Concept

Bill Hybels

Summary
William Hybels (born December 12, 1951) is an American church figure and author. He is the founding and former senior pastor of Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, Illinois, one of the most attended churches in North America, with an average attendance of nearly 24,000 as of late 2018. 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. Hybels was slated to retire from his position at Willow Creek in October 2018; however, he resigned in April 2018 after allegations of sexual misconduct were made against him. Although Hybels has denied all allegations, an independent review found the allegations to be credible. Hybels was born and raised in Kalamazoo, Michigan. He is Dutch-American and was a regular participant in the Christian Reformed Church in North America which holds to Calvinist Theology. Hybels's father was an entrepreneur in wholesale produce whose work ethic was the model for his son. In a 2006 interview with the Chicago Tribune, he pointed to an experience at a Wisconsin summer camp as a teenager that crystallized his understanding and personal embrace of Christian belief. Hybels holds a bachelor's degree in Biblical Studies from Trinity International University, near Chicago. In the early 1970s, Hybels was studying at Trinity International University (then called Trinity College) when Gilbert Bilezikian, a lecturer, challenged the class about an Acts 2-based church. Hybels was captivated with the vision and abandoned his business aspirations for ministry. In 1971, Hybels—then serving as youth pastor at South Park Church in Park Ridge, Illinois—started a youth group with friend Dave Holmbo called 'Son City'. Modern music, dramatic skits and multimedia were combined with Bible studies in relevant language, and the group grew from 25 to 1,200 in just three years. After 300 youth waited in line for a service in May 1974, Hybels and other leaders began dreaming of forming a new church.
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