Home Christian News Willow Creek Names New Senior Pastor After Year+ of Searching

Willow Creek Names New Senior Pastor After Year+ of Searching

dave dummitt

After a year and half without anyone officially filling the role of senior pastor, Willow Creek Community Church in Chicago announced it has accepted Pastor Dave Dummitt for the position. 

“I’m so excited to become a part of the Willow family,” Dummitt says in a video posted to Willow’s site. “Over these last few months, [my family and I] have sensed God leading us to come and be a part of what he’s doing in and through Willow.”

Dummitt currently leads a multisite church in Michigan called 2|42. He and his wife, Rachel, have four children. The announcement posted to Willow’s site provides more about Dummitt’s background:

David Dummitt is an innovative, entrepreneurial pastor and leader with a strong passion to help people take first and next steps with God. He is known for his collaborative leadership style and ability to develop strong teams.  

Dave is the founding and lead pastor of 2|42 Community Church in Southeast Michigan. Over the last 15 years, 2|42 has grown from a 35-member launch team meeting in Dave’s living room to more than 10,000 people meeting at seven different campuses each weekend. 2|42 was founded on a commitment to community outreach and radical generosity, so they designed their church buildings to serve as community centers with indoor sports and fitness facilities, cafes, playscapes for kids, and a school for the arts open to the public throughout the week. 

Dave attended Wheaton College and Asbury Theological Seminary. He is passionate about the kingdom of God advancing through church planting. Dave previously held the role of North American director of NewThing, a global church-planting organization. He also sat on the board of the Solomon Foundation, the fastest-growing church extension fund, for four years. Additionally, Dave partnered with two gifted technology developers to create Gyve, an innovative technology platform for churches and nonprofits.

Dave loves great movies, water sports, time at the gym, and being able to take off on his Harley. He and his wife, Rachel, met during their time as students at Wheaton College. Together they have four children: Grace, Luke, Joe, and Alex.

What Happened to Willow’s Previous Senior Pastors?

An investigative journalism piece published in the Chicago Tribune in March 2018 put into motion a series of events that the evangelical church at large is still grappling with. For several years now, the evangelical community throughout the world has looked to Willow and founding pastor Bill Hybels as a leader of innovation in evangelism and doing church. That all came into question when the article unpacked a series of allegations against Hybels of sexual misconduct and harassment hit the news stands. If allegations of sexual misconduct weren’t enough, the journalists also found that the church elder board had conducted what it later admitted was an investigation into the allegations that was fraught with “missteps.” The actions and inactions of the elder board during this time ultimately broke the trust between the congregation and the church’s leadership and the whole board ended up resigning. 

Even before the article was published, two pastors had been tapped to be Hybels’ successors–lead teaching pastor Steve Carter and lead senior pastor Heather Larson. Carter and Larson ended up resigning as well, although their involvement in what many feel was a coverup on the part of Willow leadership is a little murky. Carter has since shared a little more about the events that unfolded in 2018. 

The year 2019 didn’t seem to be very much easier for the leadership at Willow Creek as they sought to find a replacement for Larson and Carter. They even lost a couple of campus pastors over the matter. 

Dave Dummitt to Preach First Sermon in June 

An elder update posted to Willow Creek’s site explains Dummitt and his family are planning to move to the Chicago area in May and that his first weekend of preaching will occur on June 6th and 7th. The announcement states the elder board has spent “many hours” with Dummitt and that throughout the process they “continued to see Dave’s ability to lead with humility and strength, as well as his passion to equip and empower strong teams.”

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Megan Briggs is a writer and editor for churchleaders.com. Her experience in ministry, an extensive amount of which was garnered overseas, gives her a unique perspective on the global church. She has the longsuffering and altruistic nature of foreign friends and missionaries to humbly thank for this experience. Megan is passionate about seeking and proclaiming the truth. When she’s not writing, Megan likes to explore God’s magnificent creation.