“Our church was founded on the idea that people matter to God. All people, all people of all backgrounds, colors, ethnicities, and sexual orientations,” said Bill Hybels, senior pastor and founder of Willow Creek Community Church.
On Thursday, Pastor Hybels addressed the audience at Willow Creek’s annual Leadership Summit (Watch video left).
According to the Christian Post report, a petition with over 700 signatures started circulating this week. The petition calls to boycott Starbucks if it’s CEO, Howard Schultz spoke at Willow Creek’s Summit.
Hybels addressed this issue, stating “the petition claims that Willow Creek Community Church is anti-gay. If the president of Starbucks speaks here then Starbucks should be boycotted, or so the thinking goes,” Hybels said.
“The mat at every door on this campus has always read welcome,” Hybels said in response to the anti-gay petition. “For over 35 years we have flung the doors of this campus open to the widest array of humanity I have ever witnessed in a local church. And thousands, tens of thousands have come to learn the teachings of Jesus.”
Rumors have been swirling around Willow Creek’s stance on homosexuality ever since the announcement of the church cutting ties with Exodus International. The online petition from a homosexual activist group accuses Willow Creek Association and the Willow Creek church of taking an anti-gay stance.
Willow Creek Church teaches life lessons of Jesus Christ. With teachings graced in love and acceptance and with a message of having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Attend any of their services and see. There are people from all walks of life, from many faiths who attend regularly. There are also many seekers who are hungry for the truth. Willow Creek accommodates each and every person. It doesn’t matter what’s the color of their skin, the faith they came up with, or their sexual orientation. Willow Creek is non-denominational and non-judgmental. They accept all in love and grace. This writer has experienced this first hand, it’s a living testimony.
As a leader of one of the largest mega-churches in the country, Hybels understands the differences in people. The teachings of Willow Creek are biblical. He continued to share with his audience the church’s stance on homosexuality.
Hybels said, “To suggest that we check sexual orientation or any other kind of issue at our doors is simply not true. Just ask the hundreds of people with same-sex attraction who attend our church every week.”
“Now, what is true,” he continued, “is that we challenge homosexuals and heterosexuals to live out the sexual ethics taught in the scriptures which encourages full sexual expression between a man and a woman in the context of marriage and prescribes sexual abstinence and purity for everybody else.”
“But, even as we challenge all of our people to these biblical standards we do so with grace-filled spirits knowing the confusion and brokenness that is rampant in our fallen world. At Willow, we honor the journey of everyone who is sincerely attempting to follow Christ. So, it’s unfortunate that we could not have explained this to those that called us anti-gay and started this petition.”
Howard Schultz was scheduled to talk about his book, Onward: How Starbucks Fought for Its Life Without Losing Its Soul, at the Leadership Summit. Under the pressure, Schultz canceled his talk just days before. The report states Starbucks officials are not attributing the cancellation to this petition.
If there is any church in the Chicago area that welcomes with open doors, it’s Willow Creek. Their mission states, “People matter to God. They matter to us, too.” The heart of Willow Creek is its people, pure and simple.