Hillsong Church has always had a heart for every person. The clarity of this heart posture is found in the words we all know well, “welcome home. You belong here.” Throughout the years, there has been genuine care attached to the words.
However, in 2020 our global Hillsong Church world woke up to a deeper understanding of these words. During a worldwide covid pandemic, evidence of a racial pandemic became equally clear. As people were in literal lock downs, there was psychological safety for our Hillsong global community to openly share their lived-out racial and ethnic experiences. What we quickly realized was that we had work to do. We realized we had to go after not only racial reconciliation and healing, but also racial diversity and inclusion. And this we did.Global Race Diversity and Inclusion Committee was formed, full of global RDI experts as well as church leaders and pastors. The undertaken of the committee was the responsibility of Darren Kitto, an Australian pastor living in Los Angeles, on staff with Hillsong for the past 27 years. Darren brings a combination of heart, humility, and boldness. Darren assigned the incredible Harry Phinda as the chair committee. Harry, the youngest on the global board, had a few years earlier received the Queens Award for his inspirational and innovative work with the least of these.
Throughout the last couple of years, the committee has sacrificially given of their time, their hearts, and their expertise. Each member has their own unique brilliance to offer. Meeting biweekly, often early in the morning or late at night, to accommodate the many different time zones of the committee members. Click here to read more about the incredible members of the committee and about the work done.
Here are some of the details of the work done by the global committee:
▪ Developed a Global Racial Diversity and Equity Strategy to build racial diversity, equity, and inclusion into our church’s strategic planning, policy, and governance process.
▪ Developed a theological paper on Racial Diversity to ensure that Hillsong staff are leading from a Biblical standpoint.
▪ Provided racial diversity equity and inclusion training for the global lead pastoral team and global board.
▪ Started the creation of a high-quality Race Matters 9-hour mandatory video training for Hillsong staff and volunteers, composed of numerous global experts and lead staff, with the intent of increasing awareness and equipping our global leaders.
▪ Hired a full-time Race Diversity and Inclusion Manager.
In 2022, we remain committed to the journey we began in 2020 of listening, learning, lamenting, and acting to do our part to be the change. Our mission to be a healthy church changing lives through Christ is foundational to our ongoing dedication to the work of racial reconciliation. We believe that health does not exist unless racial diversity, equity, and inclusion are present. We believe that reconciliation makes a claim on every person and church as “in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation” (2 Cor 5:19).” Through Christ’s gift of reconciliation, we have hope for a reconciled, equitable, and inclusive future.
Maria Hansen-Quine, LASW, MSW, CSC
Hillsong Global Race Diversity and Inclusion Manager