Thursday, July 10, 2008

Bill Hybels

This week I had a once in a lifetime opportunity with our South Bay Church staff to fly to Michigan and meet with Bill Hybels, the pastor of Willow Creek Church in Chicago. It was a great honor to meet with a guy who has served Christ for over 30 years and grown a church from 8 people to over 20k!! And here I was sitting across the table from him asking questions. He was kind enough to meet to with us while he was on his vacation. It was strange to meet someone in person whom you've only seen on tv or heard on a teaching CD. But there he was bare-footed in shorts and a polo shirt- a normal guy. He had a lot to share with us as we are starting this dream together. If I could give our time together a couple themes it would be: 1) That this whole thing is about relationships, 2) Family is hugely important, 3) and Stay fluid. I'd like to share just a bit of our meeting with you:
1) relationships- He just reminded us, as I think that we all in ministry need to be reminded every once in a while, that all of this (starting a church) is about bringing people to Christ (which goes without saying) but past that, as our minds are racing about the logistics of moving out there and finding a place to worship, and raising money to remember that loving on people is what matters and will ultimately grow our church- not strategy.
2) Family- As we were talking to Bill his wife, Lynne came in and talked to us a bit about family. And she summed it up best when she said that "We decided a long time ago that if had to choose to disappoint either our family or the church, then the church would lose every time. Because the bottom line is, if someone gets so mad at us that they leave the church, there's always another church they can go to; But our Kids? We're the only parents they have and when we get to heaven we're not going to be judged on if we made our church 'Happy' but how we raised our kids."
3) Stay Fluid- Lastly he just reminded us to let God do our planning. We have a plan and that is a good thing but he encouraged us not to look too far down the road but look at each step as it came and to enjoy each step. He said not to be in a hurry to have a huge church but enjoy the people God sends us and then grow with them.
It was a time I will never forget, and a time that I look back on and gain from his wisdom.