Bill Hybels, founder and senior pastor of Willow Creek Community Church, is well-known for his relevant and insightful Bible-based teaching. He was inspired to create an Acts 2-based church while attending a lecture of Gilbert Bilezikian’s at Trinity International University. He and his friend Dave Holmbo started a youth group called “Son City” at Park Ridge’s South Park Church. After three years, the group had grown from 25 to 12,000.
Bill Hybels aspired to grow his vision into a new church, and to reach this goal, he asked the community why they didn’t attend church. They responded, saying, “church is boring,” “they’re always asking for money,” or “I don’t like being preached down to.” Thus, Pastor Hybels worked to create a church that corrected these issues. Beginning in the fall of 1972, the Willow Creek Community Church started with 125 people in attendance; however, during the first two years, it grew to almost 2,000. By 2000, the church welcomed 15,000 churchgoers to their six weekend services. Now, the church is the second largest church in America with an average of 20,000 attendees per week.
Bill has written nearly 50 books, many of which are bestsellers. He and his wife Lynne co-authored Fit to Be Tied and Rediscovering Church, which tells the story of Willow Creak’s beginnings, its struggles, the philosophy behind its success, and the strategies that have made it a model for church growth.
He is chairman of the Willow Creek Association's board of directors. Bill received a bachelor's degree in Biblical Studies and an honorary Doctorate of Divinity from Trinity College. He and Lynne are the parents of two adult children & have one grandchild.