.

He then began a youth group with his friend Dave Holmbo called Son City in 1971 as he served as the youth pastor at Park Ridge’s South Park Church. Modern music, dramatic skits, and multimedia were joined with Bible studies in the relevant language, and the group grew from 25 to 1,200 in just three years.

After Bill realized that 300 youth waited in line to be led to Christ in service in May 1974, he and other leaders started dreaming of creating a new church. They investigated in the community to find out why people weren’t coming to church. Some of the answers include: “church is boring”, “they’re always asking for money”, or “I don’t like being preached down to.”

These answers directed the group’s approach to the new church. The group started its first service on October 12, 1975, in Palatine’s Willow Creek Theater and one hundred and twenty-five people attended the service. The rent and other costs were paid for with 1,200 baskets of tomatoes, sold door-to-door by 100 youths.

Hybels spoke on “New Beginnings” and within two years, the church had grown to 2,000. Many challenges in 1979 led to a recommissioning of the church’s vision to be broader and deeper than before. Hybels asked for pardon, for the example of his relentless schedule and overemphasis on grace.

We’ve set up all our leadership structures and goals to grow a full functioning Acts 2 community, as opposed to an evangelizing machine that doesn’t drive the roots down deep and do all the other things it’s supposed to do. The church relocated to its current location in South Barrington in 1981.

By the year 2000, six services were being held every weekend for 15,000 attendees in a 352,000-square-foot (32,700 m2) building and a new Worship center was opened in 2004. The state-of-the-art auditorium is one of the largest theaters in the United States with a capacity of more than 7,000. The church has an average of 24,000 attendees per week, making it the third-largest church in America.

The Willow Creek Community Church has also become a well known prototypical megachurch, with present time worship, drama, and messages focused toward both Christians and those exploring the Christian faith.

Later, Willow Creek’s three-weekend services were more “seeker-sensitive”, but have since become less so, since the “Reveal Study” which showed members wishing for a deeper dive focused on scripture and spiritual growth.

Willow brought an even deeper dive into scripture in September 2011 by promoting Shane Farmer as Discipleship Director and having him lead the Mid-week experience, meeting on Wednesday evenings. After Shane re-located to another location, Dr. Gary Burge of Wheaton College taught at the Midweek services until 2017. Hybels introduced President Obama for a speech on immigration reform on July 1, 2010.

Bill Hybels Age

Hybels was born on 12 December 1951 in Kalamazoo, Michigan, United States. He celebrates his birthday on 12 December every year. He is 68 years old as of 2019.

Bill Hybels Family

Hybel’s father was an entrepreneur in wholesale produce whose work ethic was the model for his son.

 Wife 

Bill Hybels married his wife in 1974 when Bill was a youth pastor. Some sources say that they dated for five years, broke up, got engaged then broke their engagement and later got back together and finally got married. They have two children: a daughter by the name, Shauna Niequist and a son, Toddy Hybels.

Bill Hybels Daughter

The former Willow Creek Community Church pastor’s daughter is Shauna Niequist who was born in Barrington, Illinois. Shauna studied English and French literature at Westmont College in Santa Barbara. She is an author and a blogger. She is married to Aaron Niequist and is a sister to Toddy Hybels.

Bill Hybels Body Measurements

  • Height: Not Available
  • Weight: Not Available
  • Shoe Size: Not Available
  • Body Shape: Not Available
  • Hair Colour: Not Available

Bill Hybels Salary

Bill’s annual salary, is $95,000, with a $20,000 housing allowance. The church also pays for his BMW. He has not disclosed how much he makes in royalties from the sale of books and audio sermons.

Bill Hybels Net Worth

Bill Hybels is an American church figure and author who has an estimated net worth of $72 million dollars. He also has a private jet and a luxury yacht.

Bill Hybels Willow Creek Association

In 1992 he launched the Willow Creek Association (WCA) to link like-minded, action-oriented churches with each other and with strategic vision, training, and resources. He is currently the chairman of the board of WCA. Bill said, “When God transforms the life of just one leader, that leader can transform a church.

When one church is transformed, you can transform a community. And when enough churches are thriving, you can affect a region, country, and eventually the entire world with a positive, life-changing power of Jesus Christ and the redeeming and restoring work of his people.”

Bill Hybels Global Leadership Summit

He started the Global Leadership Summit (hosted by the WCA) in 1995 as an annual training event for church, ministry and other leaders to sharpen their skills. It exists to transform Christian leaders around the world with an injection of vision, skill development, and inspiration for the sake of the local church.

The Summit telecasts live from the campus of Willow Creek Community Church near Chicago, reaching more than 185 premier host sites across the United States. The Summit moves into more than 200 cities in 70+ countries across the globe, via Videocast in the following months. The 2010 summit attracted 122,000 leaders. In the same year, Fast Company featured an article on Willow Creek and the Global Leadership Summit.

Bill Hybels Misconduct allegations and resignation

During his studies in the early 1970s at Trinity International University which was called Trinity College by then, a lecturer by the name Gilbert Bilezikian challenged the class about an Acts 2-based church. Hybels got attracted by the vision and abandoned his business aspirations for ministry.

He then began a youth group with his friend Dave Holmbo called Son City in 1971 as he served as the youth pastor at Park Ridge’s South Park Church. Modern music, dramatic skits, and multimedia were joined with Bible studies in the relevant language, and the group grew from 25 to 1,200 in just three years.

After Bill realized that 300 youth waited in line to be led to Christ in service in May 1974, he and other leaders started dreaming of creating a new church. They investigated in the community to find out why people weren’t coming to church. Some of the answers that were there included: “church is boring”, “they’re always asking for money”, or “I don’t like being preached down to.”

These answers directed the group’s approach to the new church. The group started its first service on October 12, 1975, in Palatine’s Willow Creek Theater and one hundred and twenty-five people attended the service. The rent and other costs were paid for with 1,200 baskets of tomatoes, sold door-to-door by 100 youths. Hybels spoke on “New Beginnings” and within two years, the church had grown to 2,000.

Many challenges in 1979 led to a recommissioning of the church’s vision to be broader and deeper than before. Hybels asked for pardon, for the example of his relentless schedule and overemphasis on grace. We’ve set up all our leadership structures and goals to grow a full functioning Acts 2 community, as opposed to just evangelize machine that doesn’t drive the roots down deep and do all other things it’s supposed to do.

The church relocated to its current location in South Barrington in 1981. In the year 2000, six services were being held every weekend for 15,000 attendees in a 352,000-square-foot (32,700 m2) building and a new Worship center was opened in 2004. The state-of-the-art auditorium is one of the largest theaters in the United States with a capacity of more than 7,000.

The church has an average attendee of 24,000 per week, making it the third-largest church in America. The Willow Creek Community Church has also become well known as the prototypical megachurch, with present time worship, drama, and messages focused toward both Christians and those exploring the Christian faith.

Later, Willow Creek’s three-weekend services were more “seeker-sensitive”, but have since become less so, since the “Reveal Study” which showed members wishing for a deeper dive focused on scripture and spiritual growth.

In September 2011, Willow brought an even deeper dive into scripture by promoting Shane Farmer as a Discipleship Director and having him lead the Mid-week experience, meeting on Wednesday evenings. After Shane re-located to another location, Dr. Gary Burge of Wheaton College taught at the Midweek services until 2017. Hybels introduced President Obama for a speech on immigration reform on July 1, 2010.

Bill Hybels Sexual Assault

The elders at suburban Chicago Willow Creek Community Church released a “last statement” about the scandal involving church founder Bill Hybels, charging Hybels with “unchecked sin and intimidating behavior,” and addressing “specific harms” against Hybels’ accusers and their advocates.

In their statement, the elders said they had met with the women accusing Hybels of wrongdoing and their advocates over the past six months. And as a result, they had learned of how the church’s response had led to verbal and written attacks on the women. They said they also learned that a “narrative persists in identifying (the women) as liars and colluders,” despite apologies by the lead pastors and former Elders.

The elders stated that they “unequivocally support” the findings of an independent council, which concluded that the women’s claims of “sexually inappropriate” conduct by Hybels are credible.  They added, “We ask anyone who participated in verbal and written attacks to prayerfully examine their actions, apologize for wrongdoing, and seek to mend the relationship.”

Similarly, the elders urged Hybels to “reflect on his years in ministry, repent where necessary,” and seek “reconciliation.” They said they had reached out to Hybels, but he had “chosen not to engage in dialogue at this time.” In response, Vonda Dyer, one of the women who accused Hybels of sexual misconduct, today also released a statement, expressing gratitude “that the elders believe all of the women’s allegations.”

She also praised the elders’ “posture of godly response to the magnitude and depth of Bill Hybels’ destructive behaviors toward me and toward other women spanning four decades.” Yet Dyer also expressed disappointment that today’s statement “lacks the specificity that I wish it contained.” One of the specifics Dyer noted concerned Pat Baranowski, Hybels’ former assistant who accused Hybels of groping her in a New York Times article.

Dyer said that during her last meeting with the elders, they heard Baranowski give three hours of “painful and horrific testimony that left many of the elder’s weepings, some face down on the table in disbelief and mourning. Bill’s actions toward Pat were not simply missteps, but cruel, manipulative and abusive . . . Bill’s sin is far worse than anyone has been willing to say publicly.”

I reached out to Baranowski for comment but she did not respond by the time of publication. In their statement, the elders also acknowledged that the leaders of Compassion International and Menlo Church, who “spoke up for the women,” were also harmed. These leaders include John Ortberg, senior pastor of Menlo Church and a former pastor at Willow Creek, and his wife, Nancy Ortberg, also a former Willow Creek pastor.

The couple was some of the very first to publicly support the women in 2018 and to accuse Hybels of a pattern of sexual harassment and misconduct. Also included is Jim Mellado, president, and CEO of Compassion International and former president of the Willow Creek Association, now The Global Leadership Network. Mellado joined the Ortbergs in publicly calling for a third-party investigation of the allegations concerning Hybels in 2018.

The elders wrote, “We have learned of mail and email messages threatening these advocates and their ministries. We again ask anyone who participated in sending threatening messages to prayerfully examine their actions, and seek to reconcile with those who have been harmed.” Today’s statement also addressed what the elders said was “an unfair assumption” that the former elder board “acted with malice.”

When the women’s allegations first surfaced in 2018, Hybels called the allegations “flat out lies” and the former board publicly supported him. The new elders said they believe that the former board was misled. “Bill’s denials and failure to acknowledge sinful, intimidating, and overly controlling behavior led leaders to make statements that were misinformed and incomplete,” they said.

The elders acknowledged that the church had “experienced a fracture,” marked by “disbelief, confusion, fear, and hurt.” They also acknowledged that staff had “suffered harm in broken relationships, trust, and sense of community.” But they expressed optimism about the future, and urged past and present Willow Creek attenders to seek reconciliation and “grow in compassion, grace, forgiveness, and unity . . .”

The elders said today’s statement is their “last public statement intended to address the events of 2018,” which included not just Hybels’ resignation, but the resignations of Willow Creek’s lead pastors and its elder board. However, the elders added that they will “continue to work privately with individuals seeking renewed relationships and reconciliation.”

The elders will be leading a “worship and reflection” service this Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the Lakeside auditorium of Willow Creek’s South Barrington campus for all “past and present Willow family.” Dyer said she hopes the elders will provide more detail on Tuesday night about what led them to their conclusions. “I believe that detail, rather than causing unnecessary obscurity and harm, would help illuminate truth and give needed closure to people in the congregation, to the global church, and to the women and their advocates

Bill Hybels Yacht

 

Bill Hybels Quotes

  • If you lower the ambient noise of your life and listen expectantly for those whispers of God, your ears will hear them. And when you follow their lead, your world will be rocked.”
  • You’re a leader. It’s your job to keep your passion hot. Do whatever you have to do, read whatever you have to read, go wherever you have to go to stay fired up. And don’t apologize to anybody. ”
  • I would never want to reach out someday with a soft, uncallused hand-a hand never dirtied by serving-and shake the nail-pierced hand of Jesus
  • “There isn’t a single motivation, thought, act, or word that has slipped out of your being and escaped the full, undivided attention of God.”
  • “It’s not the things I don’t understand about the Bible that bothers me; it’s the things I understand with perfect clarity and don’t comply with that keep me up at night.”

Bill Hybels Books

Hybels is also a bestselling author with over 20 books and here are some of the list:

  • Authenticity: Being Honest with God and Others (and Kevin Harney) (Zondervan, 2005)
  • Axiom: Powerful Leadership Proverbs (Zondervan, 2008)
  • Becoming a Contagious Christian (and Mark Mittelberg) (Zondervan, 1996)
  • Character: Reclaiming Six Endangered Qualities (and Kevin Harney) (Zondervan, 2005)
  • Commitment: Developing Deeper Devotion to Christ (and Kevin Harney) (Zondervan, 2005)
  • Community: Building Relationships Within God’s Family (and Kevin Harney) (Zondervan, 2005)
  • Courageous Faith Through the Year (and Keri Wyatt Kent) (InterVarsity Press, 2004)
  • Courageous Leadership (Zondervan, 2002)
  • Descending Into Greatness (Zondervan, 1994)
  • Engraved on Your Heart: Living the Ten Commandments Day by Day (Cook Communications, 2000)
  • Essential Christianity: Practical Steps for Spiritual Growth (and Kevin Harney) (Zondervan, 2005)
  • The Power of a Whisper: Hearing God, Having the Guts to Respond (Zondervan, 2010)
  • The Real Deal: Discover the Rewards of Authentic Relationships (and Kevin Harney) (Zondervan, 2005)
  • The Real You (Zondervan, 1996)
  • The Volunteer Revolution (Zondervan, 2004)
  • Too Busy Not to Pray (InterVarsity Press, 1994)
  • Transformation: Letting God Change You from the Inside Out (and Kevin Harney) (Zondervan, 2005)
  • Transparency (Zondervan, 1997)
  • When Leadership and Discipleship Collide (Zondervan, 2007)
  • Who You Are When No One’s Looking (InterVarsity Press, 1995)

Frequently Asked Questions About Bill Hybels

Who is Hybels?

Hybels is the founding and former senior pastor of Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, Illinois.

How old is Bill?

Bill is 68 years old as of 2019.

How tall is Hybels?

His height is not known.

Is Bill married?

Bill is married to Lynne Hybels in 1974 when he was a youth pastor.

How much is Hybels worth?

Bill Hybels is an American church figure and author who has an estimated net worth of $40 million dollars.

How much does Bill make?

Bill’s annual salary, is $95,000, with a $20,000 housing allowance. The church also pays for his BMW. He has not disclosed how much he makes in royalties from the sale of books and audio sermons.

Where does Bill Hybels live?

Bill lives in South Barrington, Illinois.

Is Bill Hybels dead or alive?

Bill is still alive and in good health.

Where is Bill Hybels now?

Hybels is the founding and former senior pastor of Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, Illinois.

Bill Hybels Social Media

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