Statement from Pastor Brian Houston & Wayne Alcorn: Re: Hillsong Church & ACC

19 September 2018

Dear ACC family,

I am emailing you to share some important news relating to our movement. We have always been a fellowship of autonomous churches in voluntary co-operation, but more than that, we have always been a family who supports and cheers each other on.

Recently Hillsong Church advised its desire for a change in its relationship with the ACC. In a way, this can be likened to a child who has grown up and now has a larger life outside the family home. Hillsong Church now has more constituents and churches outside Australia than within, and as such, has announced its intention of establishing its own international denomination to credential their pastors, whilst remaining in Kingdom partnership with the ACC going forward.

May I emphasise that the relationship between Hillsong Church and ACC is strong. The change in relationship has been facilitated by Hillsong’s global growth, rather than any disagreement.

Pastor Brian Houston has written a personal letter to the ACC family that explains his love for the movement and the reasons for the change. See page 2 to read Brian’s letter.

Despite the changing shape of the relationship between Hillsong and ACC, both parties are committed to working together towards a new effective partnership. Discussions to that end are ongoing. I encourage you to be in prayer as ACC and Hillsong finalise discussions; the goal being that God’s Kingdom will only increase during this change.

The first of our State Conferences has started this week in South Australia, and I am looking forward to attending many of these annual state-wide ACC family gatherings over the upcoming weeks. We have much to celebrate and thank God for.

Thank you for being a great blessing to our movement.

Warmest regards,

WAYNE ALCORN
ACC NATIONAL PRESIDENT

To Whom It May Concern,

I am writing today to announce – in cooperation with the ACC National President, Wayne Alcorn – a proposed change to Hillsong Church’s relationship with the Australian Christian Churches (ACC).

I love the ACC and have been a part of this denomination since I was a five year old in New Zealand, and have held a credential in Australia with the AOG/ACC for virtually forty years. I also served as NSW State President for six years, and National President for twelve. It is a movement I have devoted many years of my adult life to both serving and leading. I believe wholeheartedly that Pastor Wayne Alcorn is doing a wonderful job in leading the movement, and I want to make it clear that we have no grief or dispute at all with the ACC. Instead, this decision comes after almost two years of prayerful discussion within both our global and Australian church boards.

Our discussions have been focused on the global nature of Hillsong Church. As Hillsong Church has continued to grow, we no longer see ourselves as an Australian Church with a global footprint, but rather a Global church with an Australian base – our global office now resides in the USA. Two thirds of the people attending Hillsong Church each weekend live in countries beyond Australia. We have pastoral staff in twenty-four nations around the world, representing 123 campuses and locations, with 263 different church services on any given weekend. We consider it to be “One House, with many rooms”.

So with that growing footprint in mind – it has become clear to us that we need to be able to credential our own pastors and restructure our church in a way that enables us to give due diligence to governance, risk, church health, safe church, and many other policies that are crucial to the future progress of Hillsong, globally. For this reason, we are now registered by the Australian Department of Births, Deaths, and Marriages, as a recognised denomination with the ability to credential pastors in our own right.

This recognition alleviates the issues that would occur if, for example, a concern arises that affects the credential of a Hillsong Church youth pastor in one of our campuses in Europe. The Australian ACC cannot be expected to have adequate information to address this issue or even know who the person is, let alone the resources to appropriately deal with the issue on a personal or pastoral level.
I am very grateful to the ACC National Executive who have been both gracious and proactive in working with our church board and drafting a potential structure to redefine our relationship moving forward. Obviously, this would be subject to proper process. The goal is that we could become an associate church, and that we would continue to lean into the ACC and support, at some level, initiatives such as conferences, missions, and Alphacrucis; while foregoing voting and other rights associated with full member churches and ordained ACC pastors.

It is my great hope that the church in Australia will continue to be healthy and unified, and that more Australians than ever will come to faith in Jesus. And it is my belief and my prayer that, by the grace of God, all our churches will continue to flourish and grow.

With much love,

Brian Houston
Global Senior Pastor – Hillsong Church