With the Exit of Bill Hybels, Willow Creek is much different today...
It’s been some time since all the stuff hit the fan at Willow Creek. Church leaders everywhere are looking to see what happens next. We are definitely in uncharted territory. Here’s an update compiled from ReligionNews.com that tells a little of the current status at Willow:
- 11 new elder candidates are set to take office this month (January 2019)
- The church had about a $3.3 million budget shortfall in 2018
- Attendance is down about 9% from 2017 at the church’s eight campuses; and down at least 15% at the South Barrington main campus
- Giving dropped about 10% from January to July 2018 and was down more than 25% from August to October
- September was the lowest giving month in the past five years
- The church has adjusted it’s general operating budget for this year, cutting expected giving from $685k per week to $550k.
- 50 full-time positions have been eliminated, operational expenses have been cut and they have had to draw on long-term cash reserves
- Things seem to have leveled off according to the most recent report saying that both attendance and giving have been ‘remarkably consistent”
There is still much to happen at Willow in 2019. The new elder board will need to regain confidence of the people. They are still awaiting a report from their outside independent task force. And they will be looking for a new long-term lead pastor. There is still much to do.
And of course, it will be interesting to know what comes of the Willowcreek Association (now known as the “Global Leadership Network” and this year’s annual Leadership Summit.
Everyone is watching. Most hope for the best. Let’s pray for Willow and it’s leadership. 2019 will be a big year.