One of Bill Hybels’ successors resigned from Willow Creek Community Church on Sunday after a damning New York Times report revealed further sexual misconduct allegations against Hybels. The church’s new teaching pastor, Steve Carter, who was not allowed to make his announcement to the church publicly, posted his reasons for resigning “effective immediately” on his blog.
Read the post below.
I am writing to announce my resignation from Willow Creek Community Church, effective immediately.
The new facts and allegations that came to light this morning are horrifying, and my heart goes out to Ms. Baranowski and her family for the pain they have lived with. These most recent revelations have also compelled me to make public my decision to leave, as much as it grieves me to go.
Since the first women came forward with their stories, I have been gravely concerned about our church’s official response, and it’s ongoing approach to these painful issues. After many frank conversations with our elders, it became clear that there is a fundamental difference in judgment between what I believe is necessary for Willow Creek to move in a positive direction, and what they think is best. That is not to say that I am right and they are wrong. But I must follow the path that I believe God has laid out for me to live with integrity, and that path now diverges from Willow Creek. I offered my resignation many weeks ago, but I was requested to delay an announcement and continue with my duties until the leadership determined how to make the decision public. At this point, however, I cannot, in good conscience, appear before you as your Lead Teaching Pastor when my soul is so at odds with the institution.
I wish I could appear before you to say goodbye. I wish I could tell each of you, personally and individually, how much I treasure the time I have been able to serve you. But it would be misleading of me to stand on that stage as if presenting a unified front. I defer to the wisdom of the leadership of this church, so I must stand aside.
Sarah and I are heartbroken over this decision. We love our Willow Creek family. Nothing would have given me more joy than to pastor this church for many years to come.
To all the congregants, staff, believers, supporters, and wonderfully faithful people who make up this community, thank you so much for the opportunity to be a part of your world. I thank God for every moment I’ve had with you here, and we will continue to pray for this community and hold it dearly in our hearts.
Grace + Peace,