Addressing trauma and loss

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Addressing trauma and loss

A personal conversation with Steve Carter

June 25, 2024 -

In this conversation, Dr. Mark Turman interviews Steve Carter about his new book, which explores his journey of resignation from Willow Creek Community Church in the wake of misconduct allegations against the former pastor, Bill Hybels. The book is titled Grieve, Breathe, Receive: Finding a Faith Strong Enough to Hold Us, which reflects the three key words that guided Steve through his season of struggle and healing. The conversation delves into the events surrounding the resignation, the decision-making process, and the challenges of leadership in the face of institutional preservation.

Steve also discusses the themes of grief, breathing, and receiving in the context of personal and ministry transitions. They explore the significance of the Easter weekend and how it aligns with the process of grieving, breathing, and receiving. They also delve into the importance of waiting and how pastors can care for themselves and their families during challenging times. Steve shares insights on the pain, privileges, and promises of ministry, emphasizing the need for both firsthand and secondhand healing.

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  • (03:20): The Traumatic Events at Willow Creek
  • (08:14): Writing the Book: Why Now?
  • (12:59): Resignation: Staying or Leaving?
  • (28:46): Losing Loved Ones and the Impact on Identity
  • (30:40): The Mantra of Grieve, Breathe, Receive
  • (36:30): The Journey from Grief to Receiving
  • (40:34): The Difference Between Hope Preached and Hope Embodied
  • (43:34): The Relationship to Waiting and the Definition of Grief
  • (46:38): Honoring Feelings and Trusting God in the Waiting
  • (49:14): Caring for Family in Ministry and the Importance of Healing
  • (52:08): Acknowledging the Pain, Privileges, and Promises of Ministry
  • (54:08): Steve Carter’s Current Work and Podcast


About Steve Carter

Steve Carter is a pastor, speaker, author, podcast host, and the former lead teaching pastor of Willow Creek Community Church in Chicago. He hosts the Craft & Character podcast, where he helps people get better at the art and craft of communication while ensuring their character always leads the way.

An avid sports fan, Steve has co-hosted with ESPN sports anchor Samantha Ponder, NFL player Sam Acho, and Trey Burton The Home Team Podcast, which unpacks the intersection between faith, culture, sports, and family.

With a degree in Biblical Studies from Hope International University, Steve has a heart for the local church. He is currently a teaching pastor at Forest City Church in Elgin, IL, and often speaks for churches, conferences, events, camps, and retreats all over the country. Steve lives in Chicagoland with his wife, Sarah, and their two kids.

About Dr. Mark Turman

Dr. Mark Turman is the Executive Director of Denison Forum and Vice President of Denison Ministries. Among his many duties, Turman is most notably the host of The Denison Forum Podcast. He is also the chief strategist for DF Pastors, which equips pastors and church leaders to understand and transform today’s culture.

About Denison Forum

Denison Forum exists to thoughtfully engage the issues of the day from a biblical perspective through The Daily Article email newsletter and podcast, The Denison Forum Podcast, as well as many books and additional resources.

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