I flew across the world to join Hillsong College at 18 yo, passionate about ministry. From there, I would join multiple teams at the Hills campus and land myself with Hillsong Church Online / Online Campus.
My experience with Hillsong has been great, as I got to:
Grow in my personal relationship with God.
Learn how to outwork my faith in tangible, practical ways.
Pull apart my beliefs and slowly putting them back together again.
Get the help I needed to adjust and work through things.
Create a community of people who affirm who I am, stick by me and love me no matter what.
And although my experience with our church hasn’t been negative, I can also stand by those whose experiences with Church in general have been less than extraordinary.
To those who have been hurt by the Church…
To those who have been mistreated or misunderstood…
To those whose communities dropped off in the face of adversity or discomfort…
I’m here and I hear you.
The Church is not perfect nor is it welcoming to everyone. And I think it’s silly of me to pretend that it is simply because my experience has been a positive one.
Anytime we do anything in community it can get messy. And Church can be messy — people’s language can be hurtful, the culture can be misrepresented, the heart of Church can be mistaken or missed altogether.
And Church needs to be and do better. We have areas that we need to grow and do better in, areas we need to start showing up in.
But that doesn’t mean that we throw Church out altogether. The Church is needed. She’s the Bride of Christ. She’s how we get to outwork the love and grace and mission of Jesus on this earth.
My love for Church is one that allows me to see and acknowledge those who love her entirely, those who are wary of her because of past trauma and those who hate her.
I’ve planted myself in this church and I love the people that I get to call friends who do this faith journey with me. I also love the people who have left, who have decided that this church isn’t the space for them. I also love those who have left the faith altogether because of their experience with Church / Hillsong. There is space for it all. In the both / and.