The Willow Creek Association is a phenomenal resource for churches to partner with. Every year they offer one of the largest leadership events on the globe. The Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit. They gather business, church, and political leaders to talk leadership. There are more than 7,000 people that attend the event and more than 60,000 people that watch live via the internet from all over the globe. Fast Company did an article on the Summit last winter here.
This year Howard Shultz, president and CEO of Starbucks, was scheduled to speak when a very sad Change.Org petition was created. This petition was encouraging people to boycott Starbucks, because Willow Creek is “anti-gay”. The lead pastor at Willow Creek is Bill Hybels. Hybels is a phenomenal leader, and handled this situation better than anyone could expect. He shared his heart and compassion for Starbucks under this pressure, he answered the question if they are anti-gay, (which they aren’t) and he found a new presenter to take place.
I am impressed the way Hybels handled this challenge. If more leaders could handle small struggles as well as he did, than their organizations would be set for greatness.