Will participate in restoration process
Willow Creek Community Church’s Senior Pastor Bill Hybels has announced the resignation of the head of the church’s Chicago campus because of “sexual impurity.”
The Rev. Steve Wu has left as campus pastor of the Chicago branch of the South Barrington megachurch. He’s “taken full responsibility for his sin,” according to a church statement.
Hybels, who founded Willow Creek, hired Wu in 2006 to lead and help establish Willow Creek Chicago, which held its first service that year.
Willow Creek, with its 20,000 members, is routinely listed as one of the most influential Evangelical churches in the country.
‘Sexual impurity’ is cited in pastor’s resignation from Willow Creek Chicago
Wu, 43, moved from California’s Silicon Valley in early 2006, hired by senior pastor Rev. Bill Hybels to lead Willow Creek Chicago, the downtown branch of the South Barrington-based church.
Under Wu, Willow Creek Chicago began holding Sunday services at the historic Auditorium Theatre in October 2006, becoming Willow Creek’s fifth campus and drawing a diverse congregation of more than 1,200 worshipers to the new church.
Willow Creek Community Church is one of the most influential evangelical churches in the nation with more than 20,000 members who worship at six locations throughout Illinois, as well as an international church community.
During Sunday services on Jan. 25, one of the church Elders, Greg Haecker, read a brief statement to the Willow Chicago congregation announcing Wu’s resignation effective immediately.
The statement said: “He admitted to sexual impurity and has taken full responsibility for his sin. He has expressed a desire to participate in a restoration process.”
The statement also said Todd Katter has agreed to serve as interim campus pastor while the church searches for Wu’s replacement.
Willow’s director of communication Ted Allen Miller said he could not comment further on the church’s definition of sexual impurity. But he said the church learned about the misconduct when Wu came to church leaders and admitted inappropriate actions.
Wu has a unique background, with roots in corporate and ministry settings. In Silicon Valley, Wu held leadership roles in Genesis Technology Inc. and Twin Peaks Software. After that, he entered religious life and started a church. Before moving to Chicago, he was a pastor at Crosswinds Church in the San Francisco Bay area.