As Hillsong Church has been plagued by multiple scandals over the last several years including its latest scandal involving its top leader, Brian Houston, the international organization now appears to be crumbling before our eyes opening the doors for another corporate conglomerate to fill its shoes.
Hillsong Church, also lauded as the church of “celebrities,” touted memberships from high-profile entertainers including Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez, and was known well-known for its vast worldwide music production industry which was the bulk of its funding for expansion and indoctrination. Hillsong ran training programs all over the world and hosted Hillsong College both in the United States and in the city where the megachurch is headquartered, Sydney, Australia.
The entire purpose of Hillsong was to make money, and it did so by providing a product that consumers wanted to buy. That product was mostly their music, but it was also the hyped-up self-affirmation prosperity style preaching that the various charismatic campus pastors stationed around the world were known for that attracted so many. But now that Hillsong has been exposed as a crumbling empire, many of its doors around the world are either closing or rebranding under another banner apart from Hillsong.
But, the millions of people who are attracted to this corporate megachurch conglomerate masquerading as a church are going to find themselves disappointed in the lack of production, professionalism, and benefits that come from being part of such a polished dog-and-pony show. These people will seek an alternative—and that alternative might be Elevation Church.
Elevation Church, which is headquartered in Charlotte, NC, and already has dozens of campuses ranging from Florida to Ontario, Canada, is led by one of the most up-and-coming professional ear-ticklers in the history of the professing Church and produces music and trains “leaders” on a level rivaling the professionalism of Hillsong.
Steven Furtick is a charismatic Word of Faith pastor who has aligned himself with many of the giants in the prosperity gospel, including Word of Faith oneness pastor, T.D. Jakes, and has been praised by former Hillsong NYC pastor, Carl Lentz who stated, “your church and your life are such good examples of what happens when you mix unadulterated focus on JESUS, ferocious faith and availability with the grace of God…absolutely anything is possible..”
Furtick’s theology is also aligned with that of Hillsong—being a prosperity preacher, he lacks the condemning tone of preaching about one’s sin and need for a savior, which is attractive to those who want to be affirmed rather than called to Christ for forgiveness. Sadly, that is the majority of the world, but it does place Elevation in a prime spot to take over Hillsong as the world’s leader in false churches.
Like Hillsong, Elevation produces music that it sells to churches around the world to use in worship. Elevation Worship has also partnered with popular contemporary worship artists like Kari Jobe and Cody Carnes. This is what the world wants in a church—a church that doesn’t point out sin and their need for a savior, but rather a church that affirms them and tells them what a wonderful person they are. A church like Hillsong Church.
A Church like Elevation Church.