Hillsong Atlanta’s lead pastor, Sam Collier, has resigned in the wake of the dramas surrounding the megachurch as Brian Houston’s indiscretions towards women have been revealed.
Collier made the announcement on social media, at the same time announcing this Sunday will be his last service. Citing the ongoing scandals and the church’s management of these issues as the reason for his resignation, he also stated that he “cried like a baby” after he announced his decision to leaders.
He also announced that he plans to launch Story Church on Easter Sunday, with services to be held at Center Stage Atlanta on Peachtree Road.
“It is with great sadness that I inform you of my departure from Hillsong,” Collier said. “I have appreciated the Hillsong family and want to thank the Houstons for the love they have shown Toni (wife) and me.
“My greatest reason for stepping down as Pastor of Hillsong Atlanta is probably not a secret to any of you. With all of the documentaries, scandals, articles, accusations and the church’s subsequent management of these attacks it’s become too difficult to lead and grow a young Church in this environment.”
The announcement of Brian Houston’s resignation was made at an emergency staff meeting at the megachurch’s Australian head office in Sydney’s Baulkham Hills on Wednesday.
Allegations against the senior Hillsong pastor were exposed last week with Mr Houston accused of committing “indiscretions” towards two women. Coupled with the fact that he had taken the year off from his role in the church to take the focus off an upcoming court case, the latest allegations have now rocked the Australian founded church to its core.
“I have no shame in admitting I cried like a baby moments after I informed the Hillsong global pastor of my departure,” Collier continued.
“I truly love the Hillsong family and believe they will get through this storm and come out better than they were before.”
Collier told the Atlanta Journal Constitution, “It became a lot for a our church, for a young church,” he said. “A lot of our members were becoming really fatigued with a lot of the scandals and having to talk about it so much. I say this all the time that trust is the only thing you have when building a church. People have to trust you if they’re going to donate and if they’re going to support it.”
Adding to the pressure on American leaders is today’s launch of ‘Hillsong: A Megachurch Exposed’ docu-series. The series is expected to lift the lid on a range of issues behind the scenes at the global megachurch, exposing many of the scandals and inflicting even greater damage on the church’s ‘brand’.
Hillsong has been in the news repeatedly for what seems like forever and it shows no signs of abating. The explosive three-part docu-series is being released on discovery+. 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.
According to his bio on the Hillsong website, Sam Collier is the Lead Pastor of Hillsong Atlanta. He is also the founder of A Greater Story Ministries which houses a nationally televised interview series and podcast called “A Greater Story with Sam Collier”, as well as a partnership with Baker Publishing which recently released his first book entitled, A Greater Story.