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GLS Update

Posted by Randy Youngblood, Lead Pastor on

Like Abel, we want the influence of our lives to be speaking decades after we are gone!  I believe every life I touch will receive a better touch for the rest of my life because of I have invested these two days at the Global Leadership Summit!  It’s time to register now! The lowest host site rate of $89 is available through June 26. Students and anyone affiliated with the military will receive the $89 rate until the day of the event. 

To register, visit our website by clicking here. Please use the Host Priority Code: 18HSFAMILY to take advantage of the $89 rate. 

To the 100 or so people of Thunder Mountain Church who have attended GLS in the past, you have gotten a couple of emails from the Willow Creek Association in regards to Bill Hybels stepping down and taking an early retirement. For those who haven't gotten such emails, you are probably unaware that he will not be at the Summit this year. I feel an obligation to summarize a complicated situation.

Critics have maintained that there has been a pattern of inappropriate interactions with women over a period of three decades that has recently been brought to light. His accusers are not alleging Bill guilty of sexual misconduct but when an independent investigator, employed by the elders of Willow Creek Community Church, cleared Bill of wrongdoing his accusers began to go public with their stories. Recognizing that people did not feel respected or listened to during the initial process, they reopened their investigation.

Bill Hybels is no longer associated with Willow Creek Community Church or the Willow Creek Association, which produces the Global Leadership Summit (GLS) that we participate in each year.

My conclusions are that this is a complicated mess where stories are being told about people that I have respected. This illustrates once more that we are all fallen individuals.

We are still promoting the GLS this year because, to me and the leadership of Thunder Mountain, it represents a move of God and not the embodiment of Bill Hybels.

I don’t know what the future holds.  IF the GLS is what we have believed it to be, a premier leadership event built by the Spirit of God, it will continue to endure.  

I’m attending the Senior Pastor debriefing takes place in August, directly following the Summit. Mark Pitts and I booked our flights right away because we believe this to be a very critical meeting. BUT, I am holding my breath to see how many Sr. Pastors will decline to participate without the “star” power of Bill Hybels’ presence. I’d like to think everyone is immune to that temptation, but I need to see how many still attend before I can predict the future of the GLS.

While Bill has been the visionary who has stewarded the GLS very well to this point, the Summit is much larger than one person. I believe his absence, which is appropriate given these circumstances, should not detract from the benefit GOD brings to our church every year through this event.

There was an email from a man named Benjamin Wheeler with a video encouraging solidarity with victims, which Mr. Wheeler claimed to know personally. However, he and his claims have been shown to be a hoax.

My Conclusion

I have read the accusers letters, listened to the Willow Creek Elders, and I have heard Bill’s explanations. It is a sad and difficult situation that causes me to ask, “God, how are You going to use this for good?” (Romans 8:28)

There does, however, appear to have been a pattern of conversations Bill has engaged in a few times over a period of thirty years...and that matters to me. It also appears that he has taught the “Billy Graham Rule” better than he has practiced it (to never be alone with a person of the other gender who is not your spouse).

Not all of the accusations are exactly what they seem to be on the surface, but some are and Bill’s early retirement was warranted.

At least one person tried to confront Bill on his behavior around the time it occurred. Others, who are now going public, appear to have skipped the first step of Matthew 18:15-17 and that bothers me too. None of his accusers are suggesting sexual misconduct...but that does not excuse what has happened.

It is our responsibility to pray for reconciliation and for God’s glory to become evident in the lives and actions of flawed individuals, on both sides of this controversy.

I ask that we pray for how those outside the church, who have attended GLS and have been getting these emails (some are my friends). Pray that they can come to know, love, and serve Jesus somehow through this!

In my opinion, the GLS has always been a move of God through flawed individuals and nothing here corrupts the event. This controversy will cause people, who have been following Bill, to withdraw their participation. However, I am not one of those people attracted to Bill or his “star power.”

We will continue to promote GLS without reservation this year because it has been, and should continue to be, a world-class event which has been the single most effective means God has used to develop me and the leadership for our church.


I thought you’d like to hear about how the international part of our Christmas Offering is being used!

Dear Pastor Randy, 



Greetings to you today. 

How are you today? 

Our mission will leave going to the tribal areas to strengthen the churches. Your donation of a vehicle is a great blessing. We will also distribute school supplies to the tribal children as well as water filters and water jugs for their drinking water. 

Many families are affected by the bad water so they are so happy for the water filters. 

Our communal church farm needs to be developed so that we can have additional income for the needs of church planting and mission works. We are having a tree farm to be developed. 

Please pray for our church project of generating mission funds for the works of reaching more souls. 

May God bless you.

In His service, F

rom Pastor A & E



It was by faith that Abel brought a more acceptable offering to God than Cain did. Abel’s offering gave evidence that he was a righteous man, and God showed his approval of his gifts. Although Abel is long dead, he still speaks to us by his example of faith. Hebrews 11:4 (NLT)


No gift can substitute for the gift of your heart. How do you recognize when you start “going through the motions” and what do you do about giving your heart to our Heavenly Father?

Your legacy of faith will be built by your priorities.  What did you move for God and when did you move God for something?

Your faith, like Abel’s, will be your voice speaking from one generation to the next!


Have you ever struggled to believe “God can use ME?!?”  Come this week to hear how God patiently taught him to trust . . . and deliver!


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