Take-Over – a hostile, tyrannical, immoral, unethical, unbiblical or illegal way in which a ‘church’ schemes, re-brands and takes over another church. The move is usually presented as a surprise and often occurs when the members of the congregation, (whether they are the pastors, elders or laymen), have no say in the matter. The take-over is presented as the best way forward for the church. [Source]
This is a very accurate definition to describe how churches like Hillsong and C3 rebrand churches into their movement. The City of Grace Church has fallen prey to a Hillsong take-over. Terry and Judith Crist have been duped by Australia’s leading con artists and cult leaders Brian and Bobbie Houston.
This is the truth: Terry and Judith Crist have not done their homework.
Terry and Judith have believed Hillsong at face value, not knowing the corruption, scandal and deceit that has made the Hillsong movement what it is today. They have deliberately ignored their bad teaching and all the information out there on Hillsong exposing their corruption. (Have they even bothered to wade through the evidence of the Royal Commission, exposing how Brian Houston attempted to cover up his fathers paedophilia? Do they know that the Royal Commission have requested NSW Police to investigate Brian Houston’s cover-up?)
Brian claims clergy privilege to prevent police investigation?
The Royal Commission Report on Houston, CLC/Hillsong & the AOG/ACC
Evidence, Fact Files & testimonies exposing Brian Houston at the Royal Commission
In fact Terry deliberately lied about Hillsong’s past (see video below). Here you can see Terry Crist besotted by the idea that his church is now a part of Hillsong. There is much to say about this clip which we will talk about in future articles.
This is not the first time Hillsong has pulled a take-over on churches. They’re getting better at conditioning people to get churches on “family” with their movement. Don’t be fooled by Hillsong’s enticements. Read about other Hillsong take-overs.
Edit 27/02/2016: People are questioning if it is ethical or remotely Christian to behave in such secrecy in church take-overs. This article exposes how secrecy is a Hillsong trademark and looks at this form of secrecy from a Christian world view.
“I have to say on another level, I feel like we have the strongest team that we’ve ever had in the history of our church . We’ve always had great people leading but there’s something unique about the combination, the chemistry, the connection, the cohesion of the team that we have right here at our church during this season and I’m so grateful for that.
But in the face of all of that, can I say that I still believe that God has so much more for us. You know, the success of our church is never truly evaluated by how many people gather for weekend worship or by how much good we’re doing in the community. Our success must be evaluated by how many people are still living far from God and what we’re doing in response to that.
I know some churches measure their seating capacity but we’ve decided to measure our sending capacity – our capacity for empowerment and engagement and enlargement by the grace of God.
What are we doing to change the world? What are we really doing to change the world? From day one I have dreamt of building a church that is centred on Jesus, filled with the Spirit, engaged in the community and focused on the nations. The kind of church that is attractive and winsome and kind and loving and gracious . The kind of the church that makes the gospel so compelling that people,find it hard to not fall in love with Jesus. I want to be the kind of church that makes it difficult for people to go to hell from the valley of the sun.
I want us to be the kind of of church that if you want to go to hell, you’ve got to go from Vegas. The kind of church that presents the gospel in such a compelling way. That when people collide with the grace of God in us, their response is to fall in love with Jesus that we love, this Jesus that has radically changes us. The kind of church with a welcome home spirit.
I dream of being a part of a church that puts a fresh face on an old message, a church takes timeless truths and presents them in a way that is relevant. And because of that we can continue to become that church – incrementally. We can continue to take ground just like we have, inch by inch by inch. Or we can leap ahead to not just reach thousands but by the grace of God, to reach tens of thousands. To change cities and neighbourhoods. To go from a local church to becoming a part of a global movement and all of that has positioned us for the greatest step of expansion that we have ever taken in the history of our church .
After eight years of general conversations, followed by the last two years of very specific and serious considerations, followed by a time of seeking God, both with our board and a few of our key team members, I am so excited to announce to you today that City of Grace is becoming the sixteenth global location of Hillsong Church.
Today we become Hillsong Church Phoenix. Today. Today. Today.
You can be seated, I’ve got to finish this. Judith and I believe, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that God has called us to this. Can I tell you that this… I feel stronger about this than anything God has ever said to me, apart from marrying Judith.
Happy Valentines Day, baby.
I did not come to Phoenix with a word this strong. I came to Phoenix on a general impression, a sense of God moving. We are stepping into the future with the clearest word God has spoken to me in my life, second to God speaking to me to marry Judith. Happy Valentines Day, baby.
We’re not joining Hillsong Church as a matter of survival, but a matter of calling. And this is not like any other merger or adoption or joining that Hillsong Church has ever been a part of before, in fact today history is unfolding here in Phoenix. And history unfolded 18 hours ahead of us last night in Sydney, Australia, as the news was broken there. Judith and I are not leaving, Judith and I are staying right here as the lead pastors of Hillsong Phoenix. We’re digging in deeper, we’re standing up taller, we’re seeing clearer and we’re reaching farther by the grace of God.
Pastors Brian and Bobibie are going to step in as the senior pastors here and we’re going to serve as your lead pastors. Now you may wonder, why we are we doing this in light of all that we’ve accomplished? Let me share with you five reasons and this is the core of this, please, please hear me carefully.
Number one, Judith and I feel called, called to serve pastors Brian and Bobbie’s vision and at the same time, we feel called to lead a church in Phoenix, and God in His good providence has provided a way for us to do both of those things.
Second, Hillsong Church is our tribe. Our family. Our people. And as with any family you just want to do life with the people that you love. We’ve been so honored to be a part of the Hillsong family but it’s always, like, you know, describing your relatives as being one step removed . And as wonderful as that has been, this collapses that and we have the freedom to interact, and to engage, and to spend our lives with the people that we love.
Number three, I believe that this will position our church to serve more people with the gospel. I believe that Hillsong Phoenix wills serve this city and region well, and I believe by the grace of God, we are going to reproduce campuses right here throughout the valley and wherever God’s good grace leads us with greater strength, greater focus and greater ability.
Number four, this will provide a home for our leaders, home in a global family, home in a movement. Current leaders and young leaders emerging into their purpose won’t just be a part of an independent church, autonomous church, they will be part of a movement. And wherever they go on the planet, they’ll have family, they’ll have connections and by the good grace of God, they’ll have a future.
And finally number five, I believe this will accelerate the work of God in our nation. I believe there are a lot of churches that are just doing their own thing that would be better served by becoming a part of something bigger and I’m prayerful that through our obedience, that others might be inspired to stop doing life alone, to stop leading independently and living as an island to themselves and that they might step into being a part of something so that we can see greater unity in the church in our cities and in our nation and across the planet, to the glory of God.
Real quickly, let me talk about who pastors Brian and Bobbie are, for the few people who may not be familiar with them. And let me give you some accurate information, so that you don’t read the distortions that are readily available.
Brian and Bobbie Houston founded Christian Life Centre in Sydney in 1983 as a congregation of about 45 people. Later on in 1999, they changed the name to Hillsong Church, following the rise of the worship music and its global expression. From those humble beginnings, Hillsong Church has now become a congregation, a church of 16 congregations or locations around the world, with 150 weekend services being held this very week, serving a congregation of over 100,000 people. It is listed by Christianity Today as one of the ten most influential churches of the previous century and Hillsong Church is just getting started. Newsmax listed as the sixth largest church in America and there are only two locations in America before today. Each location is considered to be a room in the global house, with all the rooms making up one house, so you’ll hear that language again and again. We are a room in a house. We’re a congregation, we are a location, but in a bigger context, we are a part of a greater whole. And every single room has a lead pastor couple leading it, and then pastors Brian and Bobbie are the senior pastors over it.
Let me tell you who they are. Pastor Brian is a seasoned leader . He’s respected as a leader of leaders around the planet. He led a movement of 1100 churches in Australia called the Australian Christian Churches for about 12 years. He is the pastor to many of the leading leaders of our generation, who may not be a part of Hillsong per se but they look to him for leadership and guidance. He’s a true apostle. He wouldn’t use that term but I’ll describe him that way. He and Bobbie are apostles and prophets and they’re leading a movement of local congregations being served by lead couples and the teams that support their visionary direction.
I first met them in 1994. We were in Africa together. My life was radically touched, I came home and told Judith. I said, “I met a couple unlike anybody I’ve ever met before”. I said, “let me tell you first of all Brian is the happiest man on the planet”, he really is.
Second, they really love the church! It’s not a duty or an obligation. They love building the lives of people. Third, these guys really believe they can change the world. And history has proven that they can. And I told Judith 22 years ago, “I feel like we have much to learn from them”.
22 years later, I feel like I have as much to learn from them now as when I first met them. And can I say to you that under their leadership I can stand to my full stature in God and there’s so much headroom above me that I can keep growing and maturing myself. I don’t have to crouch down under their leadership to be less than who I am, I can stand there under the grace of God and I can be what God has called me to be without having to shrink to fit into some other box.
I want to encourage you to trust us, trust us. I know that those are cheap and easy words but if the fruit of our lives, mine and Judith’s, if the fruit of this church – stay with me, we’ve got leaders getting in place right now, this isn’t a church split, these are leaders stepping out to serve communion in just a moment.
Awkward time guys!
Trust me! If, if, if you see the fruit of our lives, if you know that we live in this neighborhood and we serve in this neighborhood, and the fruit of what God has called us to do is expressed in this neighborhood, and throughout the valley, you’ll know that the future is a continuation of the present, even though it’s a world in and of itself. I want to encourage you to trust pastors Brian and Bobbie as I trust them. They’re some of the most kind, affirming and genuine leaders that you’ll ever meet in life. And they’re all about empowering people to be who God has called them to be.
I’d like to do something before we conclude and go to communion here. I want to just give you the mission statement and then I want you to hear from Brian and Bobbie for a moment.
Here’s the new mission statement for Hillsong Phoenix, it’s the same mission statement for Hillsong Church world-wide, our mission now is “to reach and influence the world by building a large Christ-centred, bible-based church, changing mind sets and empowering people to lead and impact every sphere of influence”.
And our mandate as a church, to the broader body of Christ is now to champion the cause of local churches everywhere. We want to be a resource to the world around us and to church in North America and globally. And with that, I want you to hear a few short words from our new senior pastors today. Watch the screen.
Brian: “Well, to Terry and Judith and to everybody there at Hillsong Phoenix. We are so excited, and you are welcome! We’re very excited that of course your pastors are continuing to be the lead pastors of your church and I think, on the ground, day by day, week by week, you’ll still feel like it’s got the same warmth and you’ll have the same sense of vision. The only difference is, you’re part of a bigger global family. And of course we are now involved as well, as senior pastors. We’re senior pastors of many rooms but one house. And I just pray and I believe that the days ahead for all us are going to be amazing. One of the things we have great joy in, is the signs in our foyers saying “welcome home”. And I would say to all of you, “welcome home” and I pray you come with us on this journey and you feel like it’s home and that you, as you lean into Terry and Judith as lead pastors and into our bigger world, that you’ll continue to see God doing great things in your life, in your family, in your endeavours and in your church. We love you”.
Bobbie: “Amen, amen, and I just want to say how much we love you guys. We love you, Terry and Judith and you know, for a number of year snow, you’ve leant your hearts into us and our heart leans towards you and we really are excited. I know Brian gave expression to that, and we’re truly excited about what this represents and the adventure ahead and the road that’s ahead and so looking forward to doing life with you and ah, umm, you know, celebrate because it’s aha, awesome days ahead for everyone. Amen
Brian: “Amen, the first thing I’m going to do is, Terry? I’m going to fatten you up a bit and then I won’t find you so convicting.”
Bobbie: “We love you guys, you’re the best.”
I want to ask you in closing to join us in four ways.
Number one, by praying for us.
Number two, I want to encourage you to join us by leaning in. If you’ve been an infrequent attendee, come on! Become a part of the family and become a regular weekend attendee. If you’re part of a weekend service then become part of a connect group. And you’re part of a connect group, join in and start serving on the weekend but whatever you’re doing, I want yo encourage you to lean in and even further, even stronger.
Third, I want go ask you to make a one year commitment to journey with us. Just follow us, watch the fruit for one year, but even more walk with us, for the next year.
And then finally, I want to invite you to join us this coming Wednesday night on our Mesa campus where we’ll have what we call, heart and soul. And I’m going to share a little bit, you’ll hear some more from pastors Brian and Bobbie, and then we’re just going to take questions. And so, we’ll answer a lot of the questions you may have. But let me say this in closing, and then I’m going to change the game plan and we’re going to dismiss in a few minutes. I’m going to ask the host to stay at the rear of the auditorium and as you leave, you can take communion on your way out. And so let me say in closing, we are not entering a season of transition. This is one single step into the future. We are not slowly segwaying. This week, new signage will go up. This week, all new printed collateral will roll out, I’ve been working on this for quite some time now and we are lined up so that we don’t have to make it a slow transition. Next week, I’m going to preach one single message, about change based on the teachings of Jesus. And then from there, we’re off and rolling. From there, we are exalting one name. It’s not about a church name, it’s not about a brand, it’s not about an identity, horizontally. It’s not about any of those things, it is about exalting Jesus and we’re not going to get caught up in any kind of discussion or distraction or slow, progressive translation. We are just going to step into the future by faith.
Now here’s what I want to ask you to do, and I’m so far into overtime, but here’s a couple of things.
Number one, when you leave today, you going to receive after you’ve received communion out in the lobby, a little card that’s just a reminder about the continued steps on Vision Sunday, an invitation to be with us on Wednesday night in our Heart and Soul. And the. The next going I want to do, is I want to give you the very first Hillsong bumper sticker. It’s never existed on the planet until this weekend, nowhere on the planet, this is us, this is for us.
And then my last thing is , please don’t text this, please don’t tweet this, please, when you see people in the lobby don’t tell this. Let them be a part of the unfolding of this so they can hear it the way you’ve heard it here this morning. And everybody said? Amen! Come on, everybody said? amen!
Amen, Jesus thank you for setting our hearts on pilgrimage, from this day we thank you for the future , we put our trust in you and we follow you forward in Jesus’ name. Amen.