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Hillsong Church is a globally diverse church which is committed to racial equity and justice for all. Our mission is to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ which has immediate and eternal implications for human flourishing. Jesus is the hope of humanity—his Kingdom is the expression of his rule and reign in and amongst the nations. As a global Church centred on Jesus and his gospel, we are compelled to ensure that all people are treated with dignity and respect.

We believe that racism is a sin and we do not endorse, support or accept any form of racism, both implicit and explicit – the very nature of racism is an affront to the Gospel, and we are committed to listen, reflect and act to play our part in being the change.

Therefore, we are announcing several commitments to build racial equity and reconciliation both internally and externally across our church. We will be working strategically and collaboratively to:

Provide strategic direction

We are committed to providing strategic direction to enable us as a global church to make progress in racial diversity and equity.

Build a racial equity lens into our church’s strategic planning, policy and governance process by establishing a Global Racial Diversity and Inclusion committee to formulate, present and deliver a Global Racial Equity Framework to be implemented across all of our locations Details of these committees can be found here.

Develop and implement a Racial Diversity and Equity strategy.

Develop a theological paper on Racial Inequality.

Provide education & awareness

We are committed to providing training and awareness for all staff and volunteers to increase our capacity and understanding across our global church.

Provide mandatory training focused on diversity and racial equity for all staff, key leaders and volunteers.

Engage external experts and consultants to help develop ongoing awareness, education and training and development which will be rolled out across various departments and campuses on an ongoing basis.

Use our platform to educate, highlight and promote racial equity.

Improve Representation

We are committed to being a church which looks like and serves its community.

Assess and improve the diversity of our leadership team across every department and level.

Identify qualitative and quantitative measures of success.

Attract students of diverse backgrounds and provide targeted scholarships to ensure Hillsong College is accessible to all.

Review all campus human resource policies and procedures with a focus on improving recruitment and retention of diverse staff.

Our commitment to advancing racial justice requires intentionality, action and accountability. We must lean into the conversations that deepen our understanding about racism, and implicit bias and how it impacts our Church and our community. Our Global Board and committee will routinely review these action items to assess our progress against our goals and to make the changes we believe will accelerate our success.

We recognise that our objectives require ongoing learning, reflection and action and there’s still more work to be done. Although we are focusing on race explicitly, we are not focusing on it exclusively and recognise the need to adapt as we encounter new perspectives and additional information. We will amend this statement as we gain new understandings. We need to work together to collaboratively address issues and concerns and invite you to reach out to us with feedback and ideas. Please e-mail us at [email protected]

“A lot of conversations are happening across our church… we are seeking to open our eyes wider, listen more intently, and understand more deeply… we are committed to seeing this world healed once and for all, in Jesus’ name.”

Pastor Bobbie Houston




Interview with Brian Houston and Pastor Willie Dumas




Interview with Pastor Bobbie Houston & Fadzi Whande




Panel discussion with Brian & Bobbie Houston, Pete & Laura Toggs & friends.

Black Lives Matter

An OPEN Letter to Hillsong Church

Hillsong Church is opposed to racism, and we believe black lives matter. The needless and tragic death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, and the much deeper systemic issues towards African American people that his death has highlighted, must lead to radical and permanent change. Racism must stop, and my prayer is that this moment in history will be a moment of lasting equality, transformation and change. – Pastor Brian Houston

Global Racial Diversity,
Equity and Inclusion Committee

Harry Phinda

Harry Phinda

Harry Phinda has over 10 years’ experience in campaigning, policy and advocacy. With a background in International Relations, Harry has worked as a Policy Advisor to the UK government, Parliament and numerous International organisations.

Fadzi Whande

Fadzi Whande is an award-winning Global Diversity and Inclusion Strategist and Social Justice Advocate. Her work primarily focuses on addressing systemic inequality for underrepresented groups with specialisation on race and gender equality.

Mahlatse Mashua

Mahlatse Mashua is the regional Director of RZIM Africa and a member of the organization’s global speaking team. He studied biochemistry at the University of KwaZulu Natal before serving as a pastor and elder at Every Nation Church Durban where he was also involved with training the congregation in evangelism and discipleship.

Femi Olu-Lafe

Femi Olu-Lafe, PhD is a senior consultant at YSC Consulting. In her role, she helps organizations design and execute custom Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) programs. She also provides assessment, coaching, and leadership strategy services to C-suite leaders and senior executives.

Darren Kitto

Darren Kitto

Darren Kitto is a key member of the Hillsong Global Team. He has worked closely with Pastor Brian Houston developing the Global Ministry and has been on the Hillsong Team for 25 years.

Emily Langloh

Emily Langloh did her Masters degree in Global Migration and Policy, specializing in Human Rights Advocacy, with a primary focus on international policies on inclusion, integration and equal rights at the university of Tel Avivi in Israel.

Terry Crist

Terry Crist is the Lead Pastor of Hillsong Phoenix. As a fifth-generation pastor, he has a rich history of building churches and helping hurting people. He has a Th.M. and D.Min. and has completed two business certificate programs from Harvard Business School.

Gary Clarke

Gary Clarke is the former lead pastor of Hillsong Church London. He has given his life to building the church and helping people. Gary is extremely driven by his passion for people to encounter Jesus, He loves raising up leaders, empowering the next generation, and has a deep drive to help the most marginalised and oppressed people in society towards security and wholeness.

Recent Activity

Compulsory Aboriginal Cultural Competency Training for all staff with Pastor Willie Dumas and Benny Eggmolesse. (Aug 2020)

Compulsory Racial Equity Training for all staff with Fadzi Whande. (Sep 2020)

Announcement of Global Racial Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee

Reconciliation Week stories from our own community.
Read The Stories

Commencement of Hillsong Australia Reconciliation Committee.
View The Committee

Currently interviewing candidates for our global racial diversity manager role.

Launching “Race Matters Course” for training Hillsong staff and leadership. Planning a roll out to be released to other churches.

Finalizing Racial Diversity and Equity Strategy.

Upcoming Activity

    • Establishment of Hillsong Australia Racial Equity Working Group
    • Further training and support for our staff, volunteers & wider church

 

Australian Reconciliation
Action Plan Committee members

Pastor William & Sandra Dumas

Pastor William & Sandra Dumas

Pastor’s William & Sandra Dumas are the Senior Ministers of Ganggalah Church, Ganggalah Training Centre, and Ganggalah Aboriginal Arts, based in the beautiful Tweed Heads region of Northern NSW – Bundajlung Country. They are also the National Leaders of the Australian Christian Churches, Indigenous Initiative Committee.

Both William & Sandra know God has a mandate on their lives to “raise” up the next generation of Indigenous leaders in our Nation, who are comfortable with their identity as Indigenous Christian leaders.

Dr Robyn Ober

Dr Robyn Ober

Robyn Ober is a Mamu/Djirribal woman from the rainforest region of North Queensland. She is employed as a research fellow with Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education and has recently completed her PhD studies focusing on ‘Aboriginal English as a Social and Cultural Identity Marker in an Indigenous Tertiary Educational Context’. Robyn has an extensive educational background, teaching in early childhood, primary and tertiary sectors in remote, rural and urban contexts. She has a strong interest in both-ways education, educational leadership and Indigenous Australian language in particular, Aboriginal English. Robyn has undertaken several research projects focusing on these topics and has published papers in educational and linguistic journals, both nationally and internationally.

Benny Eggmolesse

Benny Eggmolesse

Benny Eggmolesse has over 10 years’ experience heading up Indigenous Workforce Development for organisations such as HealthShare NSW and St Vincent’s Health Australia and achieving monument growth for both organisations seeing him nomination for SVHA Innovative and Excellence Awards 2017. Since then Benny has expanded into business development owning AAK-ITHER, Ice Cream Productions and Yawul.

Hillsong Australia Racial Equity Working Group

Fadzi Whande

Fadzi Whande is an award-winning Global Diversity and Inclusion Strategist and Social Justice Advocate. Her work primarily focuses on addressing systemic inequality for underrepresented groups with specialisation on race and gender equality.

*More committee members to be announced soon.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I help the Racial Diversity and Inclusion Committee as a member of church?

As a member of our church, you are a key part of this journey. We are continually learning and would welcome any feedback experiences or insights which would be useful in implanting our plans or realizing our goals as a church. Please continue to pray for us as a committee, that we are led by the word and the holy spirit in supporting our church with our skills and experience.

Why use words such as Equity rather than Equality?

Scripture references both equality and equity as aspects of true justice used throughout the bible in various contexts. Biblical equity roughly corresponds to what people would call “fairness” today. This involves taking people’s needs and circumstances into consideration when they are relevant as well as remaining impartial when people’s needs, and circumstances are irrelevant. Likewise, biblical equality speaks to people’s fundamental sameness as image-bearers of God as well as ensuring that uniform standards, rules, and laws are used for everyone.

The principle of equality is referenced throughout the bible starting with the foundational truth that we are all created equally in God’s image (Genesis 1:26-27, Proverbs 22:2, Romans 10:12), we all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and we can each equally come and receive his redemption regardless of who we are. (Acts 15:11, Galatians 3:28).

We also see this principle in the parable of the vineyard workers (Matthew 20: 1–16). Those who started earlier expected to be paid more than those who started later in the day, but they were all given an equal amount highlighting that biblical justice and fairness is not based on human standard but Gods for “the last will be first and the first will be last.”

The principle of equity at work is highlighted in Luke 12:42 -48 in the parable about the master and his servants. One of the servants was knowingly disobedient of his master and received a “severe beating” whereas the other was unknowingly disobedient of his master’s will and received a “light beating.”

The Bible calls us to pursue justice that honors both principles of equity and equality. As a committee, we refer to racial equity instead of racial equality because we recognize that the sin of racism requires intentional actions on our part to create a racially just and equal world.

How is the RDI Statement rooted in God’s word?

Our position on racial diversity, equality, and equity is firmly grounded on the truth of scripture. God’s original intent and design for humanity was established in creation where everything existed in a state of shalom— wholeness, harmony, and sinless perfection. In that environment, humanity was created in the image of God and given equal worth, value, and dignity (Genesis 1:26-27). Subsequently, the image of God in humanity (imago Dei) was marred by sin, and people were divided by the Fall (Genesis 4). Fallen people organized societies and perpetuated cycles and systems of brokenness, which continues to be expressed in our communities, institutions, and nations (Genesis 11, Exodus 1-12; 2 Chronicles 7:14, Isaiah 25:7-8; 65:17-25). Prejudice, racism, oppression, and injustice are the fruit of sin (James 2:9). The gospel is the ultimate solution to sin, and when believed, it changes the human heart and empowers the believer to engage in the work of shalom— restoring the world to God’s original intention. In Christ, we have been made a new creation, and this distinction is of primary importance (Galatians 2:28). Though we have been made one new humanity in Christ, our ethnic distinctions are not dissolved but rather are acknowledged throughout the New Testament (Acts 13:1, Revelation 5:9, 7:9-10.) The work of racial reconciliation is gospel work, and it involves imaging God, standing for truth and justice, and working for the flourishing of every person in our communities (Luke 4:18; 2 Corinthians 5:11-21).

How is the committee representing diversity in age, ethnicity, socioeconomics, Culturally and Linguistically Diverse?

As a committee, we consist of representatives from vastly different backgrounds, covering a variety of nationalities, ethnicities, cultures, and languages, as well as a wide age range. We have first-hand experience with the issues we address, which helps us provide a more empathetic and accurate understanding, coupled with extensive experience of engagement with and consequent solution to the issues at hand. Through our diversity within the committee, we aim to embody the solution we seek to bring.

How can we continue conversations of race, diversity, and inclusion in church life?

As a church we are committed to fostering healthy and safe conversations about race, diversity and inclusion within our community. Those conversations often require courage and empathy. Healthy conversations start with the principle from Matthew 7:12, ‘Do unto others whatever you would like them to do to you.’ The essence of this scripture is to place yourself in the shoes of another, expressing empathy, seeking to understand, be prepared to listen, and lead with compassion. We recognize that these conversations can be sensitive and often require courage and should you need further guidance please reach out to your local campus pastor.
At the highest level of leadership, we recognize the importance of continuing these conversations, which is why we have seated committees, and are continually working towards improvements. We are also committed to equipping our pastors, staff, and volunteers by providing training and resources.

How is the church moving forward in diversity in campuses and leadership?

Improving representation is a key pillar of our initial steps as a church in addressing racial injustice. The committee will continue to support lead and campus pastors to continue to take positive action to increase representation at all levels across our church. We will strive for our goal of being a church which looks like and serves its community.

Does our church subscribe to Critical Race Theory?

Hillsong Church believes that the Bible is God’s Word and that it is accurate, authoritative, and applicable to our everyday lives.

We understand CRT to be a social theory. Generally, social theories aim to describe social phenomena, diagnose problems within lived experiences and offer solutions to the problems uncovered or made visible.

As a social theory, CRT is an explanatory framework for seeking to describe how race and racism functions in society. Its core ideas are that race is a social construct and that racism is not just individual bias or prejudice but is embedded in legal and other social systems.

We believe that where social theories align with Biblical truth, they can be useful tools for us as we learn how to love our neighbors better.