The below 7 News report only confirms our website, many other Christian and non-Christian blogs and the media (specifically the Sydney Morning Herald’s report on Hillsong, titled “The Lord’s Profits”), that Hillsong is about the money.
“I think about the impact on the economy. And Australia has a lot to thank us [Hillsong] for.”
Since when does a pastor think a country owes his church thanks because he thinks his church leaves an impact on that country’s economy? And how on earth is that remotely biblical for a pastor to be thinking?
7 News reports,
Hillsong continues its global expansion and will soon have a presence in fourteen countries. Its numbers are growing on the back of its highly commercial church music division. Hillsong’s founder, Brian Houston is convinced that Australia has a lot to thank his church for, saying its growth at home is spreading economic benefits.
Lining up outside a theatre in Los Angelos, not on a path to conversion, but already converted:
“Went to HS New York City for a couple of times and I loved it.”
“They really care about you as an individual, and I think that really touched my heart when I first started coming here.”
They are preaching to the converted in London too.
“We said where do you go here to Sunday in London, and everyone said come to Hillsong.”
Brian Houston never imagined such popularity, when he founded Hillsong at Baulkham Hills in 1983. So what is the secret to the churches success?
BH: [laugh] “That’s a great question. It’s a miracle as far as I’m concerned.”
In Australia, services attract 38,000 worshipers a week, one hundred thousand 100,000 across the world. They are now held in 12 countries on 5 continents. Soon it will be 14 countries, with Brazil and Argentina added early next year. Beyond the churches there are 3 Hillsong record labels, a film and television production house, global conferences and an international leadership college in Sydney.
BH: “I think about the impact on the economy. And Australia has a lot to thank us for.” [Laughs]
Far from being thankful, many Australians are still skeptical about Hillsong, and believe the church’s success is not a cause for celebration.
BH: “That’s the Ozzie way isn’t it? If something, you know, is successful and to people it doesn’t make sense, your criticise it.”
Controversies haven’t helped. Brian’s father Frank confessed to child sex abuse; there are constant questions about the wealth Brian has amassed from the church; and more recently, backlash over a controversial preacher’s sexist comments forced Hillsong to drop him from its conference.
Brian says the movement is misunderstood.
BH: “I do understand that not everyone understands it. But it is disappointing when people trivialise it or marginalise it.”
Not that detractors will deter him.
BH: “Still there a lot of cities in the world we can reach.”
It’s seems only a matter of time.
Alex Hart, 7 News