I am writing to you today because of several stories circulating online alleging a serious abuse of trust – the misuse of church funds by Hillsong Church employees. We are particularly grieved that, in many cases, inaccurate accounts in these stories have been reported as if they are true.
Hillsong Church strongly refutes that our culture casually allows for such gross misuse of church funds. In fact, these stories are especially troubling since Hillsong has a record of excellence in financial accountability globally and an unwavering commitment to financial integrity. Global leadership has always taken the stewardship of the tithes and offerings entrusted to us seriously and we have numerous structures in place to ensure financial accountability and integrity. Please find some of our policies below.
Even though we know many of the stories circulating are not true, we are still obligating ourselves to closely examine the claims in line with our ongoing commitment to financial integrity. We have always placed a high value on good governance and stewardship, and if we discover a breach related to this we will take strong and swift action. We have a biblical responsibility to be excellent stewards of the ministry funds that have been committed to our care at each of our church locations.
In the meantime, here are some of the ways that we uphold our commitment to financial accountability and stewardship:
- Financial statements are audited annually by a reputable, independent firm. This thorough audit includes a review of internal controls relating to the handling of church funds.
- Annual reports are released to provide a transparent overview of church finances, and their use.
- Budgets, set by each location and approved by the independent Hillsong Global Board, are adhered to so that we can ensure resources are applied to specific areas of ministry. Staff are required to spend within pre-approved budgets and careless spending is not permitted.
- No staff member has unrestricted access to church funds.
- Credit and Personal Expense cards are reconciled and reviewed on a monthly basis as part of our internal controls.
- Personal expenditures are not permitted to be charged to church credit cards. If this occurs, it is addressed and the church is reimbursed for such expenditure in a timely manner.
- Team salaries are moderate and align with comparable roles in similarly situated charitable organizations. Our Global Remunerations Committee reviews all senior staff compensation on an annual basis.
These are just some of the safeguards we have in place to ensure a commitment to high standards of stewardship to ensure we can continue to help and love people.
Vision Sunday is just around the corner. On Sunday, February 14, I am looking forward to sharing with you our vision for the year ahead. I’m excited at what the Lord is doing in our midst and I believe our best days are ahead.
We love you and are praying for you.
Global Senior Pastor