Another major US based ministry has cut ties with Exodus International, the largest organization which claims to help people “leave homosexuality.” An event earlier this year caused us to check the Exodus affiliate listing to see if mega-church Willow Creek of Barrington Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, was still listed there. They had been an Exodus affiliate for years but were indeed no longer listed.
A question to Alan Chambers concerning their affiliation with Willow Creek received no response, so we contacted Susan DeLay, Media Relations Manager for Willow Creek. The following concise response came through Scott Vaudrey of their Elder Response Team:
After a recent review of our affiliations we determined that, moving into the future, we no longer intend to be affiliated with Exodus International.
Willow Creek is an interdenominational, Evangelical Christian mega-church with satellite campuses throughout the country. With a 24,000 member congregation, it is the third largest church in the US and has been called the “most influential church in America” according to a poll of pastors over the past few years.
A church with such success and respect tends to be a bellwether for the Christian Church in general, certainly in this country. The trend of major ministries disassociating themselves from Exodus may indeed be on the increase. Combined with what appear to be dismal economic times for them, Exodus may have an increasingly rough road ahead.
This certainly is a contrast to the heady predictions of just a few years ago. In 2008, Exodus predicted they would have 10,000 churches in their network by 2010 — ambitious to say the least. Their current enrollment of approximately 135 falls somewhat short of that goal.
Taken with the odd departure of Exodus Vice President Randy Thomas and the lateral promotion of Jeff Buchanan to fill his position, one could say the Exodus message is ringing untrue with an increasing number of the faithful. Of course, Exodus will likely see this as “straying from the Biblical truth” or an attempt to “tickle the ears of the sinful” but then that’s always the case, isn’t it?