Before reading the article by Steve West, it is important to understand who Steve West is.
Steve studied for his Diploma in Christian Ministry at Hillsong International Leadership College in 2001 and 2002.
During that time he served in most ministry areas – kids, youth, carpark, sound, new Christians, offering collection and ushering. He worked closely with many leaders and gave virtually all his available time and money to the church, volunteering at all conferences in that time and spending an average of six to seven days a week at Hillsong Church. He progressed to an effective pastor position at an affiliated church and ran a local young adults ministry effectively for several years.
Read his earlier articles here to see where he is coming from in the below article:
With this in mind, Steve West wrote the following article.
The Next Step, And Support So Far
by Steve West on Wednesday, 14 July 2010 at 17:17 ·
Lads and ladies,
It has been five days now since my original post, and boy have the wheels been turning!
I want to be as clear as possible as I can.
Many leaders in the movement were tagged, but Mark Hopkins and Joel A’bel were the only ones to reply. Joel showed some interest in addressing the questions, but I suspect he was scared off by the strength of my tone. We can’t really blame Hillsong for being a bit gunshy from some publicity; they have a persecution complex and tend to feel the world misunderstands or misrepresents them. Often they think no correspondence is the better option as this means their words can’t be used against them.
But I wish to give due credit where it is due. Daniel Rombouts, someone I knew from my time at Hillsong, I think has best addressed the issue by stating even if hard facts were provided, the way facts are interpreted are the major deciding factor as to whether something is right or wrong. When I make allegations about conformity and thought control, this is overwhelmingly difficult to prove. For every person that I can say has experienced these things from Hillsong, someone can say Hillsong has helped their life overwhelmingly.
But this argument misses the point. Why are there so many people saying the same criticisms of Hillsong? Even if it was just perception, then why are they permitting this perception to be promulgated? Why aren’t they admitting, “Yes, we are aware that this perception is a problem, but we are finding ways to address it”. Instead of that level of honesty, the responses can be seen on my previous notes.
I encourage you to copy and save them for reposting, as I have done. As they are exquisite evidence of what I am saying.
No where are my issues directly addressed. Instead, a great deal of effort is spent discrediting the source of the claim.
Lads and ladies, this is not the behaviour of a socially responsible organisation. This is buck passing. And what else would one find if we kept scratching at the surface?
Hillsong leaders may have a perceived legitimate fear that anything said to me will simply be miscontrued and used against them. This is a public forum. If I am miscontruing things, let that be publically assessed. If I am giving reasonable opportunity, let that be assessed.
So far, I have had seven Hillsong staff and ex-staff message me in support. They agree with my points as I have outlined them.
I’ve had a number of Hillsong staff and ex-staff, and pastors from the wider AOG, message me with more moderated views. These people are less willing to be forward in agreeing with me, but tend to ask be concerned about why I am saying these things and the motivate as to why I ask them. To these people, if what I am saying is true, then you are mind controlled and blind. And I don’t think that’s right. It’s as simple as that. I’d say about 4 people fit into this category, depending on how you draw the lines.
I’ve had a larger number of people, ex-Hillsongers and Christians from the wider body, who agree whole-heartedly with my assessments, both privately and publically.
It’s funny that so my complaints seem to have given some voice to a large number of people.
Maybe, just maybe, there is a bit more going on here than just my perceptions. Maybe 😛
At any rate, let me affirm that I believe that the majority of Hillsong pastors including Brian Houston are well intentioned people. I honestly believe that. I believe that they are doing what they think is right.
I just happen to disagree with them. And I want all considered, thinking people to look here online at my interactions with these people and decide for yourselves.
Source: Steve West, The Next Step And Support So Far, http://www.facebook.com/notes/steve-west/the-next-step-and-support-so-far/447187531927, 14/07/2010. (Accessed 18/11/2012.)
(Disclaimer: The views of Steve West do not necessarily represent our own personal views. We have decided to publish his articles so people may witness his journey out of Hillsong.)
NOTE: SCREEN GRAB WAS TAKEN ON THE 18/11/2012.