Displaying 30+ Stories
Allow Ads

Hillsong Church Has Announced Its New Global Pastors: 'Called by God'

Lucinda Dooley, second from left, and, Phil Dooley, third from left, were introduced as Hillsong Church's new global senior pastors Sunday. (Photo credit: Hillsong Church)

Hillsong Acting Global Senior Pastors Phil and Lucinda Dooley were officially recognized as the church's new global senior pastors Sunday. 

As CBN News reported in February of 2022, the Dooleys were named as "Acting Global Senior Pastors" for the Australia-based megachurch after the church's founding pastor Brian Houston stepped aside from all ministry responsibilities amid charges of concealing his father's child sex offenses.

The New South Wales Police Force had accused Houston, 67, in August of 2021 of covering up information about an incident where his father allegedly abused a boy in the 1970s.

Then, Houston resigned as global senior pastor of the church in March of 2022 after the Hillsong Church's global board announced that it had found he had breached the "Hillsong Pastor's Code of Conduct" involving separate incidents with two women, including a staff member. 

In an email to church members last April, Houston offered his apologies to the church he founded. He also said he and his wife Bobbie "have no intention of retiring."

Since then, the former Hillsong founder has preached at several different venues, including one last November in Australia, just weeks before appearing in court to answer accusations about his father's alleged child abuse.

Houston and his wife Bobbie founded Hillsong Church near Sydney in 1983. In February of 2022, the megachurch reported 150,000 members in 30 countries.

A 'New Era' 

The Dooleys have an impressive history with Hillsong. They founded a Hillsong Church in South Africa and led it for 14 years, according to the website Church Leaders. The church grew under their oversight into a large multi-campus congregation. 

Hillsong Church global board chairman Stephen Crouch announced the Dooleys' appointment as the new Global Senior Pastors during a ceremony at the church Sunday.  Calling it a "new era," he also took the time to recognize the Houstons and their work with the church, Church Leaders reported.  

"Today, as we look forward to a new era, it's important that we first acknowledge and honor pastors Brian and Bobbie Houston," Crouch said. "We can be deeply thankful for their vision, their passion, their commitment—to build a church where people can come to know Christ, where people can be discipled, and where we can learn to lead and to live flourishing, blessed lives."

"But today I have the enormous privilege of standing before you on behalf of the global board to announce Phil and Lucinda Dooley as our new global senior pastors of Hillsong Church," he continued. 

Crouch's announcement received a standing ovation from the audience, according to Church Leaders

"We believe—that is, the global senior board believes that they have got the spirit of leadership on their life," the church's global board chairman continued. "And as we have come to see them more closely, as you have come to see them more closely, you can see that they follow the Lord wholeheartedly—that they're Jesus followers."

"The board recognized that they're clearly called by God, and for their part, I know that they're deeply committed to their calling," Crouch said. "I believe they'll lead this church with grace and wisdom."

After the church's spiritual advisory team said a prayer for the couple, Phil Dooley told the congregation he and Lucinda resolved to "serve our global church family with humility of heart, love, and conviction that the church is the hope of the world."

The new Hillsong global senior pastor also expressed his optimism as the church moves forward with an expectation of God's "grace."

"And so now we look towards the future with humble expectation, an expectation that God will continue to pour out his grace over our church," Dooley said. "Our simple desire, as we've said many times now, is to continue to lead a healthy church, changing lives through Christ. And we'll continue to work towards that vision wherever our church communities gather across the earth." 

The Dooleys' permanent appointment follows a year of significant change for Hillsong which saw the implementation of recommendations from independent reviews of both the governance structure and the process for complaints against credentialed pastors, the church said in a statement posted to its website. The global board was also renewed and a new spiritual advisory team was formed to work closely with the senior pastors.

***Please sign up for CBN Newsletters and download the CBN News app to ensure you keep receiving the latest news from a distinctly Christian perspective.***

Did you know?

God is everywhere—even in the news. That’s why we view every news story through the lens of faith. We are committed to delivering quality independent Christian journalism you can trust. But it takes a lot of hard work, time, and money to do what we do. Help us continue to be a voice for truth in the media by supporting CBN News for as little as $1.