Hostile unity

Hillsong has taken over the Garden City Church today. They were voted in by the members – but not cleanly. According to Ten news anyway…

It raises an interesting question about how much ownership a minister should have over their flock – and whether churches should ever be considered a “commodity” – surely Hillsong could simply have purchased their own block of land rather than launching a wholesale takeover.

If I were the current minister I’d be feeling a little ripped off having been turfed out just because a Sydney brand wanted somewhere to expand.


Although as the ‘related posts’ above show, I’m hardly a fan of, I’m always doubtful about the integrity of these reports in the media, and read them with a fist full of salt.

Although it could be a case of the evil and wicked B&B Houston attempting to assimilate every pentecostal church in the world into their Borg-like army, there are many other possible scenarios:
* Financial troubles, or preventing future financial troubles by centralising.
* The Brisbane leadership & congregation wanting to gain something from the ‘brand’.
* An impending leadership vacuum, with no-one locally available to take charge of a large organisation.
* Some conflict in the leadership which was ‘resolved’ by handing over the problem.
* A denominational move of rebranding all AOG churches as branches of

That this final decision was passed by a congregational vote, it seems that the ‘evil empire’ angle taken by the media is not the whole story.

Tim says:

I wonder how many new members they have had since the intention to be joined was decided? I have no idea nut it would be interesting to know if this was a full hostile takeover or a misreported event. Sounds scary though.

queenstuss says:

Hillsong are just trying to stake a bigger claim before Mars Hill comes along out outbigs them.

Amy says:

My boss and his wife are/were (in order) part of this church, so I have a bit of insider knowledge here. And as much as I hate to say it, The Courier Mail wasn’t too off on the story.

So, from a conversation I had with him today – former senior pastor was ‘encouraged’ to leave by certain members who then invited the Houstons in. My boss seems to be of the opinion that many people who voted are not quite aware that they have given them the power to change the board, the constitution, the name, etc.

Also, of a church of thousands, only 650ish were registered voters, which is quite interesting.

Anyway, there are quite a few unhappy people so it will be very interesting to see what happens.

Amy says:

But it is sad isn’t it – that a megachurch like that – now run by a Sydney-based fly in, fly out leadership team, how can they have true links/be part of to a local community?

Leah says:

Yuck, yuck, yuck.

Damien says:

I can understand how a merge (I hesitate to use the term “takeover” in this example) would benefit a small, struggling congregation if it was carefully planned and implemented with a mutually agreed goal of “replanting”.

However, GCCC is by no means a small, struggling congregation. It’s hard to comment on this without knowing all of the facts, but it scares me that churches can now be considered as a “commodity” to allow for geographical expansion like a fast food joint. “Over 1 billion souls saved! Awesome!”

I suppose it was inevitable really, given the number of churches that focus on prosperity these days.