Born: in Kalamazoo, MI, The United States December 12, 1951 , December 12, 1951
Bill Hybels is the founding and senior pastor of Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, Illinois, a non-denominational church with eight regional locations in the Chicago area. He is the bestselling author of more than twenty books, including Simplify, Axiom, Holy Discontent, Just Walk Across the Room, The Volunteer Revolution, Courageous Leadership, Too Busy Not to Pray, and Becoming a Contagious Christian.
Hybels launched Willow Creek Community Church in 1975 with his wife, Lynne (Berry), and a group of friends who gathered in rented space in a movie theater with a vision of helping people from any faith background (or no faith at all) become fully devoted followers of Jesus. Utilizing contemporary music, the arts, relevant teaching from the Bible, and a small-groups community focus that has revolutionized how people experience community in the local church, Willow Creek has grown to more than 25,000 attendees, one of the largest churches in North America—and one of the most influential.
In 1992, Hybels launched Willow Creek Association, a not-for-profit organization that equips, inspires, and empowers leaders around the world. In 1995, he convened WCA’s first Global Leadership Summit, an annual two-day event featuring top leaders from all perspectives and areas of expertise—both faith-based and secular (past speakers include Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell, Bono, Melinda Gates, Andy Stanley, Jim Collins, Ed Catmull, Tyler Perry, Sheryl Sandberg, Nicholas Kristof, David Gergen, and Brené Brown). Telecast live from Willow Creek’s 7,000-seat South Barrington auditorium each August, more than 400,000 pastors and community leaders attend the Summit at hundreds of locations across North America, and around the world at 675+ sites in 130 countries and 60 different languages—making it the largest event of its kind on the planet. “Everyone wins when a leader gets better,” Hybels says.
Hybels holds a bachelor’s degree in Biblical Studies and an honorary Doctorate of Divinity from Trinity College (now Trinity International University) in Deerfield, Illinois. He and his wife, Lynne, have two grown children and two grandsons.