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A Warning For Willow Chicago, Part 2: Matthew 18

November 27, 2013

You can read this “Public Letter” in it’s entirety here.

You can download this entire “Public Letter” here.

Our Matthew 18 Process

As I said, this all started in March of 2013 when I became friends with Jon on Facebook. But to be perfectly accurate, the issue of homosexuality in relation to Willow Chicago was an issue the Lord had put on our hearts months before. At that time, Tara and I chose to ignore God’s promptings because of concerns for unity in the church, our love for Jon and LGBT individuals, and our reliance on Willow Chicago to run our ministry. We also hoped that God would change Jon’s heart, decisions and actions in regards to homosexuality, in the same way He saves LGBT individuals from same-sex attractions everyday all over the world.

After seeking counsel from several members of Willow Chicago, other pastors and Christian friends, it became clear we’d have to meet with Jon. Even though we had a great relationship with Jon, this wasn’t something we were looking forward to. The following is a brief timeline of our Matthew 18 process with Willow Chicago and Willow Creek Barrington (Willow Creek Barrington is the main campus of Willow Creek Community Church).

– April 3rd 2013: Emailing Jon To Request a Meeting.

I sent Jon the following email:

Hi Jon,

Tara and I were hoping to get an hour of your time to discuss gay marriage and how we and our church should feel about it. 

We have a lot of questions and confusion on the issue and have discussed it with our small group and many other members of the church and they’ve all suggested we talk to you since it seems to be a complicated issue. 

Let us know your thoughts. 

– April 9th 2013: Absent A Response, I Send a Follow Up.

Six days later, I had not received a response, so I followed up with a friendly reminder.Jon responded that same day and mentioned he was on vacation with his family. He told me that he forwarded the email to his assistant and she would be in touch to schedule something.

– April 14th 2013: Meeting With Jon Scheduled.

Five days later I received an email from his assistant offering us a dinner meeting on April 22nd 2013. Tara and I accepted and looked forward to Jon’s explanation and hopefully putting this matter behind us.

– April 21st 2013: Jon Cancels and Reschedules.

The day before our scheduled meeting, Jon sees us after church around 11am with some of our homeless friends, and tells us “you’re doing awesome work for the kingdom” followed by “see you tomorrow night”

At 3pm that same day (Sunday), I received an email from Jon’s assistant telling me the meeting would have to be rescheduled because of a meeting Jon needed to attend for his family schedule. She offered two new dates; the soonest of which was nine days away on April 30th, and the latter was May 6th.

Tara and I were really disappointed. It had been almost a month since we requested the meeting and now at the last second it was being canceled in lieu of a date nine days away.

It’s important to understand that the moment our initial email was sent to Jon on April 3rd, Tara and I were under intense pressure. Pressure we didn’t want. This postponement meant another nine days of having this on our heart.

We accepted the April 30th date and continued praying that God would remove this cup from us, and change Jon’s heart.

If you’d like to discuss this further you can email me at justinobriecht@gmail.com

From → Willow Creek

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