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My heart has broken over the past few months for the Willow Creek congregation. I cannot imagine the stress, grief, and corporate pain they’re walking through. As a sexual abuse survivor, I can step into the shoes of those who have experienced harassment, and I have so much empathy for the path they’ve walked. I woke up this morning to news that the entire leadership of Willow will be stepping down.
As Paul reminds us, “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” (2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT). While this verse is targeted toward new believers who are coming into their understanding of a brand new life, I believe it’s encouraging for struggling churches as well. The newness can spring forth.
In Christianity, there can always be resurrection–at least the potential for it. Jesus reminds us that life springs from death. “I tell you the solemn truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains by itself alone. But if it dies, it produces much grain” (John 12:24 NET). That’s my prayer for the congregation at Willow Creek, that life would emerge from the ashes of this painful pivot in their history.
Today I felt prompted to pray out loud for this church, though it is not my own. I remembered the first chapter of Nehemiah where he weeps at the destruction of his beloved Jerusalem. All things seemed lost and broken, yet he prays. He intercedes. He confesses the sins of Israel, though they were not his own. So in today’s extra episode of Pray Every Day, I will read Nehemiah 1 before I pray for the church, its leaders, the congregation, and the aftermath.
Would you join me in interceding for a church in need of support and love?