GLS 2018 Announcement
31 May 2018
Over the past five years we have had the privilege of partnering with the Willow Creek Association SA, in hosting the Global Leadership Summit (GLS). We highly value the vision and the work of the Association. This high-impact event, hosted at Common Ground, has served both church and marketplace leaders, enabling them annually to sharpen and grow their leadership gifts.
We have, however, as a church decided that because of a combination of three things, we will take an intentional and purposeful pause from hosting the 2018 event.
We clarify further, as follows:
Firstly, although the GLS includes a diverse world-class faculty, and is definitely about more than just one man, the GLS is synonymously linked to Bill Hybels. Some of you may be aware, there have been allegations made against Bill, that are still under investigation, and even though he has completely withdrawn from the 2018 GLS, we would still like to allow time and space for the process to be completed.
Secondly, we recognise that there is an important worldwide movement happening that gives much needed attention to the historic and current stories of the treatment of women. Even though Willow Creek Church has historically pioneered, and remain committed to the empowerment of women in leadership, respecting and supporting them to maximise their gifting, now, because of these allegations, they find themselves under scrutiny by the press and social media. In our own context, we want to affirm the voice and value of women and so have decided to pause, listen, reflect and respond appropriately.
Finally, the challenging, still freshly painful and unique circumstances of what happened at Common Ground Church during 2017, has also contributed to what we feel is a wise decision for us.
Please know that this decision has not been arrived at quickly or lightly. We respect that many other churches will host the 2018 GLS, and we pray for a successful and flourishing summit both within SA and across the world.
We realise that a number of you have already booked tickets, or are planning to do so, and we apologise for this inconvenience. We are working with the WCASA, to make sure there is a plan that will assist you in transitioning to an alternate venue.
We ask you to join us in praying for the whole Willow Creek Community. We also pray for women in SA and around the world who are finding the courage to share their stories. But most of all, let us pray that God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Rigby Wallace and Ryan TerMorshuizen