Last night, I had a chance to share with the Elders what has been on my heart.
On Wednesday, Scot McKnight wrote a post expressing concern that a profound injustice has been done regarding the women who made allegations against Bill Hybels and the subsequent Elder process investigating those claims. I agree with this conclusion.
Specifically, I do not think it should have been said that the women were lying or that they were colluding against Bill and the church. I believe the women and applaud their courage.
I have personally reached out to and connected with several of the victims and listened to their experiences. I have made private apologies to several of the women and their families for the way they have been treated. I thank God for the opportunity to seek grace and forgiveness from these individuals.
I recognize that I am not blameless in this. I take full responsibility for my actions that contributed to the injustice that was done to these women. I should not have been on stage for any of the family meetings, to pray or lead any part of those nights. I believe now that what our church needed initially was to practice transparency and repentance, to grieve, and to reflect on what Jesus was inviting us into and to listen to the Holy Spirit. I wish I had done more to prevent the hurtful statements that were made, and to advocate more forcefully for what I believe would have been a more humble and Biblical approach.
For this, I am deeply sorry and ask your forgiveness.
Sarah and I have such deep love for the congregation of Willow, and our concern to shepherd this community well has been the drumbeat of our heart. Serving this church is one of the greatest joys of our lives. Heather and our team have been working on next steps, and we will share specific ways on how we as a church will respond. We will continue to pray with conviction and deep hope that truth and redemption will prevail, and that God’s healing power will shepherd all of us through this difficult time.
Grace + Peace,