Disney+ is straeming the “Hillsong: A Megachurch Exposed”….
It is NOT pretty….
The linked piece below is from someone who quit the church about a decade ago….
Hillsong is not alone in troubles at religious organisation’s as we have seen ….
I’m still working out why exactly I quit going to church in my early 20s, about a decade ago; for a long time, all I could really muster was that I could no longer ignore the gnawing suspicion that I’d be happier if I did. (I was.) As an adult, though, I’ve started to piece together that perhaps it had less to do with God or the Bible or Christianity itself than with the fallible, corruptible, misguidable human beings I answered to every Sunday.
So when I watched Discovery Plus’s new three-part documentary “Hillsong: A Megachurch Exposed,” some of what it uncovered felt wholly, sadly familiar. Other revelations, though, were uniquely horrifying.
“A Megachurch Exposed” aims to spotlight the many alleged wrongdoings of Hillsong, which now has locations in 30 countries. It airs allegations that Hillsong’s leadership got rich off donations while heavily exploiting volunteer labor. And it argues that pastors have engaged in extramarital affairs and mishandled accusations of sexual misconduct by church staff, despite teaching the evils of impurity and lying.
Arguably Hillsong’s most famous scandal stateside involved the downfall of Carl Lentz, the young, attractive pastor (dubbed a “hypepriest” by GQ) often spotted wearing luxury streetwear and hanging out with the celebrities among his congregation — including Justin and Hailey Bieber, Kourtney Kardashian and Kevin Durant. In 2020, Lentz admitted to having a months-long extramarital affair and was fired from his position as head of Hillsong’s only American church, located in New York City. “A Megachurch Exposed” delves into that saga, while also featuring testimonies from former staffers, volunteers and congregation members — plus students at the church-adjacent Hillsong College — who allege that they’ve been worked to exhaustion for no pay or that at least one report of inappropriate behavior toward a young woman by a male staffer was under-investigated. (On the latter, the church has claimed it reported it to Australian authorities shortly after leadership found out….
This specific brand of leadership hypocrisy in church settings is, unfortunately, not specific to Hillsong. It’s practically a trope by now, the hyper-successful church leader who quite literally fails to practice what he preaches. Famed televangelist Jim Bakker went to prison in 1989 for fraud related to church fundraising. Jimmy Swaggart, whose televised sermons and Bible studies were broadcast all over the nation in the early 1980s, was suspended by the Assemblies of God Fellowship and eventually defrocked after he was caught hiring sex workers. Pastors at more than one church I attended with my family have resigned or been removed from ministry after being exposed as adulterers and even abusers; one had even stood in front of my friends and me, at youth-group gatherings and in church-camp firepits, imparting to us what seemed like a heartfelt message on the importance of maintaining sexual purity.
Even works of fiction have lately been dealing with hypocrisy in megachurch settings.
image…People worship during a service at Hillsong in New York in 2017. (Andres Kudacki/AP)