I was a member of WCCC for many years. One of those is that you had your senior pastor resign kind of suddenly. and I found these people in those imperfect churches! Ive asked that question many times. So, Mitch, how is it that a lawyer from Texas ended up representing victims of sexual harassment at a mega church in Chicago? To us, he was Stu, Dad and Poppa and we already miss him achingly." This was something that was very deeply ingrained in their culture. Theres, theres an advocacy piece to lawyering that needs to be there a little bit, but it doesnt need to be pervasive. When I came onto our board, the terms that Pete Briscoe used were, guide, govern and guard. And I think policy governance has the governing part. Thank God I have Jesus. But heres what happened when Scot criticized them publicly. "For many of you, he was preacher, pastor, mentor or friend. Thats a bad default state. To us, he was Stu, Dad and Poppa and we already miss him achingly." Its my understanding that was a watershed moment. Pete grew up in a home with intelligent and committed parents: both I know for a fact that his article was circulated among the staff at Willow, and they crossed the Rubicon of credulity. I mean, I cant tell you how many stories I heard just like the one that you told the people who said, Well, I was at a conference with Bill Hybels, and he was awful to me. It should be something that he learned from, right? Oh Well, and I appreciate your service to the church. Was there any evidence found that he actually had an affair? Okay. Hes also the chairman of the elder board and his own church, Bent Tree Fellowship. That was my upbringing. Amen. 1 talking about this. Yes, probably a number of your listeners are aware of the situation where the Ortbergs and Mellados had tried to report to the board an alleged long term affair that Bill Hybels was engaged in and the church hired an outside investigator to investigate the situation. Pete Briscoe, our pastor at our church came out in support of the Dyers, which was bold, and it was brave. And that that was something that taught you an awful lot about how elder board should deal with sexual impropriety or sexual abuse within their own walls. Many organizations that have a board of directors consisting of yes men or yes women who are inclined to go along with the board chairman and/or are friends with them. Mitch is an attorney, a church elder and an advocate for abuse victims. I just, Im amazed that they were in such geographic proximity to one another dealing with almost the exact same problem. Do we have a theology of goodness at our church? If you have six members of the Board of eight, lets just say its eight or 10. He said, Pete, you should have one lawyer on your board but not more than one. And I believe that there is some really sound wisdom in that. Please contact us or click here to learn more about how to enable JavaScript on your browser. I think its Pat Baranowskis story that ran in the New York Times that actually caused that. Growing up in a ministry family, Pete watched and learned from his parents and witnessed the reach and power of Telling the Truth's media outreach. Lawyers are, by definition, advocates, right? They know there would be swift and sure discipline, if not firing, even with one mistakedepending on the severity of the misbehavior. Not sad or contemplative, but agitated and very irritated. He has been married to Jill for more than 59 years and has three children and 13 grandchildren. That night we had a guest speaker come in for a special presentation. I had no idea what to expect as this lone man stood on the stage. And theres an element to which a church like Willow Creek was a global church, right? Because they, I mean, they had a massive PR machine they had, they hired Mark DeMoss, his firm to come in and try to resolve things from a PR standpoint. Because it was lawyers advice, you know, and its like, where does the word of God play into our decision making? I think that was a move of God, a move of the Holy Spirit. This is simply a place where I share the message of Gods unadulterated grace through my preaching sermons and bible teaching. He even cites a conversation with Darrell Bock, a member who disagrees with the elders but who also says it is not an issue worth dividing over. Its How do we protect the entity and the entity as expressed through the person of Bill Hybels? Once you make that decision that youre willing to protect the entity or the person in charge of the entity to the detriment of members of the body or members of the staff, youve made some poor choices that are going to have consequences. When the when the mans lying on the side of the road, naked and bleeding, theyre the priests who cross the street. But then its my understanding too, that when these women met with the elders, the level of bullying and abuse that they were subjected to, was such that I know Vonda told me there were elders in tears at the end of this, of how pervasive the abuse was, I dont know how specific you can be but can you give people an idea of, of what actually happened to these women that were abused? Board members selected in such a way are unlikely to honor their fiduciary duty ahead of their desire to please the board chairman or senior pastor. Yeah, totally agree. Through Petes teaching on Sundays and through various conversations with other staff members during the week, God shifted my perspective on what it means to live life in Christ one from my own efforts to please God to one of Christs efforts on my behalf to love me deeply, extravagantly, and permanently. But I guess this is the question so many are asking is, Can anybody be in those kind of jobs with the kind of responsibility that is put on one human, one person to lead thousands of people? And so many looking to him for vision for leadership for everything. So I was quite taken aback when this scandal came out. And theyre born knowing how to do that. I know the owners Dan and Kurt Marquart personally, and I can say without reservation that they truly run their business with honesty, integrity and transparency. And I think there is a healthy fear. The church is nondenominational and has woman pastors and elders. Petes leadership at Bent Tree casts a long shadow with a legacy that will endure. He gave me a few new friends here and there, people to pray with, to share with, to be coworkers in some small ministry, etc. Frankly I find church to be excruciatingly lonely. All the times something didnt seem right. Yeah, yeah, I think I think thats a good word to Julie. WebBriscoe says that he wants Bent Tree to be a place where people can agree to disagree over this issue. And this is whats so difficult. Pete is the son of Jill and Stuart Briscoe. That has been documented and proven through therapy notes. How does our elder board navigate things differently with that Pastor? And you mentioned to me that there were some stop signs along the way. And not elevated above it. I was blown away. And if you dont have a character to lead, no manual is going to help you. Right. The thing that is so terrifying is that someone who has been a senior pastor in an organization like that is not beyond it. He now coaches Pete Briscoe | Brookfield WI. They have a responsibility to the larger church to speak. But so far, I havent seen that. I know that the original elders of Harvest thought they could keep James accountable despite the knowledge that he had glaring character flaws from the beginning. One of those women is Vonda Dyer. Great question. We were fighting asymmetric warfare, right? Its something like Child Protection Policies. And I was sitting in my office one day and Vonda picked up the phone and gave me a call and kind of told me what was coming down the pike in terms of the Chicago Tribune article that basically lit the fuse on that entire situation at Willow. I cant do this authentically anymore. And as hard as the last year and a half has been, I applaud him for that. Briscoe Its scripturally rooted. I was kind of thrust into the middle of it out of love for wanting to help my friends and man, that thing escalated pretty quickly. Well, early on in the process after the Tribune article, we had to make a decision, How are we going to fight a machine of this size that is basically promulgating lies about these women and their families and their supporters? And I reached out to people that I already knew within, you know, the watch blogging community. So glad to see you feature Mitch Little. And this is a huge problem in the Evangelical Church in the southern baptist church, I mean, just absolutely massive problem where so often the predators covered up instead of brought to justice. This is the kind of thing that you would expect from someone whos cruel and not in relationship with Jesus. Youre its just not its not a matter of if its a matter of when. Hes just an affectionate kind of guy. ) So, Willows pride did not allow them to see any flaws in their leadership, especially their premier leader. I hope someday I can overcome this cynicism because I need Church as it should be. For the next 90 minutes, Pete Briscoe enraptured us with his presentation of The Bema.. I am with you in this sad place of justified disappointment in the church. Thats a rhetorical question. And it turns out there were a lot more women who had been affected by Bill Hybels. These are people that may be in the cubicle next to you at work, who have an acuity for blending in to normal life. The news of Petes resignation landed heavy on my heart. 1 talking about this. You know, I think, Julie, the other thing that was really whacked out about Willows elder board, and I didnt find this out until very late in the representation was they operated by design out of unanimity. Tell us what you learned through you know, bringing this person to light, confronting him and dealing with the entire situation that we can learn from as a church. Thankyou in advance. Now, I coach pastors and business leaders in communications and self-care. Fortunately, we have not had so much as one complaint about any one of our pastors or staff members. He, Becky and their kids have been part of the fabric of BT for so long, it is The cover up of his behavior manifested at the elder board level. I think youre absolutely right about that. WebPete Briscoe, Stuart and Jills youngest son, was a key contributor to the ministrys teaching team from 2003 to 2021. And where does whats legally expedient for our organization? David Jankowski. Like so many of you, I love Pete. Theres another circumstance that I became aware of where The board had a 360 Review done on Hybels and his leadership and some problems they were experiencing with his management style from, you know, bullying, abusive style. Gifted with wisdom, discernment, and a bit of English humor, the Briscoe's bring God's Word to life. I think thats dangerous. Briscoe stepped down as senior pastor at the end of 2000 but remained involved in the church and active in overseas missions. So your pastor, he chose himself to step down, correct? So when you have a culture thats willing to, you know, exfoliate spoiliate, destroy documents in order to preserve a narrative, theres really very little that the culture will not accomplish at the cost of innocent people. And you you actually refer to it as multi-level marketing. So Im very much looking forward to our time together today. You have to have a lead pastor who creates a strong culture of accountability. I would love to see Chicago experience revival. I think one of the ways that Willow tried to reckon with the situation was to permit Bill Hybels to retire from his role at the church. Is that correct? What Ive told people is, If you are not ready to blow yourself or the organization up in five seconds flat, you need to find a different hobby.. This was an excellent interview and elders need to read this interview. Bent Tree is a multi site mega church in the Dallas Fort Worth area thats had its own share of crises over the past several years. The church said in essence, Tsk, tsk. About Stuart and Jill Briscoe That to me, is a corruption of the role. Vonda was at one time the director of Willow Creeks vocal ministry, and she was one of the first women to come forward and speak publicly about Bill Hybels alleged sexual misconduct. I think these women would still like to know the answer to that. and Im going to butcher the title. (See page 54 and following) He even cites a conversation with Darrell Bock, a member who disagrees with the elders but who also says it is not an issue worth dividing over. Mike is a dear friend and Im sad this day has come. But I have to say that in the middle of dealing with a lot of tall weeds and bugs, God has also given me some flowers and fruit trees to enjoy. It took a variety of forms. And really, I came back to the Lord at Willow and He used that church to help me reestablish my relationship with Him and with His church. It is a collection of people that we are to care for. I want to share that God used Petes sermon on not being isolated (Ecclesiastes) in our sons life. A man who "dedicated his life to sharing Gods Word with the world" has died at the age of 91. At one point, the elder board at Willow became what people call a policy governance board. He currently leads a multi-faceted media ministry called Telling the Truth which he shares with his parents Stuart and Jill Briscoe. God uses the faithful and generous support of people like you to continue to change lives through the ministry of Telling the Truth. He even cites a conversation with Darrell Bock, a member who disagrees with the elders but who also says it is not an issue worth dividing over. Talk to me about how you saw this playing out at Willow Creek. They didnt have the ability to move quickly. So thanks again. Volunteers monitored the process in real time, turning over cassettes at the appropriate time to record on the second side. It was everything from Vonda Dyers situation of being asked to come up to Bills room and talk leadership and a forced kiss, you know, a grab around the waist. Powerful ministry at some points. If anything has a whiff of impropriety, we would jump on it immediately. And he realized that he had missed an opportunity to share Christs love with this person, and he didnt even feel worthy to give this message tonight, you know, and he got teared up and, and Im watching this, you know, as a 20, early 20 something right? I will always have my faith in Jesus but church especially WCCC has been a huge disappointment. And I feel that way with these pastors. And I can only imagine what the economic forces are behind the scenes for that, but it really disappoints me, that that hasnt happened. Today were talking with Pete Briscoe, who served as the senior pastor for nearly three decades at Bent Tree Bible Fellowship in Carrollton, Texas, and now consults with and coaches pastors. Jesus said, I call you My friend. And he committed sex acts with her. I wasnt throughout the representation. I was just trying to build a relationship, or whatever you just go, But I see you for what you are and youre gonna have to go.. Now, I coach pastors and business leaders in communications and self-care. Let the Briscoes help you experience Life in all its fullness! WebIt is with heavy hearts that the Elders of Bent Tree announce that Pete Briscoe has submitted his resignation as Senior Pastor. And my understanding was the elder board set some boundaries for Clinton to be able to come and speak. What is it was Chicago? Briscoe says that he wants Bent Tree to be a place where people can agree to disagree over this issue. Briscoe What I need most is what I dont have. And that needs to be an elder in the church really any size, you need to say, Look, I see what youre doing this is wrong. And when the person makes excuses or says, You know, this is a misunderstanding, I didnt mean to, you know, message that kid inappropriately online, or I didnt mean to Invite them to go do something by ourselves out of, you know, trying to do something bad. WebPete Briscoe answers that question by pointing us to Paul as the perfect example of one who speaks with tender boldness. I hear you say that and I believe in accountability really strongly. And some of it also involved a culture that was willing to cover for wrongdoing. https://www.billionbibles.com/voice-of-the-martyrs.html. The Journal Sentinel reported: Elmbrook resignations are the latest to rock evangelical Christian churches. You can read about them at their website Teaching the Truth. But I had limited contact with him. Well, to answer your question, very bad. Briscoe says that he wants Bent Tree to be a place where people can agree to disagree over this issue. So grateful for those who did and Scot McKnight who came out with a just a powerful, I remember when his blog hit and he said, Every elder has to resign. And within what, wasnt it a week, all of them resigned. So I want you to think about this while you know Bill Hybels is being accused of doing awful things by a dozen women. Im good friends with Vonda Dyer, who worked at Willow and was one of the women who bravely came forward with her story about her interactions with Bill Hybels. Posted by Jonathan Deatherage on Apr 02, 2019. You know, Hybels daughter had her own book on Oprahs book club. Heres my belief, Julie, I think the church at large, the big leaders in evangelicalism, we can name names if we want to, and Im sure that people have names on their mind when theyre hearing this, Why were they silent? He is with us today to talk about growing communication skills to improve preaching as well as how we can find deeper fulfillment in our work and lives. Yet, Scripture and to how to teach it became new and deep and exciting every week as I listened to Pete in the short three years I have been at Bent Tree. They have to be theyre incredibly convincing. Hes like, I wasnt trying to protect the man, who by chance was his brother in law. To me, Bill did not come across as a predator, flirty or suggestive with women. It is also the church in which Pete Briscoe, my former wonderful pastor, grew up in. And then everyone could say, Oh, how sad that that one person did that one thing. Well, and that is one aspect of the story that I wanted to explore together because I know that what happened at Willow from my understanding of speaking with Vonda and several victims is that it was far worse, the abuse there and far more pervasive than most people know, and thats one of the frustrations I know of a lot of the victims is that Willow hasnt publicly acknowledged that or publicly said how bad it was. Today, Telling the Truthis heard anytime and anywhere, thanks to international radio programming, the internet, and our mobile app. Stuart Briscoe died on August 3 "of natural causes unexpectedly" according to a tweet from his son, Pete Briscoe. And something else that you mentioned about the board, which I found fascinating was that the Willow Creek board had an awful lot of lawyers on it. With that purpose in mind, they launched theTelling the Truth ministry. And its not something you can control like traditional mainstream media. For that we are forever grateful. Not so much at Willow till after, because I was so wrapped up in the Harvest stuff at that time and the Moody stuff that I didnt really have the capability or the bandwidth to do much reporting about Willow. And these men are good actors. Think about the psychology of someone who could be doing what was alleged by Pat Baranowski to have been done to her. It is also the church in which Pete Briscoe, my former wonderful pastor, grew up in. Stuart and Jill Briscoe have always had a passion for teaching God's Word and speaking Truth into people's hearts and moving them toward God. Yeah, that is super dangerous. For the next 90 minutes, Pete Briscoe enraptured us with his presentation of The Bema. I was blown away. If you go back and you look at Bill Hybels books in retrospect, Im amazed at some of the things that are contained in his books that people became okay with. Everything started to make sense. Well, I want to turn our discussion to what youve experienced at your own church, which is a multi-site mega church there in the Dallas Fort Worth area, because those are things where youve been able to apply some of these lessons that youve learned from watching the negative example maybe of Willow Creek, youve learned an awful lot from going through crisis at your own church. Well, I tried other churches and its more of the same. The church is nondenominational and has woman pastors and elders. It is not a program is not a set of services. He, Becky and their kids have been part of the fabric of BT for so long, it is So you can go to Amazon and enter in Boz Tchividjian and his book will pop up but you need to know what youre looking for because people who are sexual predators, they have an acuity for blending into society in ways that they dont stand out like this is not like, you know, the sexual predator in your church is not some, you know, grease ball sitting outside your kids ministry just kind of looking for a way to get at, like, thats our common image of what a sexual predator is. So disappointed in ECFA. But this is the beauty of I think whats arisen is an independent media. Mitch has seen church governance from both the inside and the outside. They had these Global Leadership Summits. So Im guessing youre not against lawyers being on board. There were some areas or some some critical times when things could have gone differently, but the elders caved in essence to Bill Hybels. that keeps the honest person honest. Like so many of you, I love Pete. Its good to be visiting with you again. Very few. Gifted with wisdom, discernment, and a bit of English humor, the Briscoe's bring God's Word to life. Or what is the church think about Calvinism? something along those lines. He even cites a conversation with Darrell Bock, a member who disagrees with the elders but who also says it is not an issue worth dividing over. But it was after a period of I dont know the details, and I dont know how much youre at liberty to say them, but its my understanding he went away for a period of time to kind of reflect and assess how he was doing and how he was handling things. The radio program began to attract listeners and supporters, enabling the ministry to expand its broadcasting to a growing number of stations throughout the United States and abroad. You have your identity rooted in something other than Christ, the centrality of Christ. Put a skin tag on it or a flesh tag. Heres my belief, Julie, I think the church at large, the big leaders in evangelicalism, we can name names if we want to, and Im sure that people have names on their mind when theyre hearing this, Why were they silent? I think that they were scared of what Ill call the Christian Industrial Complex that had risen up around Bill, the economic consequences of speaking out on a topic of high consequence. It is. I did live it. Yeah, I think youre gonna be waiting a while. Its designed to be fought asymmetrically. Pete Briscoe was Senior Pastor of Bent Tree Bible Fellowship in Carrollton, TX for nearly 30 years. Well, lets talk a little bit about the leadership that protected him because I think that is the question that I keep hearing over and over from folks is, How do we prevent this from happening? Theyre not holding anybody accountable then. With distinctly different teaching styles, you'll be moved by the emotional appeal of Jill and the compelling logic of Stuart, as they boldly proclaim God's sovereignty, grace, and love. Basically, theyre a rubber stamp. I think ultimately, we are still kind of under the inertia of a culture that was fomented by Pete Briscoe, which was a culture of goodness, a culture of grace and its still carrying forward under that momentum. And now lets put that in the past. Willow did not want to reckon with the deformed culture that had manifested underneath Bills leadership. I dont know. It is also the church in which Pete Briscoe, my former wonderful pastor, grew up in. Okay. So Mitch has a very unique perspective. I think the larger the platform, the more rigorous the accountability needs to be. Now youre a lawyer. He was like one of these, I think until Scot decided to speak up, it was, Willow had credulity to say, These are people outside our tribe who are criticizing us. Like if you go back and you actually read his books line-on-line, there are some things in there in those books where you go, For a pastor, that should be unacceptable. But he was attenuating his church culture and culture at large to him in his behavior. Everyone I knew from childhoodparents, grandparents, pastors, Sunday School teacherswas upright and honest. I think there was a culture of pride at Willow that basically said, We are the elite of the Christian world. And I really was hopeful that there was going to be a public apology, and yet, None. Do you understand what Im saying? Jill Im doing well but probably not as well as you because youre on vacation in Florida. Then, I did what all good Christian college students did at that time I acquired a boot-leg copy of the drama and listened to it several times on my own. In another area, it might be used to groom someone and use vulnerability as a mechanism to draw people into something that is corrupt. He currently leads a multi-faceted media ministry called Telling the Truth which he shares with his parents Stuart and Jill Briscoe. Hybels at one point had a major conflict with a woman who was serving on the elder board, who was trying to hold him accountable and essentially used a reconciliation process involving some other big names in evangelicalism to essentially run her off, put her under an NDA. So whos supposed to hold whos supposed to hold the leaders accountable in that structure? They show up, they sell books. Just go to BuyACar123.com. Its one of the beauties and the deformities of social media is social media is agile. He now coaches Pete Briscoe | Brookfield WI. And when I came into the representation, that was a new term to me, Id never heard anything like it. Thank you for joining us in seeing to it that no one misses the grace of God. I thought that emails could always be recovered, even after being erased, by a good IT person. As I was working through the Willow Creek representation with these women, the thing that kept cropping up to me was the Milgram experiment. How do spot a safe pastorand can. I encourage leaders to research their selection criteria carefully before they recruit for their next vacancies. For the next 90 minutes, Pete Briscoe enraptured us with his presentation of The Bema.. I agree, Pastor Bob. Subscribe Sign up for my daily email devotionals and to stay in touch! And if you are not willing to as an organism, or as an organization say, We messed up. You know, Willow creeks pastors family members benefit from the Penumbra of Willow Creek and its just sheer size within evangelicalism. This is a calling. But you had said you had gotten this manual and it was about, you know, basically how to be an elder and how to lead. Hi Julie, my name is Teresa and I was wondering if Voice of the Martyr was a good place to donate. Just what I call a deformed leadership culture at the church where certain things became acceptable that shouldnt. I I have been a child of God since I was four and in ministry most of my life. Grace of God, a move of the Bema I applaud him for vision for leadership for everything our came... Does our elder board at Willow that basically said, we have character! With heavy hearts that the elders of Bent Tree to be able to come speak! Contact us or click here to learn more about how you saw this playing out at Willow became people. Through therapy notes Word to life I had no idea what to expect as this lone man stood the. Board navigate things differently with that pastor that I already knew within, you should have one on! 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