Scandals

Hillsong Worship pulls out of Casting Crowns tour amid scandals

Hillsong Worship
From the official video for “Fresh Wind / What A Beautiful Name (Live)” recorded live with Taya Gaukrodger and David Ware at Hillsong Church in Sydney, Australia in May 2021. |

Hillsong Worship, the world-renowned group of worship leaders from the scandal-ridden Hillsong Church, has pulled out of a nationwide tour to ‘heal’.

The 18-city concert tour was scheduled to kick off with Casting Crowns and We The Kingdom in just over two weeks. Hillsong Worship announced their withdrawal on social media: “Hillsong Worship has requested to be removed from the upcoming Casting Crowns/Hillsong Worship tour with We The Kingdom,” the band revealed on Facebook.

Hillsong Worship said it was “deeply disappointed” but due to the scandals that have surrounded Hillsong Church in recent months, the group is prioritizing “the health and well-being of our team members”, continues the press release.

Brain Houston, who co-founded Hillsong in 1983, resigned last month after it emerged that two women had made allegations of misconduct against him over the past 10 years. His resignation also follows a series of misconduct scandals involving other Hillsong Church leaders in the United States and Australia.

Some former Hillsong pastors have split from the brand and are starting their own ministries outside of Hillsong.

The global network of churches has also been the subject of documentaries aimed at rehashing some of the misdeeds of church leaders that have come to light in recent years. A Discovery Plus docuseries released March 24, “Hillsong: A Megachurch Exposed,” aims to show how the Australia-based global network has walked a “fine line between cult and culture.”

Hillsong Worship said in its statement that members of the group need to take a break as they are “an extension and expression of Hillsong Church – a collective of our local worship teams.” Each member of the group, which includes Joel Houston (son of Brian Houston), Brooke Ligertwood, and Taya Smith, among others, are “either Hillsong Church staff or volunteers.”

“Now is the time for us to humbly seek the Lord, cry in hope, and heal in community, together,” the statement added. They thanked Casting Crowns, We The Kingdom and Premier Productions for their understanding and admitted they were “devastated” to do so.

The tour will continue on April 22 and Hillsong Worship has encouraged fans to hold on to their tickets.

Casting Crowns frontman Mark Hall also took to Instagram with a statement of support for Hillsong Worship’s decision to pull out of the tour.

“Their church is hurting right now, and they’re going through some things,” Hall shared in a video message. “Hillsong Worship is a church-based ministry…and when your church is hurting, you need to be with your people.”

“That’s what the Body of Christ does,” he explained. “So they’re going to come home this season with their people, and we’re going to be on the road loving you guys.”

Hillsong Church’s Acting Global Senior Pastor Phil Dooley recently addressed the negative media attention surrounding the church’s network and said it paints an unfair picture of the ministry. He assured that the church does a lot of good in the world and “has never claimed to be a perfect church”.

Dooley, who has been with Hillsong Church for more than 30 years, also acknowledged that he was saddened by the experiences of some of the church leaders’ alleged victims.

Jeannie Ortega Law is a reporter for The Christian Post. Contact her at: jeannie.law@christianpost.com She is also the author of the book, What’s happening to me? How to defeat your invisible enemy Follow her on Twitter: @jlawcp Facebook: JeannieOMusic