Seth Udinski, FISM News
In the latest update to the controversy surrounding the global megachurch Hillsong, the church announced recently that it will perform a serious overhaul of its current global board to include more women. The church’s goal is for the board to comprised of at least 40% women.
Though some will praise the global megachurch for its movement towards “diversity,” many question whether this is a legitimate attempt at diversity or simply a quick-fix bandage to cover over the church’s recent slew of sexual immorality charges against prominent pastors.
The controversy hit news headlines in 2020, when Hillsong NYC pastor Carl Lentz admitted to adultery and stepped down from his role. Then in early 2022, Discovery+ released a tell-all docuseries on the controversial underbelly of the global megachurch.
The series spent considerable time exploring the powerful brand of Hillsong founder Brian Houston, who had served as the church’s lead pastor from its founding in 1983 until his own controversial resignation this past year.
FISM News covered two separate allegations that contributed to the lead pastor’s downfall – charges of sexual assault from multiple women, and a conspiracy to cover up homosexual child abuse committed by Houston’s late father Frank, also a pastor, in the 1970s.
On Tuesday, church executives announced the changes in a meeting at the church’s home base in Australia. They revealed that multiple global members have either resigned or changed roles, including Brian Houston’s son Benjamin.
According to The Christian Post, the overhaul came only months after a call to accountability from Hillsong Phoenix Lead Pastor Terry Crist, in which the Phoenix pastor demanded the global board be scrutinized.
Crist said at the time,
As information began to leak out as to what was in the report, and as the global board made the decision to increase financial controls within the churches, lead pastors were suddenly asked to sign NDAs and non-competes. Some of us couldn’t do that in good conscience.
It should be noted that multiple location pastors have resigned since Houston’s downfall, many of them in an effort to separate from the institution’s poor handling of the widespread abuse.