Bill Hybels.Willow Creek.ChgoTribune

The Willow Creek empire of megachurches in suburban Chicago is crumbling after the departure of founder Bill Hybels, accused of sexual improprieties, as well as the resignations of his successors and the entire board of elders, who now admit two investigations of the allegations were self-serving; they first learned of the charges in 2013. Hybels founded the non-denominational church in a rented movie theater 43 years ago and grew it into a $225 million operation with 11,000 members, 350 employees and seven satellite centers in the region. He pioneered a widely-adopted model of church attraction he called “seeker-sensitive,” emphasizing accessible sermons, pop music and informal worship, while exploiting the weaknesses of mainstream Protestantism and eschewing the accountability structures that denominations provide. (Chicago Tribune)

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