Monday, January 28, 2008

Randy Frazee and Gene Appel are leaving Willow Creek Community Church

Just caught wind of some big changes going on at Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, IL. Not too long ago Mike Breaux also left Willow, so this means 3 of the 4 primary teaching pastors have left the staff in a very short period. I don't read something into that as all 3 men are leaving under good terms to good situations. It does however create quite a challenge for the Willow team to fill those spots. It will be interesting to see if someone internally moves into those slots or if they go with guys from the outside again. Will John Ortberg be making a return?

January 26, 2008

Today the Elders of Willow Creek are announcing that two senior staff leaders have made personal decisions to pursue new ministries outside our church.

This June, Teaching Pastor Randy Frazee will become the Senior Minister of Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, Texas, where he will teach and lead in partnership with pastor and author, Max Lucado.

"After 8 months of prayer and counsel, I believe God is calling our family to expand the reach of the neighborhood initiative to San Antonio," Randy said. "However, my decision to leave is mostly about family and a simple desire to be around my kids, two of whom are currently living in Texas and a third who will head to Texas for college this fall.

“It has been a complete privilege and joy to be a part of the Willow Creek team," he said. "You can count on our fervent prayers and blessings as we move forward on this endeavor."

Gene Appel, Lead Pastor-South Barrington, who came to Willow Creek as Associate Pastor in 2003 and moved into his current role two and a half years ago, also announced his resignation from staff.

"I love this church," Gene said. "It has been an enormous privilege for me to serve here, but after months of internal wrestling and seeking the counsel of wise people I trust, I have come to a place of peace and clarity, and sense the nudge to move toward being the senior pastor of a local church again. I'll continue serving in my role through the Easter season, and then I'll begin prayerfully pursuing God's next adventure. I am honored to have been able to serve in partnership with everyone at Willow and I have been forever impacted by this place. I will be cheering you on for the rest of my life."

On January 17, 2008 the Elders of Willow Creek and Bill Hybels agreed that Bill will assume the role of Lead Pastor-South Barrington in addition to his other senior pastor responsibilities, which include oversight of the Regional Campuses and the Willow Creek Association.

"I am honored to assume the responsibility to lead the staff and congregation at South Barrington and I look to God expectantly for what He has planned for us in the future,” Bill said.

The Elders fully support the decisions of Gene and Randy, and are grateful to them for their faithful leadership, high character, and inspired teaching.

(HT: Todd @ MMI)

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Michael Krahn said...

I have it on decent (but not concrete) sources that this is related to Willow associating themselves with Brian McLaren.

And of course it appears they are leaving on good terms - it always appears that way. But in a big church ever the most contentious exits are played that way. Personally, I think it is usually the right way to go.


P.S. enjoying your shared items in Google Reader. That is you right - "Big Chris"?

Unknown said...

I can assure you on concrete terms that it has nothing to do with Brian Mclaren. I know both Gene and Randy personally. There are many rumors please don't pass them on unless you know it first hand.