Hillsong Phoenix Lead Pastor Terry Crist has appealed for an investigation of the global board of the Australia-based Hillsong Church after his formal announcement of leaving the megachurch network due to leadership issues faced by Brian Houston last Sunday.
Pastor Crist addressed the situation unfolding in Hillsong Global Church in his Sunday message to Phoenix congregants. "There are many reasons why we can't continue ... chief among them is our loss of confidence in the global board to continue leading us as a congregation," he said.
Crist reiterated his respect for the work of Hillsong Church's Interim Global Senior Pastor Phil Dooley, yet he has struggled with the global board with several issues in recent years including the need for transparency and accountability. For Crist, he got to that extent with the board over governance issues.
Crist said they formally asked to let their church be given back last Saturday after failing to agree on reseating their local board.
"Specifically, that simply meant the release of our church to be governed by a local board and also to include a couple of non-Hillsong pastors who are wise and credible and have proven ministries to also be seated on our local board for the sake of accountability by non-vested pastors who have nothing to lose by speaking truth to power," he said.
The Christian Post reported that after belonging to Hillsong Church for several years, it was decided that Crist he and his wife Judith would stay in Phoenix and have the option to re-assess the terms of their association with Hillsong Church now that Brian Houston was no longer heading the denomination.
"I was told this week, it is 'all or nothing.' We either had to allow the global church to govern our church and own our properties, or we had to leave. And so, with great sadness, I chose to leave," Crist added. "I am heartbroken."
Crist told the congregants that there was such a time when he failed to practice transparency as the church grew in number. He apologized for those times he prioritized Hillsong Church over the well-being of people.
"I repent for my ambition to do something great for God at the expense of people who are the mission. Not easy to be a pastor and to be an employer. Not easy to care for people and require work performance. And I've gotten it wrong at times. And I repent for that," he said.
"I'm committed as a leader to do a lot of soul work in this season. I'm committed as a leader to looking back over the past decade and asking God, counselors, and pastors in my life to help me become what God expects of me as a leader in the church," he added. "My heart is broken for everyone who has left our church, for everyone who has walked away from our staff for various reasons."
Aside from Crist, several pastors stepped down from their posts as pastors due to allegations and various reasons, NY Post reported.