“Hybels instructed everyone in the arena to “stand respectfully.” Then, with spotlights waving, a voice announced Bilezikian as he would a star player for the Chicago Bulls “to be remembered forever.” The announcer named Bilezikian’s height and weight, but also mentioned his professional accomplishments, referring to him as a living legend.”
(Julie Roys) The leadership of Willow Creek Community Church says it has believed for the past 10 years that its co-founder, Dr. Gilbert Bilezikian, engaged in “sinful” behavior, including kissing and “inappropriate touching” of a congregant. For this, Willow Creek said it banned Bilezikian in 2010 from serving at the church.
Yet just five years ago, the church honored Bilezikian, or “Dr. B,” at its 40th Anniversary celebration at the United Center as “the living legend of Willow Creek Community Church.” The church’s café at Willow Creek’s South Barrington campus also continued to be named “Dr. B’s” until August of 2018.
And, according to Bilezikian’s alleged victim, Ann Lindberg, the church didn’t just fail to communicate its ban on Bilezikian serving. Church leaders dismissed Lindberg’s report that Willow’s marriage ministry was promoting Bilezikian and allowing him to mentor church volunteers.
Plus, the group tasked with examining the toxic culture at Willow Creek to which Lindberg was referred, was led by people who had close ties to Bilezikian, raising questions of potential conflict of interest.