Pride, Ego, Lust—Recipe for a Downfall

The Willow Creek model for building a modern has influenced a generation of church leaders. Guys I listen to on a regular basis–John Ortberg, Gene Appel, Andy Stanley–have all based their ideas on the model.

For years I have wondered about this thought–why do none of them ever mention the founding father of the movement? They may refer to Willow Creek occasionally, but never to Bill Hybels.

I also wondered why when Hybels spoke one week about how they did an employee survey and discovered that people hated working there. And how they hired a consultant to fix things. But, Hybels as the leader, never took personal responsibility for creating that culture.

And the church has done fantastic good–both in the lives of people and in society at large.

And Hybels is a good teacher and public presenter. And just like other popular personalities–I am thinking of people like Mario Batalli for example–they covered a multitude of sins.

Pride, ego, lust. And in a flash, they are gone.

Except the fallout continues with Hybels. More accusations. At the beginning of public revelations, I wondered about what was going on. But the Board seemed to be on top of things–until they weren’t. There is another, even worse, accusation, this week reported in The New York Times.

Even now the Board seems reluctant to take initiative and act. So the lead teaching pastor resigned issuing public statements.

So I take these thoughts and bring them home. Are you on any type of Board? If so, do you take the time to do your duty? Are you like these boards–like Willow, or large corporations with celebrity CEOs–who ignore warning signs and then themselves now wrapped in pride refuse to see the obvious and fail to act?

Pride, Ego, Lust. Three demons we studied while reading John Climacus the past month. They destroy people.

Willow Creek has done so many good things, I hope a new Board of Elders (I’m not a member, but I’d certainly vote for a new one if I were) steps forward and does the right thing.

It’s easy to point to celebrities who get overcome with these on a big scale. Harder is to look in the mirror and detect these demons in ourselves and deal with them. Follow the Ladder of Divine Ascent. Take the first step, that of self awareness.

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