Skip to main content

Experience Spiritual Wholeness

Share This article


Steve Carter grew up without his biological father being a part of his life. His parents divorced when he was little and he a turbulent relationship with his mom and stepdad. His family weren’t Christians. However, since they weren’t impressed with the public schools in their area, they sent Steve to a private Christian school. This changed the trajectory of his life.  In the seventh grade, Steve gave his heart to Jesus and got baptized.

After graduating from Hope International University with a degree in Biblical Studies, Steve began serving in ministry.  Eventually, he became the lead teaching pastor at Willow Creek Community Church. After years of service while gaining the trust of the leadership and congregation, Bill Hybels decided to retire and named Steve the co-lead pastor to take over the 25,000-member church. After the announcement in 2018, Steve and his family felt like their dreams were coming true. Yet, a few months later, it all came crashing down when allegations of sexual abuse came out against Bill Hybels.

When Steve wanted to know the truth, he was met with anger from Hybels and several other church leaders. They hired a public relations team to handle damage control. Feeling sick, Steve knew he had to get to the bottom of the allegations. Meeting with each victim, he prayed for discernment as he listened to their stories. After meeting with the women, Steve believed them. He went to leadership again, pleading with them to address the issue and apologize to the victims for any wrongdoing but to no avail. Hybels continued to deny the allegations.

At that moment, Steve faced one of the hardest decisions in his life. Should he preserve his job, friends, home, and life that he and his family dreamed of and be a part of the cover-up, or do the right thing by telling the truth? He chose the latter and resigned from Willow Creek. Angry parishioners and leaders at the church were hurt and furious with Steve. As horrible messages began pouring in, Steve knew he had to protect his family and take them somewhere they could find healing and solace during this dark time. They packed up everything and moved to Arizona.


After moving, feeling heartbroken and lost, Steve cried out to God for words of hope. What he heard in response was to grieve, to breathe, and to receive.

Steve admits, “I knew how to achieve but I didn’t know how to grieve.”

In his book Grieve, Breathe, Receive, Steve shares how to walk through pain and come out better on the
other side:

1.    Grieve: Allowing oneself time and space to process loss and disappointment.

2.    Breathe: Slow down and take the time to inhale God's grace, peace, and love while exhaling negativity
and pain.

3.    Receive: Be open to lessons, surprises, and the healing that God provides.


After over four years in Arizona, Steve’s children wanted to move back ‘home’ to Chicago where their friends were. After much prayer, he and his wife agreed and moved back to Illinois. Today, Steve is a lead pastor at Forest City Church, he hosts the CRAFT AND CHARACTER podcast and helps others reach their God-given potential.

Learn more about Steve Carter.

Share Your Story

Share This article

About The Author

Angell Vasko

Angell Vasko joined CBN in 1999. Acting as Floor Producer and Guest Coordinating Producer for The 700 Club, Angell briefs the cohosts before the live show and acts as a liaison between the control room and show talent during the broadcast.