In Atlanta, Boston and Phoenix, Hillsong pastors are leaving the movement

The Hillsong megachucrch is currently in the spotlight after the resignation of its lead pastor and founder Brian Houston. Since this announcement, several pastors from other large churches in the network have distanced themselves from the international movement based in Australia. 

The 23 last march, Hillsong megachurch founder and senior pastor Brian Houston has resigned from the church after his inappropriate behavior towards two church women came to light.

The Australian megachurch was also recently the subject of a documentary entitled “Hillsong: A Megachurch Exposed” (“Hillsong: Une Megachurch mise à nu” in French Ed) which expose abuses allegedly perpetrated by leaders of the church network.

Repeated scandals that have led several pastors to distance themselves from Hillsong in the United States, particularly in Phoenix, Atlanta and Boston.

Hillsong Phoenix leaves the movement

according to Christian today, Hillsong Phoenix pastor Terry Crist announced Sunday (March 27) at his church that he had formally requested to part ways with the Hillsong network "due to a governance dispute" and following the resignation of Brian Houston.

“There are many reasons why we cannot continue… chief among them is our loss of trust in the world council to continue to lead us as a congregation,” the pastor said during the service.

In particular, he calls for an investigation into Hillsong's global board of directors based in Australia.

New Church Launched in Atlanta by Former Hillsong Pastor

Pastor Sam Collier of Hillsong Atlanta announced in March on Instagram that he was resigning from his post because of the various cases involving the movement.

Christian headlines reveals that Sunday, on the occasion of Easter, he started a new church "Story Church". According to the outlet, many of the staff at this new church were already serving at Hillsong Atlanta which has officially disbanded.

During this launch service, he notably explained to the congregation that leaving Hillsong had been a painful decision for him.

“My intention was never to leave the Hillsong sphere. It was a real dream for us to be part of it, so I cried a lot when I left,” he said, before recalling that sometimes God asks us to make “difficult decisions”.

"That doesn't mean it's done without tears, but we still submit to His will," he continued.

“And now that we are independent we place our trust in God, confident that you will help us build this church thanks to your generosity”, he added, specifying that each donation would be spent “wisely” and “from appropriate way".

Boston pastors resign

On Monday, another couple of pastors announced their resignation as heads of a Hillsong church, this time in Boston.

They are Josh and Leona Kimes who, according to The Roys Report announced on Josh Kimes' private Instagram account that they had made "the difficult decision to step down".

The announcement comes a week after an investigation into the governance of Hillsong New York, where the couple worked before starting a church in Boston, was leaked by the Christian post.

Josh Kimes says he "didn't plan to leave Hillsong Church." “This has been my home for 22 years. This is where I have been a pastor for the past 16 years, ”he writes, adding that it is in particular within the church that he met his wife.

While he did not give a reason for the resignation, he apologized for the role he may have played in promoting "a culture that sometimes valued church building at the expense of those who were building it." He also said that Hillsong will "always hold a special place" in his heart and those of his family.

Last year, Leona Kimes accused Carl Lentz, the former Hillsong New York pastor of sexually assaulting her when she was the nanny of his children. Allegations he denies.

The former pastor was fired in 2020 for "direction problems and breaches of trust" as well as a "revelation of moral failure". The report leaked by the Christian Post reveals, among other abuses, that he had several extramarital affairs while serving as pastor of Hillsong New York.

On Instagram, Josh Kimes honored his wife, saying he was proud of her, he praised her courage.

“My wife could easily choose hatred and bitterness towards those who abused, hurt, judged, lied, tried to shame her and silence her, but instead chose love, humility, resilience and personal growth,” he wrote.

Camille Westphal Perrier

Image credit: / Roland Magnusson

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