What Is Hillsong Church Really Like? Ed Stetzer Reports

MICHAEL KEEN / FLICKR
MICHAEL KEEN / FLICKR

The 30-year story of Hillsong Church is fascinating.

I’ve had several reporters ask about the lately as they celebrate their 30th. In prep for some of those interviews, including for this story, my team has been putting together something of a fact sheet. I’ll probably add more thoughts on Hillsong later, but feel free to add your own thoughts in the comments in the mean time.

Here is what my team included at the top of the briefing, focused on the high points, and edited into an article.

Brian and Bobbie Houston founded Hills Christian Life Centre in Sydney in 1983 as a congregation of 45. With the popularity and brand of the world-famous Hillsong music, the church changed its name to Hillsong Church in 1999—the music renamed the church.

Currently, almost 100,000 people worship at Hillsong campuses around the globe.

It’s quite a fascinating phenomenon that warrants a discussion of what they’ve done to see such dramatic growth.

The Numbers
Hillsong looks like many other megachurches: contemporary worship, informal preaching, specific strategy for their vision, multiple locations, state-of-the-art technology, and a dynamic leader. What’s remarkable about Hillsong—among other things—is that Hillsong is in Australia, which is not exactly an evangelical bastion. Having 30,000 people on a weekend in Dallas is noteworthy. Having 30,000 people in Australia was inconceivable—until Hillsong.

In 2011, nearly one out of every three Australians said their religious affiliation was either “no religion” or not stated (it’s about 20% in the U.S.). As I said in the RNS article, “In a country where 55,000 people indicated ‘Jedi’ as their religion (2006 census), and most denominations are in decline, Hillsong’s continual growth is stunning.”

Hillsong adds professionalism and positivity to their Pentecostalism.

They are Pentecostal, which is not surprising given that most of the largest churches in Australia are. Denominationally, they are affiliated with the Australian Christian Churches, the fastest growing Protestant denomination in Australia and part of the global Assemblies of God family.

Hillsong is clear: they seek to be a large, world-impacting church. It is a part of their vision: “To reach and influence the world by building a large Christ-centered, Bible-based church, changing mindsets and empowering people to lead and impact in every sphere of life.”

Click here to read more.

SOURCE: Christianity Today
Ed Stetzer

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