The announcement last week that Brian Houston was withdrawing his Hillsong church network from the Australian Christian Churches denomination cane as a surprise to people on the outside, but it was inevitable.
Pastor Brian Houston is a very successful church leader and founder of the original Hillsong megachurch. For a number of years he also served as state and national president of the ACC. Many ACC churches, large and small, have sought to emulate the style and success of Hillsong.
Meanwhile, Hillsong has planted churches around the world and has changed from being an Australian church with overseas churches to being a globally based organisation in its own right.
The movements have parted ways, on respectful and friendly terms. Hillsong will continue to relate to the ACC, but it is not clear how that relationship will progress.
Here are the reasons why I believe that Brian Houston is a true apostle:
- He has a big vision, always looking for the next frontier. National borders and locations do not deter him.
- He is a strong leader, knowing exactly what he wants from the people who work with him.
- He is not afraid to innovate and try new things.
- He is a true father in the faith. He has trained and raised up leaders whom he mentors and sends out. Looking at the pastors who are a part of the Hillsong network, many of them are people who have been a part of the Hillsong mission for many years, trained under Brian Houston and moulded by him.
- Although there is a strong corporate feeling to the Hillsong structure, it is also highly relational. When I have been to Hillsong, which hasn't been for some years now, it has always struck me the love and affection which the leaders have for one another.
I believe that the new Hillsong denomination is a part of the restructuring that the Holy Spirit is bringing to the church. Authority is increasingly flowing through personal relationships rather than man-made structures. We still need the structures but it is the father and son relationships that will increasingly mark the church of the 21st century.