If you live anywhere in the NW, you’ve probably seen or heard news reports on a local mega church leader. This leader is no stranger to controversy, and being in a visible leadership position guarantees some criticism… but the number of former staff and members/attenders who felt their concerns and questions, their push for change were not addressed has peaked into action, and the leader is on leave.
If I could put one thing on his To Do List while on break, it would be to listen to Bill Hybels, Pastor of mega church Willow Creek Church back in the Chicago area. Please click on the video below to hear an inspiring confession of fear and an amazing story of the process of change, it’s really worth it! You see, when he was ready to face reality, to hear about the true culture around the church – he took action steps to correct it.
Listening! First Pastor Hybels invited a third party consultant, Best Christian Workplaces Institute (BCWI), to ask the hard questions, and offer safety/confidentiality and follow up to the staff members’ experiences and concerns. This is the man who is the founder and head pastor of one of the most influential churches in the country…
Today, more than 20,000 people worship at one of Willow Creek’s six regional campuses each weekend. Churches from around the world look to see what God is up to at Willow, and to find encouragement and equipping for their own ministries. Willow Creek remains, above all else, a local church of Christ followers—a place where people matter to God and to us, where together we seek to live out God’s vision of being an Acts 2 church.
What if our local leader could do the same, ask a third party consultant and learn to really listen? Listen for understanding – the courageous, difficult task of letting others’ experiences to be heard, and to be valued and acted upon? There may be many apologies needed here too, many coffees and lunches where relationships are addressed and put right.
It’s been done in Chicago, and it could be done here in Seattle.
To bring this point closer to home, in my home we are committing to:
the 30 day Zero Negativity Challenge (ZN), to build trust and a safe haven to honor our different ways of doing and being. Watch for the results in one of my future blogs. Or better yet, take your own ZN Challenge and add your comments next month!