Brian Houston is standing down as Global Senior Pastor of Hillsong church for the rest of 2022 as he prepares for his upcoming court case. Phil and Lucinda Dooley take on new roles as “Interim Global Senior Pastors, moving back to Australia from South Africa where they have grown a multi-campus Hillsong ministry.
Brian Houston is facing a charge of “concealing the serious indictable offence of another person”, which relates to his failure to report his father Frank Houston’s sexual abuse of a young boy to the police. Last week the local court was told a case conference between the prosecutors and Houston’s lawyers would be held in February. Houston has entered a plea of not guilty.
He told the Hillsong churches around Australia that he intends to “Fight the case vigorously” and “welcomes the chance to set the record straight.”
Houston said the Hillsong Global Board had been told by their legal counsel that it is best practice for him to step aside during the case which the lawyers expect to be drawn out. The Hillsong Board had also considered the emotional effect that Frank Houston’s crime had had on Brian Houston, during a board retreat in December.
The Houston case follows the finding of the Royal Commission into the Institutional Response to Child Sexual Abuse that Houston failed to report Frank Houston’s criminal offences.
Bobbie Houston will continue in ministry during the year, including leading the Colour conference. She reminded the church that “All things work together for good.”
Preaching from John 10, Bobbie Houston told the church of the promise that no one can snatch Jesus’ followers out of his hand. “Fear only God” was her message.
Wiping a tear from his eye, Phil Dooley took the stage – and rather than discuss the circumstances of his new job – began by calling on people to “say Yes to God,” leading a prayer of decision for people to accept Jesus as Lord and Saviour. With many tears, Lucinda Dooley gave her testimony of coming to Christ back when Hillsong met in a school hall or a warehouse.