I am writing to you today in regard to the ongoing issue of racism in our society that has been highlighted by the tragic and senseless deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, amongst many others. It is never easy to put language to an issue of this magnitude, but silence is never the solution and we are committed to being a Church that refuses to neglect its responsibility to the mandate of the Gospel.
Racism is an injustice that impacts all nations and our hearts are with our Church family around the world who have been deeply affected by recent events. Whilst I will never truly know the pain and suffering of the black, indigenous and people of colour in our communities, we are committed as a Church to playing our part in seeing racism eradicated. Without question, all lives do matter, but until that becomes a reality, we will continue to say black lives matter and work to that end – because until black lives matter, all lives don’t matter.
I want to let you know that I am on a journey with this also. I am WILLING to learn, and WILLING to admit we don’t have all the answers. I recognise that some people have been hurt by the delay in our response as a Church, but I want you to know that is not indicative of our stance on this issue. I want to commit to leading you well and with wisdom – we want to take steps forward to ensure we are proactive on this issue, but we want to ensure the steps we take are the right ones, and for me that will take some time.
Our pastors and our team are wholeheartedly leaning into the conversations being had, are committed to being a church that is outwardly active in our fight against racism and facilitating any change necessary. We DO care, we DO see you and hear you – Hillsong Church is and has always been a church that celebrates diversity, abhors injustice and welcomes all. We wholeheartedly condemn the sin of racism, both implicit and explicit – the very nature of racism is an affront to the Gospel and there is zero tolerance for it in our Church or culture.
As the Senior Pastor of a global church I realise that our policies, actions and commitments moving forward will look different in each local context. As a church founded in Australia, it is imperative that we also hear the plight of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and seek further reconciliation and understanding.
In all of this, I want you to know that Bobbie and I are praying that this moment in history will be a significant moment of lasting transformation and change. It’s time to take positive action and stand against this. We love our church and are praying for everyone affected.
Can I encourage you to take time this week to look after your own soul – put on some praise and worship in your home and lift your eyes and your spirit to the God of all HOPE, PEACE and COMFORT. A God who is committed to JUSTICE and RIGHTEOUSNESS.
Over 2000 years ago Jesus Christ paid the ultimate sacrifice so that we could be set free from sin and death. He didn’t do this for any specific group of people, but for all humankind. In God’s eyes every one of us, irrespective of colour, was made in His image. What a beautiful thought – that we are all valued and loved by God equally. This is why I believe so passionately in His Church.
And please, reach out to your local pastors with prayer requests and needs – prayer and worship is a powerful weapon – and the church buildings may be closed, but we are here for you always.