HILLSONG Church made headlines when it was claimed superstar singer Justin Bieber had cancelled the remaining of his Purpose world tour after consulting the organisation.
But what is Hillsong Church all about and why have they got such a large celebrity following? Here’s all you need to know about the Pentecostal megachurch…
Where is Justin Bieber’s Hillsong Church?
The church was originally founded inside a warehouse in northwest Sydney, Australia, in 1983 by ex-window cleaner Brian Houston and his wife Bobbie.
Hillsong is a global organization, with locations across the globe and has an estimated weekly attendance of 100,000 people.
The New York branch of the Australian-based church holds its services in Manhattan’s Hammerstein Ballroom.
The church’s official mission statements reads: “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.”
Who is pastor Carl Lentz?
Pastor Carl Lentz is one of the lead pastors at Hillsong NYC along with his wife Laura and fellow lead pastors Joel & Esther Houston.
He is one of the more famous faces linked with the church and has made a name due to his never-ending stream of selfies with celebrity stars who have attended his services or called on him for guidance.
Carl helped Justin Bieber to get connected with Hillsong after Justin reached out to him back in 2010.
The pastor proceeded to baptise Justin after the pop star said he wanted to re-commit to God.
Carl and Justin have become extremely close in the following years and Justin even moved in with Carl and Laura – who fell in love after meeting at Hillsong College, a school affiliated with the international organization – for a month in 2014.
Which celebrities attend Hillsong services?
Hillsong has a large following from the ‘young Hollywood’ crowd including the likes of Khloe and Kourtney Kardashian, as well as their half-sisters Kendall and Kylie Jenner.
Justin Bieber takes his girlfriends there to get the Pastor’s approval – including Paola Paulin.
His ex-girlfriend’s Selena Gomez and Hailey Baldin have also attended services, while stars such High School Musical’s Vanessa Hudgens, Hailee Steinfeld, Nick Jonas
The church is also attended by Justin’s manager Scooter Braun, musician Bono and basketball star Kevin Durant.
What allegations have been made about Hillsong Church?
Hillsong Church has faced a string of controversies as it’s grown in size.
In 1999 Brian Houston’s father Frank — also a pastor — confessed to him that he had sexually abused a seven-year-old boy in Australia 30 years earlier.
Brian did not report the abuse to the police. He suspended his dad, who was given a retirement package.
The victim received a cheque for £6,000, but later claimed that Brian told him: “It’s your fault all this happened – you tempted my father.”
He claimed Frank would come into his room “nearly every night of the week” and molest him while staying with his family from 1970.
Eight more allegations of sex abuse were levelled at Frank Houston before he died of a stroke in 2004. None were reported to the police.
An Australian royal commission which examined allegations censured Brian in 2015 and accused him of covering up his father’s crimes.