Hillsong Phoenix Pastor separates from Hillsong Church, demands investigation

Pastor Terry Crist

The lead pastor of Hillsong Phoenix, Terry Crist, has requested that the global board of the Hillsong Church be investigated. He made this statement after his announcement that he desires to be formally separated from the Australia-based mega church. His decision is related to the disparity in the governance of the church following the resignation of its founder, Brian Houston.

It will be recalled that last Wednesday, Houston resigned after complaints were made by two women against him. The accusations centered on bad behavior in the past 10 years. Similarly, it was also alleged that the accusations involved leaders of the church in Australia and United States.

In a service in Hillsong Phoenix, Crist told congregants, “There are many reasons why we can’t continue … chief among them is our loss of confidence in the global board to continue leading us as a congregation.”

The preacher added that in 2016 when his church wanted to move from being a Hillsong network to becoming a part of Hillsong, there was an agreement that him and his wife, Judith, would remain in Phoenix. Likewise, they would have the choice to reconsider the basis of their relationship with the Hillsong Church if Brian Houston stops being a leader of the church.

Furthermore, Crist noted that one of the issues he had with the church was its lack of accountability and transparency. He also has issues with the board on matters relating to the governance of the church. However, he respects the work of the interim global senior pastor of Hillsong Church, Phil Dooley.

As information about the misbehavior of the church became open to the public, Crist said Hillsong Church made efforts to protect the image of the church. Consequently, lead pastors were asked to sign non-disclosure documents which some of them were not comfortable with.

Crist continued, “I was told this week, it is ‘all or nothing.’ We either had to allow the global church to govern our church and to own our properties, or we had to leave. And so with great sadness, I chose to leave. I am heartbroken…”

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