I am not sure if you were like me, but I almost choked on my morning coffee when I read the news that Hillsong’s Brian Houston had been accused of indiscretions towards women.
Did I really read it correctly that Pastor Houston, the founder of the Hillsong global megachurch, had developed a dependence on sleeping pills and was in the hotel room of another woman after a Hillsong conference? As I type this, I can hardly believe this is true, and especially after Hillsong saw the pain caused when news broke that Carl Lentz was sacked for having an affair (which may have been multiple affairs). Brian Houston was in fact the one that had to sack him.
Pastor Houston had been under the media’s spotlight for so long that if there was one pastor that could get away with absolutely nothing, then he was the one. Hillsong has been getting criticized in the media in Australia for close to two decades now, while for most of that time it has been championed in the US. Brian and Bobbie have been subjected to more media attention than perhaps all of the megachurch pastors combined.
Soon though, as I thought about it some more, things started to fall into place, at least in my mind. Here is a man that is running a very large organization that alone is stressful enough to do. But on top of that, the pastor has been under extreme pressure for decades over the wrongdoings of his father, Frank Houston, some forty years ago.
Brian Houston had had to carry the pressure of his father’s child abuse for basically his entire adult life. His profile has meant that sensitive information that would normally be kept among family and close associates was aired across the globe. What was not his doing has become a major part of his life and I cannot begin to understand the shame and embarrassment, let alone the pressure, he has been under all these years.
Running our company and the pressure that comes with it, I know that if it wasn’t for my ability to go to God in prayer and to read His word for guidance, I too could easily be addicted to something that could at times numb the stress.
Brian Houston has certainly had to pay for the sins of his long-deceased father, and while there will be Christians ready to cast the first stone at him, I am hoping that there will instead be grace applied. The Houstons would be dealing with enough of their own grief, let alone their concern for the Hillsong church members, of which I am not one and so I am not writing this as though they are my pastors.
Life is tough, pastors are human, Brian Houston has made some major errors, but no one will pay for them like he will. My prayers are with him and his family, and I pray yours are too.
Matt Danswan is the CEO of Initiate Media, publishers of SP. He is also the author of NOT Business As Usual.