Brian Houston, founder of multinational Hillsong Church, announces sudden resignation

Brian Houston, the founder of the megachurch empire known as Hillsong Church, has resigned in the wake of numerous scandals, most notably one involving his alleged cover-up of his father’s sexual abuse of children.

According to the New York Post, Houston announced that he will be stepping away from all ministry duties as court cases proceed throughout the year. In a statement on the shocking update, Houston indicated that the Hillsong Global Board felt it best that he separate from the church for the time being. 

“In September last year, I learned it was necessary for me to step aside as a director of all Hillsong boards during this season, enabling me to give attention to these charges,” a statement on the church’s website read.

“We have talked about the effects of the situation with my father, which go back many years up to the current legal case, and the impact this has had on me emotionally,” Houston wrote.

He added: “The result is that the Hillsong Global Board feel it is in my and the church’s best interest for this to happen, so I have agreed to step aside from all ministry responsibilities until the end of the year.”

Houston was charged last year with knowingly concealing disturbing sexual abuse cases allegedly committed by his father, Frank Houston, on children, including Brett Sengstock, who was 7 years old at the time. Sengstock claims that Frank Houston “raped, choked and brutalized” him, then offered him a $10,000 payout, which was eventually sent in the form of a check by Brian Houston.

Frank Houston died in 2004 at the age of 82. He was booted from his role in the church by his son, Brian, in 1999.

Last August, Brian Houston denied wrongdoing, saying in a statement: “These charges have come as a shock to me given how transparent I’ve always been about this matter. I vehemently profess my innocence and will defend these charges, and I welcome the opportunity to set the record straight.”

The case, which will take place in Australia where the church was founded, will resume March 3 after being delayed several times this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.