Hillsong Phoenix is the latest Hillsong church to announce it is leaving the Australian-based movement.
The church’s senior pastor, Terry Crist, made the announcement in the light of the news of the church’s founding pastor, Brian Houston, resigning over indiscretions.
Citing the need for “need for transparency and accountability”, Crist has made the decision to break away. He follows Hillsong Atlanta pastor Sam Collier in leaving the megachurch.
In a statement published to twitter, Crist stated: “With a heavy heart I announced our decision to withdraw our church from the Hillsong Church global family this morning. It was a difficult and heartbreaking moment and many are processing the pain. Would you pray for our community today?
“I’m not going to use social media as a forum to process this decision. My sermon this morning is my best attempt to pastor our church well and to provide context to our community. “
The message can be seen in full below.
Prior to making the decision, he sated: “In light of all the news that has broken today, I need a few hours to sleep, breathe, and grieve before responding. To all friends, concerned colleagues, and even media who have reached out, I will respond after I have had some time in rest, prayer, and reflection.”
Added to the pressure on Hillsong America churches and their pastors is the fact that the explosive docu-series ‘Hillsong: A Megachurch Exposed’ has just hit the screens.
In addition, the church’s former Dallas pastor, Reed Bogard, will now face allegations of rape by a former staff member.
Hillsong churches could be in a free fall if local pastors to continue to go their own way. Since Pastor Houston’s resignation last week, there have been no further updates from the church, nor from Brian or Bobbie Houston.
The church’s new Global Senior Minister, Phil Dooley, has addressed staff and church members, but as yet, it is probably too early to know exactly what a potential Houston-less future will look like.