A senior executive at Hillsong has spoken out on the written response from the church’s board in explaining Brian Houston’s actions, calling the excuse for being in a woman’s hotel room “dribble”.
Jason Mays, an executive at Hillsong, says the church indulged Brian Houston’s ‘distinct lack of personal accountability’ over many years and board members should consider resigning. In an article in The Guardian, Mays is scathing of the way the board announced Houston’s resignation.
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The Guardian says that Mays, the church’s head of people and development, recommended in a letter dated 19 March that Brian Houston and his wife, Bobbie, should be permanently sacked from Hillsong, saying Brian Houston “considered himself beyond disciplinary boundaries” and defied them “without further recourse from those responsible for his discipline”.
“Unfortunately, I believe this typifies the leadership that is foundational to many unhealthy people practices employed within our Church based on my observations over many years,” Mays wrote.
Mays said employees of the church were asked to believe insulting “dribble” put out by the board to explain Houston’s alleged visit to a woman’s room at a conference in 2019 (the board’s full response can be read here). “One insulting example (of many) is that Brian lost his room key so knocked on the lady’s door, a detail he no doubt recalls despite memory loss during the following 40 minutes. Are we really asking our staff to accept such dribble and defend our Church with such?”
He said directors involved in managing the situation should consider resigning, having “failed in their governance and fiduciary obligations”, and called for an independent inquiry into the decisions of the church’s top body.
He also believes that Bobbie Houston was right to be made redundant for her “willingness to tolerate such behavior”.
Mays is no stranger to controversy with Hillsong. His son, Jason, was part of a 60 Minutes Australia investigation into sexual assault at the church, of which he was alleged to be a part of. The Christian Post reported last year that Hillsong employee Jason Mays was heavily intoxicated at a private party and acted inappropriately with a bible college student from America.
60 Minutes investigated the story, in full view of Australians on a Sunday evening.
In the Hillsong soap opera, which is beginning to look like a script for a HBO drama, rather than the actual real life events in a modern day church, what may happen next is anyone’s guess. Nine of the 16 U.S. churches have now broken away from Hillsong, most taking their congregations with them.
The Hillsong brand is exceptionally damaged, but as Mays says, when you’re seen as a brand, rather than a church, perhaps you have drifted a long way from your proper mission.