Willow Creek Pastor Dave Dummitt Tests Positive for COVID-19 on Heels of Global Leadership Summit

By Bob Smietana
Willow Creek Pastor Dave Dummitt
Willow Creek Pastor Dave Dummitt has tested positive for COVID-19 (Video screengrab)

The senior pastor of an influential Chicagoland megachurch has tested positive for COVID-19.

Dave Dummitt was supposed to preach this weekend at Willow Creek Community Church but had to bow out after receiving a positive COVID test on Saturday.

“Just so you know, he is feeling fine, just mild symptoms,” Shawn Williams, pastor of Willow Creek’s South Barrington campus told worshipers in a live stream of church services.

Dummit, who became Willow Creek’s senior pastor in 2020, was tested for COVID after learning that a family member had tested positive for the virus. He informed church leadership and is now isolating at home, Willow Creek executive pastor Tim Stevens stated in an email.

The church has informed staff and others who may have had close contact with Dummitt.

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“Anyone on the contact list is being encouraged to stay isolated and get tested 3 to 5 days after exposure, per CDC guidelines,” said Stevens. 

Citing privacy concerns, Stevens could not confirm whether or not Dummitt has been vaccinated. 

“We are praying for the Dummitt family, as well as everyone who continues to be impacted by the global pandemic, he said.  

Dummitt’s positive test comes on the heels of Willow Creek’s Global Leadership Summit, which was held August 4-5. He attended the summit at Willow Creek’s South Barrington campus. 

Tom De Vries, president of the Global Leadership Network, stated that Willow Creek had informed him of Dummitt’s positive test. De Vries said the network was doing contract tracing and informing people who had been in close contact with Dummitt of the positive test. 

De Vries said the leadership summit had followed CDC guidelines and limited seating at the South Barrington campus to 30% during the event. 

In early March 2020, megachurch pastor Craig Groeschel, had to quarantine after being exposed to COVID-19 during a Global Leadership Summit event in Germany. That event was concluded early after a speaker became ill with the coronavirus. 

Dummitt became pastor of Willow Creek in 2020, two years after Bill Hybels, the church’s co-founder, resigned after being accused of sexual misconduct and abuse of power. The two pastors initially named to succeed Hybels also resigned within months. Dummit’s recent statements to address the misdeeds of former pastor Hybels have been criticized by abuse victims’ advocates.

Founded in 1975, Willow Creek has been one of the most influential evangelical churches in the country for decades. The church drew as many as 25,000 to services at its height. That number had dropped to about 18,000 after Hybels resigned.

Bob SmietanaBob Smietana is a national reporter for Religion News Service.



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7 thoughts on “Willow Creek Pastor Dave Dummitt Tests Positive for COVID-19 on Heels of Global Leadership Summit”

  1. Cody Laumeister

    What sort of Global Leadership does Willow Creek think it’s an example of, if people are being exposed to, and infected with, covid at their events ?

    These people are living in a fantasy world, first in thinking Hybels was some kind of exemplary leader, and now with this. Willow is deep in the weeds of the character and public health failures of our time and culture. They are in no position to teach anyone else how to lead.

    Who is ? Bill Gates, for one, who saw a covid type event coming, and said so. As anyone could who understands the recurrent nature of viral plagues in human history, as well as our newly interconnected world where no pathogen can remain geographically isolated for long.

    If that sticks in the craw of Christians, it should. A little bit of science and foresight beat ALL the supposed “prophecy” of the Christian world. And the secular response to covid is putting to shame that of non-charismatic evangelicals, so this is not just a failure of one camp or another. It’s a Christian failure, to the extent that Christians are responding to real problems with magical thinking.

    1. I consider this largely a trust issue. Many American Christians feel the mainstream media has been hostile towards them (which I don’t disagree with) and no longer trust the messenger when it comes to Covid. I think the dynamic is similar to those who want to defund the police because that trust has been undermined. In both cases, there are plenty of people eager to self-promote by inflaming that mistrust, both in the media and in politics. So you find people trusting the voices/ sources that are friendly to them and their world-view regardless of whatever facts are presented to the contrary.

      1. I partially agree with your comment about trust, Loren, but it is not the mainstream media that define the medical advice regarding COVID-19, it is the actual medical and public health community.

        There are ample non-MSM sources for anyone to hear from the medical community, including their own physicians and local hospitals. COVID deniers reject these sources as well.

        1. Conservative media seems to have positioned itself against the medical establishment, and made friends with the outliers. You’ve probably noticed that when people point to these outliers as their trusted sources, they will frequently include their contempt for the main-stream media. Unfortunately, I think the medical establishment kind of got caught in the middle of this hostility. It would be nice if people could be more objective, but here we are.

  2. The article says Dave’s vaccination status is not being shared. Assuming he followed the church’s policy, he must be vaccinated: “Wear a mask at all times if you are not fully vaccinated. If you cannot or do not wish to wear a mask, please join us online!”

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