In March 2022, the documentary series ‘Hillsong: A Megachurch Exposed’ was released on Discovery+, with victims shedding light on the widespread emotional, financial, and sexual abuse by leaders of one of the most popular megachurches in the world. On this follow-up podcast, documentary filmmaker Dan Johnstone and former Hillsong NYC videographer and insider Delali Rouge go on an emotional investigative journey to speak with more victims that have come forward in the aftermath of the documentary. They expose damning new allegations against the megachurch and its leaders, and explore how the Hillsong community is dealing with the fallout. Dan and Delali also pursue the man who set the fuse on the Hillsong demolition, but has yet to speak: Carl Lentz.
Ep.8: Exclusive - Unsealing the Lentz Report
Dan receives the full internal report on Hillsong NYC and Carl Lentz from an anonymous domain called “Hellsong”. Along with Delali and Religion News Service’s Roxanne Stone, Dan unpacks the report from the rampant abuse of power, sexual impropriety, and discrimination, to the reckless spending and financial misconduct by Hillsong NYC leaders.
Ep.7: Broken Silence
Dan and Delali travel to Florida, where Carl Lentz now lives, in an attempt to hear from him for the first time since his resignation from Hillsong. As Delali seeks closure, she and Dan reflect on their journey and discuss recent developments, including Carl’s first public post since leaving Hillsong, Brian Houston’s upcoming court case and Hillsong’s attempt to reshape their image with new music.
Ep.6: Truth To Power
After two-and-a-half years away from Hillsong, Delali is finally ready to share her full, unfiltered story of her experience as the lead videographer of Hillsong NYC, working closely with Carl Lentz and other Hillsong NYC leaders.
Ep. 5: Same Old Sin
Dan arranges a call with Barry Bowen, who works with the Trinity Foundation, an organization founded to investigate and expose religious fraud and promote transparency in religious institutions.
Ep.4: Let There Be Light
Dan connects with former Hillsong Boston volunteer, Noemi Uribe, who shares her personal pursuit of healing, change, and identity outside of Hillsong.
Ep.3: Protect The Kingdom
In a major disclosure on April 22nd, former Hillsong member, Geoff Bullock, breaks his 27-year silence and blew the whistle on Hillsong’s past, revealing yet another case of sexual abuse by Brian Houston’s father, pastor Frank Houston.
A commercial for the Discovery+ show
Come on. You couldn’t get at least one celebrity to interview?
Donations and Spending
I was a church administrator at our large church for many years, and on leadership volunteer staff at two others. Within these twenty+ years, I have endured a hostile church takeover; multiple pastor’s affairs; staff caught in online child pornography; monetary theft; personal shaming and verbal abuse by a pastor; and a youth pastor’s sexual child abuse. Thankfully, my faith in Christ remains unshaken, though none of this was painless for our family, and so many others.
With regard to donations and inappropriate spending, I am sharing the following:
In order to ensure a church’s federal and state non-profit status, donations must be made without designation by the giver. Any gift (monetary or material) made with use-specific directive(s) may not be tax deductible to the giver, nor untaxed by the church.
The only exception is a pre-approved and documented Board motion to establish specific categories of need, such as mission projects, church/ministry events, capital improvements, etc. Absence of this formal act jeopardizes the church’s non-profit status, as well as the giver’s right to tax-deductibility of their monetary gift. It sounds as though Hillsong has breached these laws and should be subject to taxation of such mishandling of donated funds.
(Perhaps a whistleblower opportunity?)
Thank you for the excellent research and commentary on Hillsong’s implosion. This is entire debacle is horribly painful, sad, shameful and disgustingly UN-Christian. Our prayers are dedicated to the spiritual healing and peace for all who have been harmed in any way by these false leaders! God bless your dedicated efforts✝️
Was I supposed to watch the documentary as a prerequisite? I have yet to hear what this church is accused of doing.