Hillsong Church has had a trying time last week. According to co-founder Bobbie Houston, the last seven days were a "very cruel week." Here's a re-cap of what has had happened to the Australian-based mega-church.
The week started with Hillsong Church elder and decades-long Houston family loyalist, Dr Gordon Lee resigning as an elder of the church. Though Lee has not revealed his reason(s) for leaving, but his resignation signalled that trouble was already brewing for the church.
This was followed by the resignation of Brian Houston as the mega-church's Global Senior Pastor. Houston's resignation came after an internal investigation found he had breached the church's code of conduct twice over the past decade by behaving inappropriately towards two women.
The church later revealed that the former Hillsong Dallas pastor Reed Bogard resigned last year after he was accused of rape. A former Hillsong college student also went public with claims that the church had covered up her sexual assault.
On Thursday Hillsong Atlanta's lead pastor, Sam Collier, resigned, citing the ongoing scandals and accusations about various members of Hillsong. Collier has also announced that he is setting up his own church. "It became a lot for a our church, for a young church," he said. "A lot of our members were becoming really fatigued with a lot of the scandals and having to talk about it so much. I say this all the time that trust is the only thing you have when building a church. People have to trust you if they're going to donate and if they're going to support it."
On the same day, Hillsong: A Megachurch Exposed, a three-part docuseries was released. According to the press release, the series explores "the allegations of the trauma, abuse, financial and labor exploitation that created a culture of chaos within the church. The series will also examine how Hillsong was able to grow into a global brand, while uncovering the truth behind the headlines of recent scandals and shining a light on the fine line between culture, corporation and cult."
Later in the year, Brian Houston will stand trial for allegedly not reporting his father's sexual abuse of a boy in the 70s. If convicted, Houston could be looking at spending some time in prison. And if the church were to be forced to conduct an independent investigation over the recent scandals, more shocking secrets will be revealed in the months to come.