Thursday, October 26, 2006

A2 Bullpen Discussion: Gene Appel & Bill Hybels

Is the seeker service dead?
  • I don't think so. Are we making changes to respond to reality? We are. (GA)
  • Bill: we started this transition way before Gene arrived. We are not married to any methodology...if that means modification of a weekend service, we'll do it.
  • We are still seeker obsessed! We're not making modification to reach less seekers (BH)
What does your gut tell you about mid-week 10 years from now?
  • We're comfortable not knowing -- but people are still indicating that it plays a significant roles in their development, so we are still committed to it -- we're not sure if the neighborhood strategy will make it obsolete or not (GA)
  • I look at New Community as one of the great tools in our arsenal to spiritual growth (GA)
  • In 1995, 20 twentysomethings would say that the weekend service "felt like Branson" -- and they didn't feel like the church was following technological culture trends. As Axis started growing -- it had HUGE impact on the rest of Willow as they championed contemporary culture and values like serving.
  • But the church began to get more savvy, more compassionate, etc., and there was less differentiation between Axis & the weekend service.
  • Moving Axis into "big church" has created discomfort on both sides of the equation.
  • We did not disband the Axis ministry.

How does the diversity value work into programming?

  • I'm not happy about the lack of diversity on our teaching team (GA)

TO BILL: What is Bill leading these days? How does a pastor prepare to hand off the ball?

  • My transition has nothing to do with me slowing down.
  • It has everything to do with Willow's influence expanding all across the world -- it's about exponential impact.
  • Part of me right now is scared, because I gave up some stuff that I loved, but when you go to the next level you have to give up some things. Do I agree with every decision Gene has made? No -- the big ones I do and the middle ones we talk about.
  • I want the South Barrington campus to grow more than ever!
  • Gene & I meet almost every single day! (Again, notice the time they devote to making sure that they're on the same page -- Admirable!)
  • If this thing doesn't work, let's make sure that it's not because Gene and I sinned against each other!

What about Gene made you "anoint" him?

  • I was looking for God's person who would share our values and chemistry. One of the advantages to the WCA was that Bill knew TONS of pastors. It wasn't like he was fishing from a small pond.
  • I was not looking for the leader who would come in and say "It's my day, hit the road, Bill," nor was I looking for the person who would be in my office every 45 minutes asking "What do I do now?"
  • Every leader is going to come to point where they will have to figure out how to turn things over. The question is "Do I want to find someone who will make this thing take off?" or in some demented way "Do I want this thing to tank after I'm go, so I can feel good about myself?"
  • Gene wanted to be HERE. You can't lead and be gone all the time...there was a time when I (Bill) was HERE, and now I'm at a stage that I'm not. Gene was telling us that he didn't want to be traveling at this time in his kids' lives and that was important to us.
  • Willowworld (I HATE this term) today is in the best shape it's EVER been at any other time -- "I like where we are." -- we don't rest on a single personality

ERWIN -- it's our privilege to watch you guys work this stuff out with humility and substance and we respect you because you are willing to experiment in ways that other churches only dream about! AMEN! AMEN! AMEN!!

WOW...I'll be thinking about some of this stuff for a while!! Good stuff.

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