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Hillsong Church Response to “God Goes Viral” Documentary 

Jul 23 2021

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In 2016, a filmmaker approached the leadership of Hillsong Church U.K. to request access to capture footage for a documentary. The filmmaker communicated that this would be a fair portrayal and uplifting story about the impact of our ministries there. We accepted the filmmaker’s words in good faith and filming started in 2017.

For two years, this filmmaker spoke with people who visited the church and traveled with various team members. Unbeknownst to us, he also interviewed several critics of our church, including many people who have not been a part of Hillsong in more than a decade and have made baseless claims.

While the filmmaker expressed to us that he felt pressured to shift the focus to more controversial storylines and to avoid painting our church in an overly positive light, we now question if this project was ever intended to be fair or balanced. Though our staff in London felt they had established friendship with the filmmaker, it is clear to us that this project was misrepresented to us from the start.

Much of the footage has been taken grossly out of context and sewn together to create storylines that simply do not reflect reality. Numerous other elements are either grossly exaggerated or intentionally skewed. Most of the footage that demonstrated the positive impacts of our church were relegated to the cutting room floor and erased from the final cut of the documentary.

We strongly refute the many aspects of the film that fail to meet a basic level of journalistic integrity and a commitment to the truth. Here are some facts that we hope will be helpful in clarifying these falsehoods and communicating the true heart of our church:

Racial Equality: We are proud of the work that we have done toward racial equity. Our Racial Equity Committee launched in 2020 and has conducted training with every staff member. Read here about our commitment.

Finances: We have robust financial systems and structures of accountability in place, learn more here and here.

Frank Houston and the Royal Commission investigation: Please find factual information on this here.

Hillsong East Coast: The former Lead Pastor of Hillsong East Coast was terminated due to personal misconduct and leadership failures. Read Senior Global Pastor Brian Houston’s letters to Hillsong East Coast here, here and here is our commitment to addressing areas of concern.

Volunteer Policies: Hillsong Church values each and every person who visits one of our church locations. Like every church, volunteers are an integral part of our ministry. We appreciate their dedication and commitment to our church. We will continue to work with our leaders and staff to ensure volunteers are respected and treated well.


This post may be updated. The date and time of all updates will be clearly noted.