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The Cult-Like Nature Of Hillsong

The Apostle Paul said to young Timothy,

“This charge I entrust to you, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophecies previously made about you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith…” 1 Timothy 1:18-19

In 2008, Carl Lentz (who used to be a senior pastor of Wave Church), went to a “Hillsong United Conference” and attended one of it’s workshops. He decided to publicly teach on what he received from Hillsong. It is important to note that ‘Hillsong United’ is the infamous Hillsong band. So the source of this dangerous teaching is from the musicians themselves, deceived by the cult-like teachings of Brian Houston. This article will allow readers to take a glimpse into the dangerous cult-like teachings Carl Lentz received from the Hillsong workshop.

What is disturbing in Lentz’ notes is the false teaching he was indoctrinated with. For example, Hillsong’s “… size and reach is a result of a healthy church focused on God”. This is a lie. And this is a lie that has been repeated often enough which many Christians now believe. The size of a church does not determine it is a healthy church. Jesus says not to make judgments on mere appearance but to make a righteous judgment. The best way to judge if a church is healthy is by examining how they handle the Word of God.

When reading the below notes from Carl Lentz, ask yourself these questions:

1. Do you think it is biblical for pastors to teach members to “serve the passion of your house and the vision of your senior pastor”?

2. Where did this teaching on ‘vision’ come from?

3. Are church members called to be “uncomplicated and unopinionated” armour bearers while serving their pastors?

4. Are pastors kings?

5. Is this taught in the bible?

For further information on where this un-Christian doctrine stems from, please read the following:

Hillsong, Rick Warren And Fascism

Keep this information in mind as you read Carl Lentz notes from the 2008 Hillsong United Conference:

Hillsong United Conference: Carl Lentz

Carl Lentz is the Senior Associate Pastor at Wave Church in Virginia Beach, VA and is responsible for the young adults and youth. He presented four key ideas that he took away from his time preparing under Hillsong in Workshop #1 titled “It’s Not Just An Australian Thing”:

  • Just because Hillsong has a big church and lots of people doesn’t mean it started that way
  • It also doesn’t mean you can’t do something powerful in your ministry
  • Their size and reach is a result of a healthy church focused on God
  • It is just as spiritual to take a youth ministry to play football as to a worship service
  • The key is being authenticate in your dealing with them
  • Four ideas to consider based on his experience with Hillsong
  • Idea #1 – your relationship with your senior pastor is going to dictate the fruit of your ministry
    • you need to serve the passion of your house and the vision of your senior pastor
    • if you are serving a vision you are not connected to or a senior pastor you do not agree with, you will see minimal fruit
    • if you are not fully on board, you should leave – that is the most loyal thing you can do as they need your support 100%
    • be an armor bearer, where you simply serve the needs of the king (it is uncomplicated and unopinionated)
    • however you are to your leader today, you will reap as fruit
    • self-examination: if you had 1000 of you, would you be a happy leader? If not, change your attitude and habits
  • Idea #2 – this has to be a calling, not a ministry career
    • they don’t try to hire guns, they raise people that are called
    • looking to the future is great, but if you focus too much on the future you will fall
    • stop looking at the 20 and wishing it was 200, instead look at the 20 and ask God what you should do with the 20
    • God loves the people you lead way too much to let you ignore them
    • the average lifespan of a youth pastor today is 5 months
    • why would a youth minister ever make a long-term decision if they won’t be around?
    • you need to be happy with where you are today and put everything into it as if you will be there for a long time, otherwise you don’t have a calling you have a career
  • Idea #3 – you have to embody what you believe as much as humanly possible
    • there is a lot talking in churches
    • it doesn’t matter if you are the worst preacher or have the worst music but you live what you preach before and after, you will bear fruit
    • if you are preaching to bring your friends but aren’t bring some yourself, then others won’t either
    • frequent the same places to get to know people and invite them
  • Idea #4 – make sure people leave encouraged
    • the gospel is simple, don’t make it complicated
    • make sure people leave your church with their hands and hearts lifted
    • the heaviness of being a young Christian can be tough, causing youth to go in the opposite direction when they fall

Source: James Higginbotham, Hillsong United Conference: Carl Lentz, http://www.volunteercentered.com/2008/08/29/hillsong-united-conference-carl-lentz/, 29/08/2008. (Accessed 02/04/2013.)

EDIT: Removed information on 30/12/2013.