I have been to Hillsongs Church in Australia and I have even met Brian Houston. I like him and I enjoyed our discussion. What I am about to say has nothing to do with Hillsongs churches being bad or that they be rejected. I do have my concerns about some of the things they do, namely in New York but I find them be biblical.
However, churches need to quit trying to the local manifestation of Hillsongs and no, the pastor’s wife is not the local Darlene Zschech. I am sorry but you don’t still draw people to church by singing Shout to the Lord 20 years later. It just doesn’t work that way.
If someone thinks I am picking on Hillsongs and giving Bethel Redding a free pass, I am not. Pastors trying to be their little Bethel, James River, Dream City (Phoenix First) or even IHOPKC are just as bad. Pastors need to quit trying to franchise Pentecostalism. It is wrong and to be blunt, it could be witchcraft.
For some reason, people like copy some successful church and think it will work for them somewhere else. It won’t. It might for a few years but in time, it will fall completely apart. You can even buy some ministry’s curriculum to be a clone today.
Why your church will not be Hillsongs Church!
If you have a small church in Pokeduck, Missouri and you think you can see the success that Brian Houston has seen in Sydney, Australia; you are out of your mind. There is reasons that trying their model won’t work and in many cases, it would actually harm your ability to preach the gospel to the community in your area!
Pokeduck, Missouri is NOT Sydney or New York
Let’s start with the elephant in the room. Pokeduck is a small town made up of farmers and people who support farmers. It is not liberal tree hungers and people who think they are be movie stars or rock stars! People come to church in Pokeduck with their rifle in the truck to go hunting afterwards or drive the John Deere over to the service. How many people tractors are parked outside of Hillsongs Sydney? None.
What works there will not work in a small town in Missouri and what works for James River in southwest Missouri won’t work in New York City. This is something to be said about being contextual as a pastor and as a church!
2. You don’t have the money they do!
I know this will come as a surprise but churches with 10,000 tithers can do much more than churches with 100 members. It might be a total surprise to you but it is basic common sense. You can out rent out a football stadium for a night of christmas caroling like they can.
To do major production like they do takes serious cash and most small town churches like in Pokeduck, Missouri just don’t have a million dollar to spend on an event like Hillsongs Church does.
3. Being faithfully Pentecostal matters
While I value Brian Houston as a brother, his preaching is lacking conviction and there is little to no preaching on being baptized in the Holy Spirit with the initial physical evidence of praying in tongues. They turned divine healing into a marketing scam that ended very badly and there is little discussion about end time harvest with them. Hillsongs Church is best said to be presenting the self help message or the social gospel.
We are not going to fix the lack of revival in our churches by trying to be the next Oprah or Joel Osteen. We need to get back to the ancient path of preaching a bloody Savior, the blood, the anointing, and the Pentecostal experience. These are not core messages of the preaching out of Hillsongs Church for some reason and that is sad.
Visiting past Altars
I believe that many pastors in our churches need to revisit the altars of old in Pentecost. We need to remember that our movement grew because of the fiery preaching of some hellfire and brimstone preachers, not hipster moderns. Outside of Aimee Semple McPherson, our leaders in the early days were almost anti-cultural, not relevant to it. They told me to flee the popular culture and that it was evil, worldly and demonic. This was the message that fueled the growth of Pentecostal for the first seven decades of our movement.
I firmly believe some pastors need to dig out the Azusa Street Letters and read them again. I also believe they should re-visit the old newsletter of the movement and be reminded what made us the powerful movement we are today. I am not calling us to act like Jimmy Swaggart but trying to be Brian Houston and Joel Osteen is not going to bring revival. That much is for sure.
Our churches are full of people who lack Pentecostal power and trying to the next hip thing is not going to change that. If you must model your ministry after something, use Azusa Street, not Hillsongs Church!