of Willow Creek Community Church is the 17th recipient of Olivet Nazarene University’s Maggie Sloan Crawford Award. She visited campus and accepted the award during the morning chapel service
on Wednesday, October 9, 2013, in the Betty and Kenneth Hawkins Centennial Chapel.
Hybels — an author, social activist, and founder of the Willow Creek Community Church along with her husband, Bill — delivered the keynote address for the students, faculty, staff and other guests in attendance. As part of her message, she raised awareness about the plight of women in Africa’s Democratic Republic of Congo and the work that World Relief
is doing there.
“I read Isaiah 58 every day for 30 days,” Hybels said. “I prayed, ‘God, what is mine to do?’ Once I knew, I couldn’t sit back and do nothing.”
After traveling to the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2008, Hybels initiated a movement called “Ten for Congo” to raise awareness and funding for those suffering because of Congo’s ongoing civil war.
“There, I discovered a tragedy worse than I’d ever imagined,” she said. “I also discovered the most powerful force in the world: hope.”
That same year, she began traveling regularly to Israel and the Palestinian Territory to stand in solidarity with both Jewish and Arab peacemakers who are committed to security and equality for all people living in the Holy Land.
“There is always someone needier than we are,” Hybels said, “and we must help them. The antidote to despair is action. Each of us has the power to do something. When we join our efforts together, we can begin to change the world.”
Hybels has also been an active volunteer in Willow Creek's ministry partnerships in under-resourced communities in the Chicago area, Latin America and Africa. She is particularly involved with Willow’s Spanish-speaking congregation, Casa de Luz.
She has served on the World Vision’s U.S. Board of Directors and on the Africa Advisory Board for Willow Creek Community Church, and currently serves on the President Barack Obama’s Advisory Board on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. She also volunteers with various grassroots peacemaking organizations in Africa and the Middle East.
Growing up in Michigan, she graduated from Bethel College, Mishawaka, Ind., with a B.A. in social sciences. She is the author of Nice Girls Don’t Change the World and writes regularly on issues related to personal faith and biblical justice. She blogs at lynnehybels.com, tenforcongo.com and webelongtoeachother.org.
The Maggie Sloan Crawford Award is presented to an outstanding woman whose life exemplifies the highest Christian ideals and whose faith is evident in her commitment to service. It was created by the four sons of Olivet’s first graduate, Maggie Sloan Crawford, as a lasting tribute to their mother. Also attending the award presentation was Marsha (Crawford) Coats, Maggie’s granddaughter and the wife of U.S. Senator Dan Coats of Indiana.