Brian Houston, the founder of scandal-plagued megachurch Hillsong, has revealed he’s transitioning away from his current role as global senior pastor. The announcement comes amid the church’s barrage of multi-million dollar international lawsuits, his wife’s apology for body-shaming slurs and a hard-partying top staffer flaunting wild extramarital sex romps.
The 66-year-old told congregants the news at the Australia-based church’s annual Vision Sunday event this weekend. While Houston and his controversial sex-book-author wife Bobbie will continue to be involved in Hillsong, he will be shifting responsibility for what is the crux of the empire to Gary Clarke, who is currently the lead pastor of Hillsong’s UK branch, he explained.
“So you know, this year is our 38th year since Bobbie and I started out here in the Hills,” said Houston during the second Vision Sunday service of the weekend. “I’ve been doing a lot of soul-searching and praying about the future and the way ahead.”
Due to the speed of Hillsong’s global growth, he explained, it’s become “unsustainable for us to be able to lead everything that we’re leading right now. I want to be looking at ways we can share that load.”
He then emphatically and repeatedly stated that “Bobbie and I aren’t going anywhere. We’ll still be around, still be preaching as long as they want us to,” and are “definitely not retiring. We’re not retiring. We’ll be around.”
However, he admitted, the pair are “heading towards our 70s” and he does think “it’s the right season for us to look at a whole new season for us personally and for our church as well,” using the same language the former lead pastor of Hillsong’s Dallas branch used in his resignation announcement.
As a result of growth, Houston continued, Gary Clarke and his wife will begin helping with “the global side” and “invest[ing] into the pastors.”
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SOURCE: New York Post, Hannah Frishberg