The last several months have been extremely painful for our church. Allegations against our founding pastor led to his early retirement in April, And in the last ten days our lead pastor, teaching pastor, and our entire elder board has resigned.
Our family has been a part of this church for twenty years. We have raised our children here. We have embraced and have been embraced by a loving community here. We have found help and support in our times of need, engaged in thriving ministry, and have felt incredibly blessed to be a part of God's work at and through Willow Creek Community Church.
And yet...it has become increasingly clear there are some gaps between what we believed to be true about our church and our pastor and some of our leaders and what has actually been true.
Over the years, thousands of us "Creekers" have done and continue to do the hard work of processing our grief, recovering from our addictions, and reconciling our broken relationships.
We have been taught to own our brokenness, to lead out of our brokenness,
to come to Jesus and come clean and keep coming week after week.
It is incredibly disheartening to learn some of our top leaders did not choose to walk those same paths of vulnerability, authenticity, accountability, and integrity.
And yet...I have hope. Many of us who are left are realizing God is not done with our church.
Our new interim pastor is stepping into a colossal mess, leading us through a dark night, pointing us all to the only one who can redeem this brokenness -- Jesus.
But we must first acknowledge our mess. We must begin with acknowledging
the gaps that exist in our church, in our families, and in each of our lives.
We must own the gap between the way things ought to be and the way they really are,
between who we want to be and who we presently are.
After we were married, Bernie and I lived in London for a couple of months.
"Mind the gap" is a famous phrase used at the London Underground.
It is an audio or visual warning alerting people who use the subway to be wary of the gap
between the train and the platform so they don't trip and hurt themselves or someone else.
It is a constant reminder to pay attention to the gap.
Be aware of the gap. Don't ignore the gap.
The health and life of our churches and our families
and our personal faith walks have everything to do with how we handle these gaps.
If we deny the discrepancies, if we cover up our sin and try to hide our brokenness, we will reap a harvest of destruction. This is playing out before our very eyes. But if we are willing to learn and grow, to live authentically in a trusted, caring community and be honest about our junk, to repent and surrender, we will find freedom. But freedom does not come easily. It demands we each do the hard work of "walking in the light as he is in the light" and calls for an all-out,
radical commitment to the process of transformation by God’s grace.
There is a family I love, a family who means the world to me and my family, who has been struggling for a long time. We just happened to be with them not long ago when the wheels came off. They didn't choose that moment when we were with them; they simply could not bear the crushing weight of their burden and pain one second longer. We surrounded them with grace and believed for them that God would make a way. They are making some right, hard choices. They are choosing to be honest about their brokenness. They are choosing to be vulnerable and not pretend things are OK when they are so obviously not.
They are choosing not to hide their mess, but rather to lift it up to God in the presence of safe, loving brothers and sisters in Christ and cry out for healing. And healing is coming.
God is making a way for them through this storm. I have hope for this family I love,
because God is a God who heals. It's who He is. He makes all things new.
I believe this and know it to be true because He has done it in my family and in my marriage and in my life. He has done it through Willow Creek Community Church over the last twenty years.
"This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you:
God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.
If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness,
we lie and do not live out the truth.
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another,
and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
(1 John 1:5-7 NIV)
As for Willow, I am choosing to stay. I have hope for this family I love,
that as we do the holy work of acknowledging our mess,
as we fix our eyes on Jesus, as we walk in the light, as he is in the light,
we will be healed. Our good God will make all things new.
Categories: willow creek community church, grace, healing, brokenness, walking in the light, faith, mind the gap, authentic faith, vulnerability, 1 John 1:5, family, church, healthy family, healthy church, repentance, accountabilty, integrity, authenticity, community, redemption, legacy, forgiveness, mercy
8/15/2018 09:46:48 pm
WOW, you nailed this one sister! #ustoo
8/17/2018 05:23:05 pm
So grateful to be walking this road together!
8/17/2018 12:43:35 am
8/17/2018 05:23:50 pm
8/17/2018 04:15:12 pm
Poignant and spot on! We at Christ Community Church are praying for all you and firmly believe that God is at work here. He can and will make all things new! God bless you all!
8/17/2018 05:24:39 pm
Linda, thank you so much for your prayers for our community. We are so grateful!
8/17/2018 09:08:32 pm
Hi Becky! Willow Creek is the church I went to after graduating from college and had just been baptised. It's where I met my husband and made some of my closest friends. I have had an up and down, challenging and amazing relationship with that church. I've been all over the place lately with what has been happening. But I am Thankful for people like you that remind us that despite all of this hurt and darkness, that God is stronger and can redeem all things. I'm also encouraged and will be thinking of you all as you go into this new season with the church! Cant wait to have you back at our MOPS group - see you then!
8/18/2018 11:06:28 pm
Hi Carolyn, Thank you so much for your comment and for sharing some of your history with Willow. Thank you for your prayers, and I look forward to seeing you again at MOPS :)
8/19/2018 07:21:03 am
Beautifully said, Becky. Now is an amazing time to be at Willow Creek. Greg and I will declare to all who ask that we are in. Maybe we are more in now than ever before. Willow Creek has blessed our lives for 30 years and we choose to put our arms around her when she needs us most.
8/19/2018 09:21:29 am
Laurie, your love for our church is so beautiful. I’m glad you and Greg are in and I hope our paths intersect more often ❤️
8/19/2018 02:09:03 pm
Beautifully said Becky. We are praying for you guys. May God's peace and anointing give you direction in these trying times.
8/20/2018 04:27:04 pm
Jorge, thanks for your comment and for praying for us and our church. We appreciate it so much!! Love to your family from ours ❤️
8/25/2018 02:40:43 pm
Thanks Becky for the words that I have been struggling to find that describe so well exactly what I have been feeling this spring/summer. I love Willow Creek Community Church! I have been blessed a 1,000 in the past 20+years here, also. My heart breaks for the brokenness we are navigating here and I long for ownership and healing for all involved. Willow is the very place I have learned to strive for these goals... although not perfectly... in my own life. I know this is the ONLY worthwhile path that ONLY GOD can lead us through and I trust Him completely. I know God will continue to do His great work through Willow Creek Community Church! I wouldn’t miss it for the world! I will be here right along with you Becky and expectantly waiting for God’s goodness in the midst of this all. I know He won’t disappoint us!
8/26/2018 09:23:50 am
Julie, thanks for sharing your words (I think you found them :) and your heart. We are on sort of the same timeline with when we came to Willow, raising our children, building our marriages, and ministry work. So thankful to be doing all of this alongside you! We've seen what God does with willing hearts, may He continue His work in our church moving forward. <3
8/31/2018 07:56:14 pm
Comments are closed.
Sign up for updates: