60 Minutes Australia, a current affairs show, aired a major exposé of Hillsong Church last weekend, exposing a culture that shields its members while disregarding abuse survivors.
According to The Roys Report, the show featured the experiences of two women who claimed Hillsong, a worldwide megachurch based in Sydney, Australia, ignored their claims of sexual misconduct by Hillsong members or workers. When Hillsong was notified of the assault, one victim claimed that the church praised her abuser.
Additionally, the show investigated the "celebrity culture" prevalent at Hillsong churches globally, particularly in New York City, where the group was led by Carl Lentz.
The experiences of Anna Crenshaw, a former Hillsong College student, and "Katherine," a former youth leader at Hillsong's Melbourne East campus, were highlighted in the program.
Crenshaw alleges that Hillsong worship leader Jason Mays sexually assaulted her in the past. Katherine, on the other hand, alleges that she was raped by a fellow Hillsong member. Both women approached the leadership of Hillsong and told them about their abuse.
Sadly, the pain they experienced as a result of their abuse was exacerbated by the leadership's apathy in the face of it, either by ignoring them or downplaying the problem.
Hillsong, in a response to 60 Minutes' written queries, called the investigation "gutter journalism" and said it "takes any claim of assault extremely seriously and we allocate significant resources so that all can attend our services and events in a safe environment."
The exposé included an interview with Boz Tchividjian, Billy Graham's grandson and a lawyer and champion for survivors of sexual assault. Tchividjian was vehement in his criticism of Hillsong, which he accuses of suppressing or bullying victims.
As Tchividjian pointed out, legal agency Hillsong hired to look into Crenshaw's allegation that the church mismanaged her abuse advertises itself as most feared law firm in the world."
"What sex abuse survivor is going to feel comfortable participating in a process that's led by an organization that defines itself in that way?" he said.
Tchividjian also criticized Hillsong's celebrity culture, which was also highlighted in the 60 Minutes episode.
The church, according to Tchividjian, has developed a "celebrity culture."
"Pastors have become rock stars. Pastors oftentimes live-in these big churches-live better than most of the people in their congregation. And you create that culture inside of a church, that ultimately results in that pastor and those leaders becoming less and less accountable as those leaders become more and more insulated," he described.
Tchividjian concludes by pleading for the church to reform.
"If you love Jesus, then my goodness, start acting like Him in the most important moments of life," he said. "And that is, when you are approached by the hurting and wounded, stop everything you're doing and reach out and expend yourself for them. Isn't that what Jesus did over and over again? That's what the church should look like. And unfortunately, that's hard to find these days."
The show also included an interview with Megan Fallon, a former Hillsong NYC leader, where leaders like Carl Lentz allegedly received royal treatment and utilized church tithes to fund extravagant personal expenditures. Lentz was dismissed in 2020 for "moral failures" including an extramarital affair.