Hillsong Church has split from Australia's leading Pentecostal denomination to become a denomination of its own.
Senior global pastor Brian Houston says it's because the church has become too big. From day one, Hillsong has been a member of Australian Christian Churches (ACC), a branch of the World Assemblies of God Fellowship.
However, Hillsong's influence has grown exponentially and is no longer an exclusively Australian church.
"As Hillsong Church has continued to grow, we no longer see ourselves as an Australian Church with a global footprint, but rather a global church with an Australian base – our global office now resides in the USA. Two-thirds of the people attending Hillsong Church each weekend live in countries beyond Australia," Houston wrote in a recent letter to the ACC.
Today, Hillsong Church is in 24 nations with 123 different campuses and locations.
"For this reason, we are now registered by the Australian Department of Births, Deaths, and Marriages, as a recognized denomination with the ability to credential pastors in our own right," he wrote.
By being able to credential pastors within their own denomination, Hillsong will avoid confusion or communication issues that may arise if they were still apart of an exclusively Australian-based organization.
"This recognition alleviates the issues that would occur if, for example, a concern arises that affects the credential of a Hillsong Church youth pastor in one of our campuses in Europe. The Australian ACC cannot be expected to have adequate information to address this issue or even know who the person is, let alone the resources to appropriately deal with the issue on a personal or pastoral level," he shared.
Houston says he has no hard feelings towards the ACC and is grateful for their leadership.
"I want to make it clear that we have no grief or dispute at all with the ACC. Instead, this decision comes after almost two years of prayerful discussion within both our global and Australian church boards," Houston explained. "The goal is that we could become an associate church, and that we would continue to lean into the ACC and support, at some level, initiatives such as conferences missions, and Alphacrucis; while foregoing voting and other rights associated with full member churches and ordained ACC pastors."