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A Warning For Willow Chicago, Part 10: UPDATE Monday 6/22/15

November 28, 2013

I will be posting updates of our situation as it relates to Willow Chicago here. Please keep us and everyone associated with Willow in prayer.

Read The Full “Public Letter” Here.

Video of Jon relieving Fran of his job here.


Monday 6/6/16

Monday 6/22/15

Thursday 11/29/13

1. On Wednesday we were contacted by Willow Barrington and asked not to attend the campus in Chicago until the “conflict” between Jon and I has been resolved. The first reason given is that there has been no resolution of said conflict. I’m not sure how you resolve a conflict when one party has shown no humility and doesn’t think he did anything wrong. There has never been an attempt by Jon to resolve our “conflict”, and Willow’s last attempt was our last meeting with them on Aug 12th.

The second reason given was for my proclamation during last Sunday’s service of “You should be ashamed of yourself Jon”. I said it during Jon’s speech relieving Fran of his job, which you can view here.

Up until this point I have refrained from discussing Willow’s decision to remove Fran as worship pastor first and foremost because Fran’s told the congregation he wants it that way. Unfortunately that’s no longer possible since I’ve been asked not to return to my church because of something related to Fran’s situation.

We no longer have a conflict with Jon. For many reasons Jon is no longer beyond reproach and in no way should be the pastor of any church until he resigns, repents and is restored by God. My “conflict” with Jon ended when Willow refused to take any action in regards to our concerns. After that my only responsibility to God was to warn His children and leave Willow Chicago.

2. Tara and I have decided to leave Willow Creek. We stopped our automatic tithe today. As always God’s timing is perfect since Tara and I leave for Australia today for a few weeks. This fortunately allows our friend who runs Wash and Worship while we’re gone to continue serving Chicago’s homeless at Willow Chicago.

Please pray that when we get back there is smooth transition that will allow us to continue bringing homeless men and women to another church. I originally wanted to publish the “Public Letter” a month ago, but after praying about it I decided to wait, and in light of Jon’s recent decisions I now know why.

While we wont be attending services or members of Willow Chicago, we both hope to still be able to attend our Next Level Bible studies that we’ve spent the last year a part of.

3. I’d like to address a common question people have asked of me.

Why not get a group of people together and go in front of Bill?- This was my original intent after our last meeting with Willow in August, until someone pointed out to me that Bill’s not going to remove Jon under any circumstances.

Many people have told me that the entire advisory board that was put in place to find a new pastor after Steve Wu’s firing was in strong opposition to Jon being pastor. So strong that when Jon was hired in the face of unanimous opposition, that many of them left the church. When I optimistically told this person about my vision to get concerned members of the congregation together and go before Bill, the person told me that there was more clout, power and influence on the advisory counsel then anything I’d be able to muster.

The history, relationship and ties between Jon and Bill run extremely deep. Beyond work or church or friendship and from what I understand, the decision to hire Jon was a unilateral one made by Bill.

I still believe that Bill is a sincere man that is eager to do God’s will. With this in mind, I urge everyone to write Bill Hybels in regards to Jon. Bill reads everything that is sent to him and he needs to hear from anyone who is interested in saving Willow Chicago.

We want to take this opportunity to thank everyone for your support and prayers. The phone calls and emails have been such a blessing.


Justin and Tara Obriecht

From → Willow Creek

  1. Appalled permalink

    Wow! You screamed out an insult to the pastor during the service, which was very jarring and disrespectful to the entire congregation, and you expected to be welcomed to continue worshiping there? You have an astounding lack of judgement. You have attacked someone’s Facebook post and tried to get them fired or to change their opinions just because they don’t align with yours, and you expect them to still keep you as a Facebook friend so you can continue using their words against them? What planet are you from? If you had done that kind of behavior at a major artistic event in Chicago, security guards would have hauled you out the door in cuffs.

    • Appalled,

      Thank you for your thoughts and comments. Your description of events are a bit skewed and incomplete, and your analogy is a poor one because pastors and church leaders are held to a different standard than performers. The Biblical response to those leaders not adhering to those standards are also different (1 Timothy 5:19-20).

      It would also be helpful if you wern’t anonymous​.

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