Discovery+ announces March launch of ‘Hillsong: A Megachurch Exposed’ docu-series
By Matthias Browning
February 19, 2022
‘Hillsong: A Megachurch Exposed’ docu-series will launch in March, with the series expected to lift the lid on a range of issues behind the scenes at the global megachurch.
Hillsong has been in the news repeatedly for what seems like forever and it shows no signs of abating, with discovery+ announcing that it will be releasing its new documentary series in March.
The explosive three-part docu-series, ‘Hillsong: A Megachurch Exposed’, will premiere on Thursday, March 24 on discovery+, with all three episodes available on that date. According to the company, the documentary features interviews with Hillsong insiders, megachurch experts and Ranin Karim, the woman whose five-month affair with celebrity senior pastor Carl Lentz led to his downfall.
It says the series “will explore the high-profile, star-studded church’s alleged exploitation, abuse and cover-ups”.
While the series looks at Hillsong Church in general, much of the focus is around the rise and fall of former Hillsong NYC Pastor Carl Lentz.
“The project will chronicle the headline-making world of global star-studded megachurch Hillsong and the downfall of its ultra-hip, celebrity senior pastor, Carl Lentz,” a press release circulated last year stated.
Lentz was sensationally fired in 2020 after admitting to an affair before selling his New Jersey home and moving his family to California. Since then, Hillsong America has battled challenge after challenge, including allegations of “lavish spending” and misuse of funds at their Dallas church, which has seen Dallas closed temporarily.
In a recently released statement, the company said: “Today, discovery+ announced key participants who are featured in the explosive three-part documentary series, ‘Hillsong: A Megachurch Exposed’, premiering on discovery+ in 2022. In addition to the previously announced Ranin Karim, whose five-month affair with celebrity senior pastor Carl Lentz led to his downfall, weighing in on Hillsong Church’s alleged exploitation, abuse and coverups are former Hillsong pastors, volunteers who witnessed the corruption and a student who was assaulted by a Hillsong employee.
“The series will also examine how the star-studded Hillsong was able to grow into a global brand that attracted high-profile celebrity attendees, unearth the truth behind headlines of recent scandals and shine a light on the fine line between culture, corporation and cult.
“As previously announced, the docu-series will pull back the curtain and give viewers a look into the world of Hillsong, the megachurch with more than 150,000 global members that has recently come under scrutiny.
“‘Hillsong: A Megachurch Exposed’ will profile numerous ex-members of the church who have come forward en masse, to share harrowing allegations of the trauma, abuse, financial and labor exploitation and homophobia that created a culture of chaos at Hillsong.”
Added to the media attention the church faces, its Global Senior Minister, Brian Houston, has announced he is stepping down from his role for all of 2022 while he faces a court case in Australia.
His father, Frank Houston, who died in 2004, is accused of the alleged abuse of a young man back in the 1970s. Pastor Houston has faced ongoing criticism for reportedly finding out about his father’s sexual abuse of young boys. There is no inference that Brian Houston was any way involved in the crime.
Pastor Houston, who last year also stepped down from the church’s boards, made the announcement after legal advice deemed it would be ‘Best Practice’. He announced he intends to step down for the entirety of 2022, with Pastors Phil and Lucinda Dooley, who currently lead Hillsong South Africa, taking on the role.