Powerful Personal Video Testimony by Victims of Bill Hybels and Willow Creek

For almost two years since the Bill Hybels / Willow Creek scandal became public, the world has read different versions of the whole sordid affair.  Now, firsthand video testimony by two of Hybels’ victims provides a powerful and frank personal account of the tragedy. In the link below, Vonda Dyer and her husband, Scott, give details about Hybels’ efforts to groom and seduce Vonda. They share how the situation impacts their lives and their family — and how the responses of the leadership at Willow Creek and the GLN only adds to their turmoil. It is evident that Vonda and Scott are paying a high price for telling the truth publicly.

In addition, also below, a third video by Mitch Little, gives a top shelf primer on sexual abuse in the church. From his unique perspective as both an attorney and a church elder in Dallas, TX, Mitch outlines typical missteps by church leadership. He also gives “best practice” recommendations for church elders to lead their congregations through such a crisis.

Watching these videos is a must for those who care about what happened at Willow Creek and/or care about protecting victims. After you watch and learn the truth, let me invite any of you who know people involved in Willow Creek leadership (the executive team, elders, GLN leadership) to share this post and these talks with them. ASK FOR THEIR RESPONSE TO THE CONTENT.  I encourage you not to give up until you receive a response that satisfies you.

Vonda Dyer shares her story of being labeled a liar after coming forward with accusations of sexual misconduct against former Willow Creek Community Church Senior Pastor Bill Hybels. Dyer gave this message at the No More Silence conference, sponsored by the Hendricks Center at Dallas Theological Seminary.
Scott Dyer, a worship pastor and husband of Vonda Dyer, tells his moving story of how watching his wife being vilified for exposing abuse by former celebrity pastor, Bill Hybels, traumatised their family. And from that experience, he offers advice for church leaders on how to handle allegations of sexual abuse.
Attorney Mitch Little, an attorney who’s represented several women who accused former Willow Creek Community Church Senior Pastor Bill Hybels of sexual misconduct, talks about how church leaders should handle sex abuse allegations. Little argues that the reason churches have responded worse to the #MeToo crisis than corporate world is because “corporations are more afraid of their shareholders than churches are.” He adds, “The church has one shareholder. And it’s a fear of God problem.” Though Little offers solid advice on how church boards should respond to sex abuse crises, he admits, “If your leadership lacks the requisite character and experience, no manual will help you. If you have the appropriate level of character and experience, no manual is necessary.”

I am grateful to Julie Roys, a Christian investigative reporter, for posting these videos and  for all of her efforts exploring important issues facing Christians and spiritual seekers.

The full talks of Vonda, Scott, Mitch, Q & A sessions, and other speakers at the No More Silence conference can be obtained by contacting the Dallas Theological Seminary Bookstore at (214) 887-5110 or online on the bookstore’s website.  They are a most valuable resource for any church / Christian organization that is serious about being prepared to address sexual and power abuse within their midst.

Many thanks to the Hendricks Center at Dallas Theological Seminary for making these resources available.

4 thoughts on “Powerful Personal Video Testimony by Victims of Bill Hybels and Willow Creek

  1. Thank you for your courage, vulnerability and Christ like response to this. We are praying for all involved. Looking to God for wisdom and direction.
    Rod and Ruth Snater

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  2. These women have been through a lot, & my heart goes out to them. I’m glad their stories have been heard, published & empathized with, in the secular media & in Christian media, such as Christianity Today. The elders, under pressure, ended up apologizing tearfully & resigned, as they well should have. The remaining pastors resigned, along with a number of senior staff. The H.R. yes-man-to-Bill should have been fired early on in this mess. The current elders somehow didn’t feel a need to deep-dive into the accusations, which is cowardly, but at least they did side with & empathize with the women, finding Hybels guilty of all the accusations. From my experience, the majority of the congregation has empathized with them, too. So, one wonders why none of this seems to help satisfy. What is missing here is perspective. The women mentioned were grown women. Going to a man’s hotel room alone at night is unwise & unnecessary in ANY scenario. (NOT blaming her, it’s just a common-sense & certainly Christian perspective that women instinctively know.) What is so important that it can’t wait until morning? What happened to these women was unfortunate & inexcusable, but they were not helpless children. Nancy Beach & Nancy Ortberg are very strong women. They didn’t have to stay in an abusive environment. MOST women I know have an experience with sexual misconduct. As a teenage, Ir worked in a restaurant where the cook was vulgar & strongly suggestive. One day when I resisted his advances, he put the plates for my next order in the oven, so that I burned my hands when I came to pick it up, dropping & breaking the whole order. I was too young & naive to know that I should have reported this. Instead, I walked out & never came back. I was very shook up & angry, but I moved on & didn’t allow it to ‘ruin’ my life. I had another incident when working nights, coming home at 1 a.m one summer night. A naked man, who apparently knew my schedule, came out of the bushes at me. If it weren’t for my dog barking loudly & savagely & shaking my 2nd floor apartment window so hard it almost broke, I would surely have been raped. I have a cousin who actually was raped. And a little 7 year old girl in my extended family was sexually molested continually over a period of months by a monster they thought was their family friend. THAT’S life-long Trauma. Sadly, I also have a dear friend whose teenage child was murdered several years ago. She had to watch helplessly while the murderer sneered at my her as the plea bargain was announced. Do you think ANY of THESE victims will ever see justice for their perpetrators? No, not in THIS life. So, maybe that’s why it’s difficult for some of us to hear Vonda call “suggestive speech & having a pass made at her, “horror.” Hybels is a narcissist in the first degree, an arrogant bully who reeked of sexual misconduct. Misconduct is wrong & extremely upsetting; but abuse is truly ‘horrific’. And, narcissists never apologize because they are never ‘wrong’ so hoping to hear from him is futile. I commend Vonda & others for continuing to speak out, in an effort to root this out of the Christian church, & I wish her well. But I hope & pray that she & the others will, at some point, decide not to “live there” for the rest of their lives, seeing themselves as victims forever. Healing is a choice & a deliberate, intentional process, regardless of the cause. God loves them dearly & wants us to live life to the fullest for him—in spite of, not because of—our circumstances. I hope they will be able to move forward by trusting in God, not man, for HE will some day provide the justice they so deserve. Even today, the martyrs in heaven ask God, How long, Lord? How long before you avenge those who shed our blood? HE will give Hybels & the others what they deserve, but it may not be in this lifetime. I wish Vonda well!

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    1. Nina, I agree with much of what you have written. But you fail to see some very important points. 1) The reason Vonda came forward publicly is because she heard a staff woman’s story of grooming by Hybels using the same “lines” that she heard, and it was some 20 years later. And it was with a woman years younger than Hybels’ daughter. Vonda and Nancy Beach and Nancy Ortberg and Pat B. and … and … and… came forward to PROTECT future potential victims. They wanted Hybels to be held accountable for his lascivious conduct to warn potential future women victims. 2) You fail to understand the power dynamics involved with a world renown pastor / leader / boss and a direct report. That dynamic is very very real. Google it. 3) The leadership of Willow Creek has performed TERRIBLY. They have revictimized the women victims (see previous posts). They have misled the congregation of Willow Creek into thinking that they have “investigated” the scandal and apologized and reconciled and moved on. 4) They have failed to teach the congregation the Biblical methods they used in addressing this black eye on WCCC’s history. Why? Because how they handled it doesn’t exist in the Bible.
      The new sr. pastor of WC will have to agree to go along with the Willow machine methods. Perhaps that is why they haven’t found one yet.

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    2. Comparing stories of abuse in an attempt to justify one over the other helps no one. Just because one is an adult does not mean you’re not vulnerable to manipulation or grooming. Your opinion has no bearing on the reality of their experiences or the fact that BH abused his position of power over these women and his subordinates.

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