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Hillsong founder Brian Houston phasing out amid scandal

Brian Houston, the founding father of scandal-plagued megachurch Hillsong, has revealed he’s transitioning away from his present function as world senior pastor. The announcement comes amid the church’s barrage of multi-million greenback worldwide lawsuits, his spouse’s apology for body-shaming slurs and a hard-partying high staffer flaunting wild extramarital intercourse romps.

The 66-year-old informed congregants the information on the Australia-based church’s annual Imaginative and prescient Sunday occasion this weekend. Whereas Houston and his controversial sex-book-author spouse Bobbie will proceed to be concerned in Hillsong, he will probably be shifting accountability for what’s the crux of the empire to Gary Clarke, who’s presently the lead pastor of Hillsong’s UK department, he defined.

“So you realize, this 12 months is our 38th 12 months since Bobbie and I began out right here within the Hills,” stated Houston through the second Imaginative and prescient Sunday service of the weekend. “I’ve been doing quite a lot of soul-searching and praying concerning the future and the best way forward.”

Because of the pace of Hillsong’s world progress, he defined, it’s turn into “unsustainable for us to have the ability to lead the whole lot that we’re main proper now. I need to be taking a look at methods we are able to share that load.”

He then emphatically and repeatedly said that “Bobbie and I aren’t going wherever. We’ll nonetheless be round, nonetheless be preaching so long as they need us to,” and are “undoubtedly not retiring. We’re not retiring. We’ll be round.” 

Nevertheless, he admitted, the pair are “heading in direction of our 70s” and he does assume “it’s the fitting season for us to have a look at a complete new season for us personally and for our church as properly,” utilizing the identical language the previous lead pastor of Hillsong’s Dallas department utilized in his resignation announcement.

On account of progress, Houston continued, Gary Clarke and his spouse will start serving to with “the worldwide aspect” and “make investments[ing] into the pastors.”

Clarke has been with Hillsong for over twenty years and claims to have healed lepers, the deaf and folks with polio by prayer alone, the Daily Mail reported in 2019. On the time, Clarke lived in a three-bedroom south London luxurious flat purchased by the church for $2.2 million (£1.6 million) in 2008, in accordance with the publication. 

Brian and Bobbie Houston, the co-founders of Hillsong Church.
Brian and Bobbie Houston, the co-founders of Hillsong Church.
Hillsong Church

A Hillsong insider, who selected to stay nameless, informed The Put up they imagine Houston stored the announcement “deliberately obscure.” World growth, which Clarke seems to be taking up, is “the core of the Hillsong empire,” the insider claimed, and rather a lot for Houston “to give up. He looks as if he desires to wind his function down a bit.”

Houston’s announcement was not the main target of the service and was solely briefly famous by Brian, who made no remark relating to why his three youngsters — all of whom are Hillsong workers — will apparently not be succeeding him within the world growth function, at the moment. 

“Hillsong is a family-run enterprise and most of the people anticipated the children to step up,” the insider claimed. “That’s the issue when your product is predicated on a rave expertise. Hillsong is beginning to look extra like an episode of HBO’s ‘Succession’ collection.”

The official substitute for adulterous pastor Carl Lentz, who was canned final 12 months amid a headline-grabbing dishonest scandal, was additionally introduced on the Imaginative and prescient Sunday service. Whereas former real-estate dealer John Termini has been serving because the interim lead pastor of Hillsong NYC, taking up lots of Lentz’s former tasks, Chrishan and Danielle Jeyaratnam — presently the pastors of Hillsong’s Perth and Bali campuses — will formally start main the church’s NYC department. 

Chrishan and Danielle Jeyaratnam, pictured right here with their youngsters, have been introduced because the official new Hillsong NYC lead pastors, a task beforehand held by Carl and Laura Lentz,
Hillsong Church

“That man lacks the Lentz caché,” a Hillsong insider claimed to The Put up about Jeyaratnam. “He’s merely not cool sufficient. Hillsong should basically rebrand themselves to promote it in NYC.” 

A substitute for Clarke’s former function was additionally introduced.

Hillsong, Lentz, Jeyaratnam, Houston and Clarke couldn’t be reached by The Put up for remark relating to the brand new positions or earlier claims towards Hillsong.

Houston’s shock announcement comes after months of turmoil for the spiritual franchise following the firing of star pastor — and former high-profile pal of Justin Bieber — Carl Lentz in November. Within the wake of Lentz’s termination, former members have been claiming Hillsong is sort of a “cult” and alleged experiences of homophobia, “slave labor” and gross misuse of tithe cash throughout their time on the church’s varied areas and at its eponymous school. Hillsong reps have denied many of those allegations and have repeatedly not responded to The Put up’s requests for remark. As properly, there has not too long ago been a mass exodus of as soon as high-profile pastors, and the church is concerned in at the least two lawsuits.

Earlier than the most recent turmoil, Brian and spouse Bobbie Houston didn’t seem to have thought of transitioning away from their present roles on the megachurch, which they started collectively in 1983. “[Maybe] a 12 months or so in the past. I stated, ‘Honey, when do you assume I ought to retire?’ and [Brian] simply laughed at me! He laughed — in a pleasant method — and was like ‘That’s hilarious!” Bobbie informed Eternity News in a 2019 interview. “I imply, why? I’m not gonna retire from loving God and desirous to serve him as finest I can.” 

Whereas she admitted to being “conscious of age” and “succession,” she informed the publication “there’s nothing inside Brian and I for the time being that wishes to retire.” 

The bulletins come on the heels of Hillsong closing the inner investigation it launched into its East Coast areas after the Lentz scandal broke. In an electronic mail to Hillsong East Coast members on Friday, Feb. 12, Houston introduced the investigation was full and had unearthed “vital methods” its NYC operations had “did not replicate Hillsong world tradition,” however didn’t launch its findings to the general public, Religion News Service reported.


Maya J Fry
Maya J Fry
Problem solver. Entrepreneur. Beer lover. Alcohol practitioner. Music fanatic. Student.


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