Follow Up

As a follow-up to my previous post I believe it is important to note that when the church was looking for a new pastor the staff was polled to determine what they most desired in a new leader. Their collective response was that they needed a pastoral type, who would have the capacity to work on addressing and healing the cultural trauma that had been experienced at Willow. In spite of the fact that this was the desire of the staff, it is my understanding that the elders ignored this and pursued a more CEO oriented leader. This again reflects the significant disconnect that the elders have with the true spiritual cultural elements of the church. Basically what they did was hire the new leader, like buying a car, and then gave him the keys to the car and withdrew any effective oversight. As a result he surrounded himself with a close cadre of male leaders. There is a rumor going around, and Dave Dummit needs to address this, that one of the senior leaders, Chris Hahn, was fired from his last job due to excessive power abuse. Even though this was brought to the attention of the elders, they allowed Dave to override any concerns and hire him. All of these decisions reflect the mentality of current leadership, which is to make decisions in secret, not responsive to the overall needs of the congregation, and bully their way through to push their agenda. There is clearly a mutiny of some sort going on, most seen in the angry pushback of the North shore campus. The church leadership should see themselves as a representative government, who seek to ascertain the pulse of the needs of the church spiritually and emotionally, and then lead from this discernment. Instead, as I’ve written before, they completely ignore the culture and the dramatic wounding that has occurred, and push forward. Their lack of any significant addressing of the abuse of the women that have come forward, really reflects an approach that devalues women. Also their lack of placing women in strategic positions of upper management indicates a diminishing of the role of women at Willow. I believe that God is not going to allow Willow to recover and flourish unless they’re willing to heed the admonition of scripture that “if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray I will heal their land”.

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