Hillsong clarifies Bobbie Houston's redundancy in email to church
“This is a very heart-breaking situation for all of us”
Hillsong’s Global and Australian Boards have sent an email to Hillsong Church members clarifying Bobbie Houston’s employment status.
The email comes after Brian Houston posted to Instagram last night that Bobbie had been “made redundant (effective immediately) through no choice of her own.”
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The image posted by Houston showed a screenshot of message evidently sent to Bobbie that read, “Dear Bobbie, I wanted to text to let you know I will be sending an email shortly regarding your employment. Please let me know if you would like to talk about it or if you have questions. Yours faithfully… ” and a name that had been whited out.
“After 39 years of exemplary service and extraordinary faithfulness and fruitfulness, this is the communication Bobbie received from the Hillsong Church board as she is made redundant (effective immediately) through no choice of her own. This is just 3 weeks after she hosted her 26th year of Colour Conferences. (A total of 118 conferences around the world.) She has relentlessly served God and served people as she stood side by side with me for four decades leading Hillsong Church, faithful in the good times and the tough times alike. And we are supposed to act like this is all ok. It’s not! Our beautiful church is losing its soul.”
Hillsong’s email to the church provides further details. It reads:
You may have heard news of Bobbie Houston departing from her role at Hillsong Church. We wish to provide you with some information that will help you better understand what has led to this.
As you are aware, on Monday 21st March 2022, Brian resigned from all roles and duties at Hillsong Church. This required the Board to initiate difficult and challenging conversations with Bobbie regarding the transition in her role as Co-Global Senior Pastor, given that Brian had resigned and was no longer working for Hillsong Church.
Bobbie has served God and Hillsong Church faithfully over several decades and we thank her and honour her for this. The impact of Colour Conference on women across the world will be felt forever and into eternity, and she is and always will be loved.
Board members from the Hillsong Global and Australian Boards met with Brian and Bobbie on Monday 28th March 2022 to begin discussions regarding separation of their key roles and responsibilities. This process has continued and there is more work still to be done. Our desire has been to treat them with grace, love and honour, and at this meeting, we acknowledged the importance of publicly recognising Bobbie’s dedicated service to our church and the cause of Christ globally. We then committed to work with her to communicate this to the church.
After this meeting, Brian emailed the Church – to apologise, take responsibility and thank the people of Hillsong Church. He also indicated a strong desire to continue in ministry with Bobbie in the years ahead.
Yesterday, a follow-up email was sent to Bobbie from a member of the Australian board outlining the redundancy plan which was part of our discussions at the prior meeting. Before the email was sent, the board member sent her a text message to offer the opportunity for a phone call after she received the email. The desire was to show genuine care and open the opportunity for further discussion. Brian responded by making his feelings public on social media. This has been interpreted and reported that the Hillsong board “made her role redundant by text”, which is not correct.
As we are in a season of transition within our church, this is always difficult and complex as well as being emotionally strenuous for all. We are mindful of the deep sense of loss and grief that will be experienced at this time, and the challenges in planning a way forward for our church.
This is a very heart-breaking situation for all of us at Hillsong Church who are so honoured to have ministered alongside Brian and Bobbie. We know that God has their future in His hands and at the same time, we are relying on God’s guidance as we plan a way forward for our church. We are saddened by Brian’s public response and hope that he and Bobbie will understand the heart behind the decisions that are being made. The goal was to work together with them and keep the church safe in the process, not to hurt anyone.
Our focus is on health in this season, and to allow our church the opportunity to enter a new season while acknowledging and honouring the past, and all that our church family has been built on.
Please continue to pray for Brian and Bobbie and also for our church. As always, our pastoral team is available to anyone who would like support.
Hillsong Church Global and Australian Boards