Bobbie and I are filled with faith for our church and everything God has in store for you, for your family, for our church and for ourselves.
It’s been an unexpected season, and we are thankful for you all and for the community we share. It has been amazing to see the ‘lean in’ to our church online globally and the thousands of people we’ve been able to pray for. I never get tired of the praise reports and miracles, especially those committing to Jesus.
Last year, I also received unexpected news of charges against me that allege the concealing of information that may have been material to prosecute Frank Houston. These allegations came as a shock to me, and it is my intention to vigorously defend them.
In September last year, I learned it was necessary for me to step aside as a director of all Hillsong boards during this season, enabling me to give attention to these charges. But recently, we made a decision that may come as a surprise to you, and I want you to hear it from me directly.
In December, during our board meeting, Hillsong’s external legal counsel gave the board advice regarding the current charge I am facing – that it would be ‘Best Practice’ for me to step aside completely from church leadership during the court proceedings. The court processes are likely to be drawn out and take up most of 2022 (especially considering the backlog in the courts, exacerbated by the Covid pandemic). Along with this, the board and I have had detailed discussion around the requirements for leadership. We have talked about the effects of the situation with my father, which go back many years up to the current legal case, and the impact this has had on me emotionally.
The result is that the Hillsong Global Board feel it is in my and the church’s best interest for this to happen, so I have agreed to step aside from all ministry responsibilities until the end of the year.
As I have said, most of you know the court case I am facing is related to circumstances surrounding my father, and I need to be fully committed to preparation and engagement with the case and work closely with my lawyers in defending this charge. I have said, including in a prior statement, that I intend to fight the charge and welcome the opportunity to set the record straight.
Church, we love you as much as ever, and Bobbie and I certainly value your prayers in these challenging times. We love Jesus, we love His Church, and we are as committed as we have ever been to the God-given future ahead of us all.
It’s important to note that Bobbie intends to remain fully engaged in church life, including leading the upcoming 2022 Colour Conference, and of course, the Sisterhood.
During 2022, I have asked Pastors Phil and Lucinda Dooley to take on the role of Interim (or Acting) Global Senior Pastors. The Dooleys are well-loved by many in our church, having successfully served as our youth pastors in Australia for many years. Over the last 13 years they, with their family, have resided in South Africa and have raised up a phenomenal multi-campus Hillsong Church.
Bobbie and I wholeheartedly support them. We want to thank them and their family for stepping into this role and committing to spend a considerable amount of time in Australia for this season.
I believe they will experience our church’s full support as we move forward and lift up Jesus as the Hope of humanity. I believe it will be a year of divine favour.
It is 50 years this week since I commenced Bible College in New Zealand, so with five decades of active ministry behind us, be assured we will make the best of this season to replenish spiritually, emotionally and physically.
I am sure your complete support for Phil and Lucinda, and your prayers and goodwill will make more difference than you perhaps even realise.
Let’s make it a great year.
We love you church.
Global Senior Pastor