The Hillsong brand has been battered and beaten in North America in the last few months after pin-up New York pastor Carl Lentz admitted to having an affair.
Hillsong’s Global Senior Pastor, Brian Houston, recently announced the new pastors of the megachurch’s embattled New York campus. However, while new pastors are now in place, Pastor Houston is still addressing the underlying issues as to what went wrong in New York and to ensure that the culture and practices at Hillsong Church East Coast are in order.
“As our church has grown in unprecedented ways globally over recent years, we recognize the need to continue to strengthen infrastructure to ensure greater accountability and stability,” the church said in a statement. “These changes will aim to address the lapses that have affected the culture of our East Coast campuses, and prevent the strong policies, that we do have in place globally from being ignored. These additional protections are to ensure the wellbeing of volunteers, staff, members, and everyone who calls Hillsong home or visits one of our churches.
“One significant change in this regard will be the implementation of the Hillsong Global Charter at Hillsong East Coast, which will bring more oversight, compliance, and uniformity of expectation and culture across all our locations going forward.”
The church admitted that stringent sexual misconduct & harassment policy and mandatory training also need to be in place, stating that “It is clear that our existing policies and procedures, which intend to promote a healthy environment, were actively ignored, failed to be maintained, and were not enforced effectively at a local level.
“We will implement a more comprehensive policy with additional safeguards to ensure that all volunteers and staff understand that respectful and appropriate behavior is a non-negotiable requirement for us. Training will be implemented across all locations, and inappropriate conduct of any kind will not be tolerated.”
After sensationally sacking the high profile Carl Lentz last year after he admitted to an affair, the church has finally been able to appoint new pastors to lead the church forward.
Australian pastors Chrishan and Danielle Jeyaratnam, who are currently pastors at the Hillsong campus in Perth, Western Australia, will make the move to the Big Apple to oversee what is expected to be a new era for the church.
The New York church has also been under fire recently, having to face fresh allegations that staff at the churc used funds from giving on personal expenses. According to a new report in the New York Post, Pastors and staff apparently freely used debit-like “PEX” — or pre-paid expense — cards for whatever their hearts desired, several former members and staff told The Post. The source of the funds was money donated or “tithed” by members, said former Hillsong LA service pastor Nicole Herman, who personally loaded the funds onto the PEX cards.
Hillsong also announced that it is improving its financial accountability policies, stating that, “Although we had comprehensive policies and procedures in place, they were not always followed. Where possible, we will implement standardized procedures to add another layer of accountability through our Hillsong Global Charter. This will clearly outline the expectations we have of our Lead Pastors and churches for transparency and good stewardship. We will also increase awareness, training and accountability amongst our leaders to ensure that our existing policies are closely followed.”