The founder of Hillsong Church announced passing of his leadership role to younger leaders.
Brian Houston, Hillsong's global senior pastor, revealed on Sunday that he and his wife, Bobbie, are transitioning away from their current roles to make way for younger leaders to lead the church both in Australia and around the world. The lead pastors of Hillsong Church London, Gary and Cathy Clarke, will take over the Houstons' roles, The Christian Post reported.
"I've been doing a lot of soul-searching and praying and thinking about the future and the way ahead, what life looks like for a church moving forward. For Bobbie and I, moving forward and I guess globally we've grown so rapidly and it's been really a time when what has become clear is we need to put a whole lot more structure into what we're doing globally," Brian said.
"It's really at a point where it's virtually impossible, unsustainable for us to be able to lead everything that we're leading right now and so I want to look at ways that we can share that load and over these next couple of years heading up to that church being 40 here. I would like to really put in place younger leaders. Younger leaders here in Australia and younger leaders around the globe," he continued.
But he said that they are not retiring just yet.
"We're heading towards our 70s. I'm 67 this week and in our 70s there's a whole lot of things ... in our hearts in terms of what we would like to be doing, what we want to be doing and so that's kind of how I see the future looking so I'm not putting any time on this or anything like that. We're definitely not retiring. We'll be around but I do think it's the right season to just look at a whole new season," the pastor further stated.
The church has been facing several scandals, including a former pastor's sexual misconduct and using tithes on lavish lifestyles in its New York branch, defective housing units in Australia, rent issue in Connecticut and another controversy involving a pastor's daughter with a Hillsong staff.
Brian's announcement follows the completion of the investigation of Hillsong East Coast under Carl Lentz. The investigation's findings are expected to result in "significant structural changes," the New York Times' writer Ruth Graham tweeted.
Hillsong founder Brian Houston tells church members by email that the law firm it hired to investigate Hillsong East Coast under former pastor Carl Lentz has completed its investigation, and to expect "significant structural changes." pic.twitter.com/b3OBwvEXmx
— Ruth Graham (@publicroad) February 12, 2021
The Houston couple founded Hillsong Church in 1983 in Sydney, Australia. Today, the organization has churches in 28 countries with an average weekly attendance of 150,000 globally.
Brian Houston was born in New Zealand to parents who were Salvation Army officers, Frank and Hazel. His parents later joined the Assemblies of God and led a church in Lower Hutt. He met his wife, Bobbie, during a Christian convention after he completed his Bible school. They have three children together.
In 1978, he started his career as his father's assistant pastor at Sydney Christian Life Centre in Darlinghurst. He then moved to start a church in Central Coast in 1980 and also worked at a Liverpool church in 1981. In 1983, he started the Hillsong Church, then known as Hills Christian Life Centre, in the north-western suburbs of Sydney.
The pastor was the national president of the Australian Christian Churches from 1997 to 2009. He is also an author who wrote a number of books.