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Question about Hillsong Church


Springbok
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Hi everyone

This is bound to rock the boat somewhat, but it’s an issue which has bugged me for some time now and I would like to know what your thoughts are about Hillsong Church in general. It seems that Hillsong is viewed as a cult by many (non-Christian) Australians and I am beginning to understand why. First a bit of background – I am a Christian and grew up in the Dutch Reformed Church in South Africa, so on the conservative side you might say. Have always viewed the more charismatic churches with some scepticism, but started attending Mosaic church (in some ways equivalent to Hillsong) in Johannesburg a year ago and I really liked it. I also have a number of Hillsong CDs and really like the music, so looked forward to attend the actual church here in Sydney. So far it’s been great (I’m attending the City campus), but I have started to notice that there is quite an emphasis on money and I have a problem with that.

What is particularly starting to irritate me a bit, is that at every Hillsong service, they read a few verses from the Bible about tithing, before our personal offerings are collected. Why stress the issue so much? I have been to a few churches in my life and never have I experienced such an emphasis on money. Even at my connect group, envelopes are passed around to collect money and I believe this is really unnecessary – it creates the impression that Hillsong uses every opportunity it has, to collect money.

It also came to my attention that Hillsong preaches so-called “prosperity theology”, i.e. the belief that according to the Bible, God wants us to be rich and to have prosperity in every area of our lives, particularly our finances. Would fellow Hillsongers know if this correct or not? My personal opinion is that yes, God does want us to be prosperous, but not necessarily in a financial sense. I don’t think God minds if Christians become wealthy (like Job for example), provided that wealth was accumulated in an honest manner using our God-given talents, and that we don't become slaves to money. The problem, however, with wealth is that it introduces all kinds of earthly temptations and that is why it is harder for wealthy people to inherit the kingdom of God.

So now I’m wondering whether this has to do with the new Rosebery project. For those who don’t know, Hillsong’s City campus has become too small to accommodate all the people, which is why they have 8 services every weekend. So Hillsong is planning a new 2,700 seat auditorium style church, a 7-storey office building, a landscaped park and three basement levels of car parking. Details at http://www.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/Develop....asp?tpk=851531

Sure, we need bigger premises to accommodate all the people, but is it REALLY necessary to spend almost $80 million, which Hillsong doesn’t even have!? I get the impression that Hillsong will go ahead with this ambitious plan, come hell or highwater, because they trust that God will provide. Now there is nothing wrong with that, I also trust in God with things I do in my life, but sometimes God does NOT provide in our needs, for reasons we do not always understand. Which is why I think Hillsong should temper their ambitious goal of racking up $80 million in debt for such a lavish new building, and then trusting that its members will come up with the finances. Sure, if everyone stands together and contribute whatever they can, the debt may be paid off, but it’s not guaranteed. But the real question is - is such largesse really necessary, with state-of-the-art audio and video equipment too? And what if it is NOT God’s will for Hillsong to build such an extravagant new church, but to rather use the money to help people in need? So I get the impression that this massive debt hanging over the church, is why they stress money so much.

I have also heard that Brian Houston (BH) is seen as a false prophet who profits out of Hillsong and leads people astray with his teachings about money. Please correct me if I’m wrong, but I am under the impression that he is a really wealthy man, owning multiple properties across Sydney, he rides a Harley-Davidson motorcycle, etc. Now I don’t think there is anything wrong with a church leader being wealthy, but I must say I do find it a bit strange that a church pastor, who works for a non-profit organisation, can become as wealthy as BH, merely from being the major driver behind Hillsong. Granted, he has written books, he has many speaking engagements and apparently receives royalties from Christian resources sold at church. One of his books is apparently titled, “You Need More Money: Discovering God's Amazing Financial Plan for Your Life”. Wow, I wonder what Jesus would say about a church pastor telling us “you need more money”... And should all that royalty income not go to the church instead of Brian’s bank account? He is merely a mouthpiece for God – not the “owner” or major shareholder of Hillsong. Shouldn’t his sole focus be on the church, without the distractions that come through his ownership of multiple properties? Seems to me like a massive conflict of interests. Who is BH really serving - God or money? Because he cannot serve both.

So here’s a thought – would Brian & Bobbie Houston be willing to give up MOST (not even all!) of their earthly possessions in order to finance a big portion of the new Hillsong building in Rosebery? Maybe Hillsong’s leader should lead by example and get rid of things that he doesn't really need in his life. Pretty much like the rich young man in Matthew 19:16-24, whom Jesus told to sell all his earthly possessions. My bet is that Brian will, just like the rich young man in the Bible, become very depressed at the thought of having to part with most of his material possessions. And therefore I can understand why he is seen as a false prophet with his “prosperity theology” and that Hillsong is seen as a cult.

I am quite a fan of the straight-shooting Dr. John Piper’s teachings – have a look at what he says about Prosperity Preaching at http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceLibrary...ful_and_Deadly/ and this videoclip: http://www.desiringgod.org/Blog/665_americ...xported_gospel/

Looking forward to having a mature debate and hearing your thoughts about this issue!

Cheers

Charl

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Thanks Springbok, I have to agree with most of what you said, very interesting reading kinda reminds me of Rhema in South Africa with Paster Ray.

Thanks for being so honest and you put pen to paper very easily, your thoughts really seem to flow.

It will be interesting to hear from some of the others.

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Dankie Springbok, moet sê ek stem nogal saam met jou.

Ons het die geleentheid gehad om Hillsong by hulle groot kampus in die Hills by te woon. Ons was regtig "gob smacked" oor die hele storie en dat ons eintlik daar was. Was vreeslik nice en so aan, maar o jinne die geld is 'n major storie. Die ou wat langs ons gesit het, het sy Kredietkaart slippie ingevul en $300 gegee as sy dankoffer. Ek het op my rug geval amper, toe voel ek skuldig oor my ou $50. Wie kan bekostig om dan kerk toe te gaan as dit so lekker gaan?? Ek is nie teen dankoffers en al dit nie, maar hemel soos Springbok sê geld is alles in daai kerk.

Het ook al gehoor die Aussies lyk glad nie vir Hillsong nie, hulle het al even die nuus gemaak en op A Current Affair gewees oor iets, maar was nie betyds om te vang waaroor dit gaan nie.

Aan die ander kant, is dit vir my net amazing hoe hy sy kerk groei. Dit moet tog seker vir iets tel en ek applaud hom half daarvoor. Deesdae se aussies is nie vreeeslik religious nie.

Ek sou die kerk dalk once in a while besoek, net omdat dit so 'n lewendige kerk is. Maar vir my elke Sondag kerk, dink ek nie so nie.

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I've never been to the Hillsong church, so I won't be fair in any comment I make about their services. What I did notice in the local newspaper a week or so ago, was an article on how Hillsong is suing the "GodTube" website for breech of copyright because of some of their songs on the God Tube site. :blink:

Now, for me, a true Christian, whose true intention is to preach the Gospel and lead ppl to God, should be overjoyed that the Gospel is reaching so many people that way! Instead, they want the money!! :)

Since when do we have to pay for the Word of God???.... If God wanted money for His Gospel, He would have copyrighted the Bible.... That just made me think a bit more about the true intentions of the Hillsong Church..... :blush: (I'm not judging, I'm wondering.....)

PS: I have a few Hillsong CD's and the music is really great! :angry:

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My experiences are slightly different to Springboks, I was raised in a pentecostal church. I have to admit that I agree with his remarks, I also have a problem with the $'s gospel!

I think that ministers that chase money....do so for their own interest.... rather than placing the church or it's people first.

The fact that a church like Hillsong grows so quickly in such large numbers makes me wonder whether or not some sort of mind manipulation is going on? You do what we ask and you will be richly blessed, you don't do as we ask and you will forever be condemned, kind of thing. I would love to be proved wrong, as that would mean the gospel is growing in leaps and bounds..how wonderful..but I don't think so.

From close family experience I have found similar churches to Hillsong end up controlling almost all facets of a person's life, smacks to me of a cult type following!

I have no knowledge of Hillsong church itself, just similar churches and I have found them pretty wanting!

Imagine the fantastic good Hillsong could do if they used the $80 million to better the lives of the poor or to reach out to those in need... I think the effort would be that much better.

So perhaps they need to hold six services a day at the city campus, why not make it eight? They could have the same number of services on a Saturday... and they could use the money for a worthwhile cause!

In all my years of being in a charismatic church, I never knew a minister that was either rich or famous, mostly they probably had one suit and drove an old car... but you never heard them complaining, they had decided on the path their lives would take and they were happy people.

I could never stomach a minister who first held out his hand for my hard earned $'s before he would share the word of God with me!

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I have to sadly agree with all of you regarding the $ issue. I also agree with Sringbok that God doesn't say Christians must be poor i.e. Job. And also believe that like Moses who was chosen to lead the Israelites we have to be prepared to leave EVERYTHING behind for our Faith in God Jehovah.

As a Cristian the only way you can be measured is by the fruit of the Spirit, now in my eyes if I was helping and serving as I should be I would not be "over" rich!?!

But after all has been said and done, I have never been to Hillsongs just a satilite church Brisbane City Church, so I can actually really not comment.

The pastor of a church is responsible for all of his flock and if he is leading them astray the woe be to him. I would not like to stand in his shoes before God!!!

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Charl

Here is a note a good friend of mine wrote that use to work at Hillsong. I'm a bit flat chat I will get back with a comment a bit later when I have a bit more time on my hands. It is good to ask questions.

See her note below

My first thought is 'prosperity doctrine' is ultimately about generosity. God loves the poor. The more we have the more we can do. In Job 26 vs 2 & 3 it asks 'How have you helped him who is without power?' I think it is wonderful that Hillsong would invest $80 million in helping build the church in Australia because the church is going to help tens of thousands of people. Hillsong is in no way Australia's wealthiest Christian oragnisation. The Salvation Army and Catholic church are among the wealthiest. The reason why no-one is upset about the Salvation Army having money (they own a lot more than $80million worth of prime real estate too) is because we trust and have seen the salvos there, loving and caring for people, when no-one else is. Hillsong is doing this too, but this is still our greatest opportunity. We're known as the church that loves praising and worshiping God and we're growing in being known as the church that helps and serves people. I think it is more empowering to answer the question what am I doing to help him who is without power? Than to criticise a whole church who will literally help thousands of families each year. I know this is true because I am one of the people that has greatly benefited and continues to benefit from Hillsong. I have been their for the past 14 years and intend to be one of the people raising funds for the next stage of loving and helping those in need. Jesus love His church - because He loves us and wants us to be part of His loving and healing family. I want to do all I can to build it. A mature conversation, could begin with the question will Hillsong add more than $80million dollars worth of value back into the community? (local, regional and global). Also Brian Houston, did for many years not take any salary from the church to get it where it is today. The Board of Hillsong asked him to take a salary and he donates more to the church than he receives. What are you doing to financially help your local church? How much of your income do you give? If you think Brain should expose all, then it only seems right that you should too.

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Hi Charl

We can't comment on Hillsong specifically but have picked up the same "open your wallet" drive in both a Vineyard and New Life Church - a sign of the times perhaps??

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Howzit,

We attend a local penticostel/charismatic church in our city, which relate to many others in RSA and across the world (even in Oz). We also love Hillsong's music.

You give your finances according to what God lays on your heart. What your leaders do with it, is their responsibility before God. You sowed with good intentions. I agree, it is frustrating when you attend a service to hear God's word being ministered and you get hammered from the pulpit with only scriptures refering to finances.

It is often a problem for people when a pastor lives a good life. Because it is our finances that basically, indirectly is funding that lifestyle, and we don't like to see that. The bigger the church, the bigger the leader's responsibilities, the bigger their salaries will be. Same in a business context. I do however, wholeheartedly agree with the money being used for the benefit of the poor or perhaps to build a church further out of the city. Guaranteed there are people who travel far to attend the main church.

When you feel that you don't agree with the 'management style' of your church. It's possibly time to move on. You will develop a critical spirit, which will make you resentful every time you attend a service. Maybe your season is finished where you are now?

We have to submit under our leaders and pray for them. Trusting that they are using the finances wisely to further the Kingdom of God. But, we do not have to sit in the seats service after service and never question things that don't 'sit well in our spirits'. Then we are brainwashed, immature and weak christians and God does not need any wussies to advance His Kingdom!!

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My first thought is 'prosperity doctrine' is ultimately about generosity.

The true Gospel is not about prosperity - it is first and foremost about God. Galatians 1:6-10

I think it is wonderful that Hillsong would invest $80 million in helping build the church in Australia because the church is going to help tens of thousands of people.

Who/what is the church? It is the PEOPLE, not an extravagant building. I fail to see how a building of $80 million will help tens of thousands of people.

Hillsong is in no way Australia's wealthiest Christian oragnisation. The Salvation Army and Catholic church are among the wealthiest. The reason why no-one is upset about the Salvation Army having money (they own a lot more than $80million worth of prime real estate too)

You cannot justify Hillsong's expense of $80 million just because other churches' real estate are worth even more. Anyway, the Salvation Army spends much more than Hillsong, as a % of annual income, on welfare and charity work.

We're known as the church that loves praising and worshiping God and we're growing in being known as the church that helps and serves people.

I agree 100%, but so are most other Christian churches.

I think it is more empowering to answer the question what am I doing to help him who is without power? Than to criticise a whole church who will literally help thousands of families each year.

My issue is not with Hillsong as a whole, but rather with its leadership and the way in which they spread the Gospel.

A mature conversation, could begin with the question will Hillsong add more than $80million dollars worth of value back into the community? (local, regional and global).

I note that you measure the value added to the community, in terms of money. Money is the LAST thing that the true Gospel is about.

Also Brian Houston, did for many years not take any salary from the church to get it where it is today. The Board of Hillsong asked him to take a salary and he donates more to the church than he receives.

It seems very generous of him to sacrifice his Hillsong salary, but remember this also means he does not have to pay income tax. Why not earn a living wage like everyone else and pay taxes? That is afterall what Matthew 22:15-21 teaches about the payment of taxes to the government. By leading the church and serving it full-time, he is already giving enough of himself and do not have to give financially as well. And if he did not take a salary for many years and donates more than he receives, then how is it possible that he makes a living, owns multiple properties and a Harley Davidson? Surely he must get an income from somewhere. Seems to me like very clever financial planning for personal gain. As for his well-publicised donations, Matthew 6:2 -"Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men."

What are you doing to financially help your local church? How much of your income do you give? If you think Brain should expose all, then it only seems right that you should too.

I give where I can, and prefer to buy food for homeless people on the street. But this is not about me or you, people do not come to Hillsong to listen to my preaching - I'm talking about a church leader and public figure who reaches and influences tens of thousands of people. But his teaching and writing about prosperity is false and he's pulling the wool over people's eyes. Once again, can you imagine Jesus saying, "You need more money"?? Yet this is the title of Brian Houston's book! What people need is GOD! Not the promise of financial prosperity if they accept God.

The problem with all of this is that non-believers would come to church, see the extravagance, the financial prosperity of its leading pastor and then think if that is what Christianity will reward them with, then it certainly seems like a good thing. So you see why I am concerned about the focus on money?

I do not doubt that Brian Houston's intention is to do good and spread the Gospel, but don't you think it's all too convenient that he gains financially from it as well?

How about Hillsong suing the 'GodTube' website for breach of copyright because of some of their songs on the God Tube site?? Once again, the issue is MONEY! Should a church be run as a business with copyright material? Not according to Matthew 21:12-13 - "And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves."

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Hi there everyone, I'd just like to say a few things.

Firstly I have read your whole first post Springbok and skimmed the rest. Feeling tired so not to keen to read.

Anyway, I understand how you feel about the whole investing in the church thing.

We belong to a charismatic church here and a while ago our leaders needed to build a new building. So we were all encouraged to give to "The Building fund". I think it was the beginning of 2004. This was over and above your tithe.

We decided we wanted to be a part of it. So every month for a long time we gave according to what we could, occasionally increasing the amount as we felt God lead us. We no longer contribute any money to the building fund cos we don't feel an impression on our hearts. The new building is lavish, beautiful and much better than the last. (They are still not finished and the "Building Fund" is still open).

While I do understand and hear your concern I'd like to make a few observations if I may.

Give and it shall be given good measure down running over men shall give unto your bossom. - God's word clearly more than once says you reap what you sow. We have seen a huge abundance of blessing from being obedient - not to the church leaders but to God. We have seen such blessing and increase in our lives. Now you may think it is ungodly to have material goods but why would the God of EVERYTHING not want you to be blessed? Often as Christians we are afraid to be blessed we are embarrassed at God's lavishness so we don't ask or hope for it cos its evil. No I don't agree Its the LOVE of money that is the root of all evil.

How can you be a blessing if you are not blessed? Sorry but money makes the world go round and God created the world so therefore knows that money is needed in order to care for others. As long as it flows out like a river and does not become a dam I dont see God having issues. Really.

How wonderful to be able to worship in a lavish building, God is lavish. Just look at the ark of the Covenant. It was not made of coal and cheap finishings NO it was lavish like our God!

Our leaders gave up so much of their own finances when we were building our church as an example to the rest of the congregation. It was an awesome thing to see. I taught our lead elders daughter so I knew a bit about what they were sacrificing.

I don't want to drone on but I don't think it is such a bad thing that they are doing. They are reaching a nation. How wonderful to see God moving in Australia. Its awesome to know people love the Lord and are willing to sacrifice their own material comforts to see the Kingdom of God advance. That is a country that is going to see God's blessing cos they have men and woman willing to do what they feel God has put on their hearts.

You must remember God will not be mocked. If this is not from Him, He will NOT bless it and they will not move forward in their plans. God directs a mans paths.

I really believe you should do what you feel God telling YOU to do. If you feel it impressed on your heart to or not to contribute thats what you should do. God will lead you in the path He has for you. If they are squandering the money or abusing His people, they will be accountable for that not you. God will expose them like He has with countless others. You just need to look at chuch history to see what I mean. It is a big responsibility for them to have to give an account to the Almighty God what they have and have not done.

Dont let it be your stress. Do things for God not man.

Hope some of that makes sense cos I'm so tired right now I feel like a zombie - I have a 2yr old who thinks darkness is his friend and loves to try climb into my bed and play with me at night - sorry totally off the topic.

Have a wonderful day and God bless........

Natalie

Edited by nc74
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Hi Springbok

I have never been to Hillsong so can't comment on what they are like, but from your experiences it is reminiscent of Durban Christian Centre which when I attended there in the mid nineties was very much a prosperity teaching church. Thankfully Jesus delivered us from the place as the wool was for some time to a degree over our eyes.

I think they still teach the same but have not been back for many years. There was an article on them recently in Fair Lady -also displaying their wealth vis-a-vis Harley Davidsons. They also do good things for the poor and HIV/Aids patients etc. They also had a building fund to build a massive auditorium in Mayville...always asking for money...always reading the scriptures about giving and money before taking the offering. it was like a routine mini-sermon that used to get on my nerves too.

I believe there are people within such churches that are sincerely deceived by false prophets and brothers who have been led astray by these false teachers such as Benny Hin, Kenneth Copeland etc.

I know because I was one of them. You are right Jesus said "you cannot serve God and mammon (money)". In fact everything we have and all that we are belong to God and we can't really say the things we have our ours- they have been loaned to us by our Creator.

I'd advise you to seek the Lord for another place to fellowship where the Word of God is preached in truth. Paul said and I quote from memory "I suffered to know nothing among but Christ and Him crucified". The true gospel is about repentance from dead works and faith toward God. Jesus' atoning sacrifice for our sins, His precious blood which makes us clean, His resurrection which is our resurrection to new life in Him and the promise of resurrection of the dead, His soon coming again. it is about 'faith which worketh by love", "salvation by grace through faith" - a relationship with our God and Saviour, reconcilliation to Him and love of the brethen....etc....

Pray about it and ask the Lord to lead you to where he wants you to fellowship...maybe it's right where you are maybe he wants to use you to bless those around you or perhaps he is prompting you to move on to a another fellowship...be sensitive to His leading and He will guide you and lead you into all truth by His Holy Spirit.

You will be in my prayers tonight as i know it's not easy when the Lord starts showing you things that are unbiblical. Sometimes, it's things we don't want to hear but we must be honest with ourselves and with Him and let His word be the yard stick by which we judge and discern right and wrong doctrine, good and evil...

Check out moriel ministries....not sure of the site address though.

cheers

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Hubby and I give 10% of our income before tax to church, and on top of that, offerings that we budget for at every service. I must say I have never felt forced or blackmailed to give money at any of the Hillsong Church services or in any of the connect groups that I have been part of. Personally I have no problem with church when it collects tithes and offerings at every services. I’m happy to be part of supporting the different minister arms of church. Have a look at Helping people on www.hillsong.com to give you a few examples of the different ministries that church supports. No-one is forced to give anything to Hillsong. You are welcome to attend without ever giving anything. Some people do.

Brain & Bobby live in a nice house. I would not call it flashy. It is pretty modest compared to SA standards. I have no problem with them living comfortably. I have no problem with him driving a Harley Davidson. Good for him. He is welcome to it. I don’t believe that when you work for the church you should live like a pauper. I have the utmost respect for him and Bobby. They are a pretty down to earth couple. Most of his income is made through his speaking engagements which different churches pay for and through his teaching material. He is on a pretty modest salary.

Walk up to them and go and have a chat to them when you are in church next time. The church’s books get audited by KPMG. Ask if you could see them. They are open to showing them. An abbreviated copy was given out this year. They have nothing to hide. Brain & Bobby do not have any individual signing rights to any of the money that comes into the church. All checks need two signatories, excluding that of Bobby & Brian.

My brother and his wife runs one of the street teams. Here are some of the things that they use each time: paint for painting houses, fences etc, petrol to run the lawnmowers, toys, clothes, food packages, household cleaning products, craft equipment when working with the children. Well, the church finances all these facilities. Do you know that the church pays for all the church programs that are broadcast around the globe? Mercy ministries & Teen Challenge are financed by the church, to name a few – www.hillsong.com

Have you ever been to the Hillsong conference? The cost of the tickets only covers a small amount compared to what it costs to run the conference. Well the church picks up the difference. Why does Hillsong run these conferences? To equip local and international churches to help their communities.

Why is it that people are comfortable to pay X or more for a rugby ticket to see a rugby game once, but they are uncomfortable in give half of that to church, and seeing how it is used to make a difference in people around them lives. Hillsong is by far not perfect. Which church is? Show me another church that has bent over backwards to try and make a difference in the community. Hillsong is one of them. I personally think that one of Hillsong’s biggest mistakes has been in not highlighting more strongly all the community projects that it has been involved in and continues to be involved in.

The facilities that have been available through Hillsong have been there because the congregation has been faithful with what God has placed in their hands. People have sacrificed financially because they want to help build our community. The services that the church provides and the infrastructure behind it all cost money. If the community can’t turn to the church, who else will they turn to? What are you doing through your local church to make a difference in the community? Unfortunately, in this life, nothing is for free - only God’s love, his word, his grace and forgiveness. If I can in any way be part of making people aware of this one free thing in life, I’m happy to do so. I believe the content should stay the same. It is just often the packaging of that content that should change. If it is the flashy lights that will draw people to church, so be it. Ultimately it is only God’s word that will keep people in church.

Those that have not yet been to Hillsong Church, feel free to have a visit. Go and have a look at what the church is really doing in the community and then make your own informed decision. If you haven’t been to Hillsong, then it’s hard to have an informed opinion.

http://www2.hillsong.com/aid/default.asp?pid=913

“Hillsong Church has raised over $500,000 for the victims of the Tsunami disaster.” Have a look under Hillsong Aid and Development”

Edited by sonnetjie
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Guest Chris Rimmer
Hubby and I give 10% of our income before tax to church, and on top of that, offerings that we budget for at every service. I must say I have never felt forced or blackmailed to give money at any of the Hillsong Church services or in any of the connect groups that I have been part of. Personally I have no problem with church when it collects tithes and offerings at every services. I’m happy to be part of supporting the different minister arms of church. Have a look at Helping people on www.hillsong.com to give you a few examples of the different ministries that church supports. No-one is forced to give anything to Hillsong. You are welcome to attend without ever giving anything. Some people do.

Brain & Bobby live in a nice house. I would not call it flashy. It is pretty modest compared to SA standards. I have no problem with them living comfortably. I have no problem with him driving a Harley Davidson. Good for him. He is welcome to it. I don’t believe that when you work for the church you should live like a pauper. I have the utmost respect for him and Bobby. They are a pretty down to earth couple. Most of his income is made through his speaking engagements which different churches pay for and through his teaching material. He is on a pretty modest salary.

Walk up to them and go and have a chat to them when you are in church next time. The church’s books get audited by KPMG. Ask if you could see them. They are open to showing them. An abbreviated copy was given out this year. They have nothing to hide. Brain & Bobby do not have any individual signing rights to any of the money that comes into the church. All checks need two signatories, excluding that of Bobby & Brian.

My brother and his wife runs one of the street teams. Here are some of the things that they use each time: paint for painting houses, fences etc, petrol to run the lawnmowers, toys, clothes, food packages, household cleaning products, craft equipment when working with the children. Well, the church finances all these facilities. Do you know that the church pays for all the church programs that are broadcast around the globe? Mercy ministries & Teen Challenge are financed by the church, to name a few – www.hillsong.com

Have you ever been to the Hillsong conference? The cost of the tickets only covers a small amount compared to what it costs to run the conference. Well the church picks up the difference. Why does Hillsong run these conferences? To equip local and international churches to help their communities.

Why is it that people are comfortable to pay X or more for a rugby ticket to see a rugby game once, but they are uncomfortable in give half of that to church, and seeing how it is used to make a difference in people around them lives. Hillsong is by far not perfect. Which church is? Show me another church that has bent over backwards to try and make a difference in the community. Hillsong is one of them. I personally think that one of Hillsong’s biggest mistakes has been in not highlighting more strongly all the community projects that it has been involved in and continues to be involved in.

The facilities that have been available through Hillsong have been there because the congregation has been faithful with what God has placed in their hands. People have sacrificed financially because they want to help build our community. The services that the church provides and the infrastructure behind it all cost money. If the community can’t turn to the church, who else will they turn to? What are you doing through your local church to make a difference in the community? Unfortunately, in this life, nothing is for free - only God’s love, his word, his grace and forgiveness. If I can in any way be part of making people aware of this one free thing in life, I’m happy to do so. I believe the content should stay the same. It is just often the packaging of that content that should change. If it is the flashy lights that will draw people to church, so be it. Ultimately it is only God’s word that will keep people in church.

Those that have not yet been to Hillsong Church, feel free to have a visit. Go and have a look at what the church is really doing in the community and then make your own informed decision. If you haven’t been to Hillsong, then it’s hard to have an informed opinion.

http://www2.hillsong.com/aid/default.asp?pid=913

“Hillsong Church has raised over $500,000 for the victims of the Tsunami disaster.” Have a look under Hillsong Aid and Development”

I haven't been to Hillsong Church but whenever I see it on television I'm reminded of the Nuremberg Rallies of the 1930's in Germany. Same look of zoned out mezmerization in the faces of the people.

I'm amazed that in the 21st Century so many people seek psychological comfort in the supernatural. If you get your pockets emptied in the process, you've really only got your own naivity to blame.

Still - I'm no better myself. I'm really looking forward to Father Christmas coming down the chimney this year. So good luck to all of you. If it feels good and you aren't hurting anyone else - go knock yourself out!

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I attend Hillsong woman every Thursday and occasionally we go to their Sunday services or congresses. Heini prefers a "smaller" church that is not so large in numbers. There are so many churches to pick and choose from!

I honestly have never felt forced to give money at any of the Hillsong Church services. What I have gained from their services cannot be valued in $$$.

I wish you all a blessed Christmas, filled with love and peace!

xx

Tania

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  • 1 month later...
What I have gained from their services cannot be valued in $$$.Tania

The bigger picture: Hillsong and other churches still do much more good than harm and at the end of the day it's what's in your heart and not you pocket that matters..... :lol:

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  • 2 weeks later...

Very interesting thread. .I havn't been to most of the churches in this thread and therefore cannot comment about any specific one.

I am not going to try to argue for or against prosperity, I think the Bible covers that in enough detail. It is very clear about tithing and very clear about offerings. It is also clear that the "love of money is the root of all evil" not money itself. But I would like to put out a few thoughts for pragmatic debate or comment - these are related to finances as this is the topic of the thread. I know this is a very very long post, but worth reading.

(1) Our responsibility is to do what God has commanded us to do in his word, regarding finances. We will be held accountable for that. Regardless of what leaders do with tithes and offerings, that does not excuse us from obeying the word. Pastors and leaders of the church are responsible for doing what God commands in his word, and they will be held accountable for that.

(2) Pasters and church leaders give up their lives to the word and to preaching it. They derive a living from doing this just like we derive a living from doing our jobs - their jobs are preaching the word. Some of the churches mentioned in this thread are in very affluent areas. The parish attend in merc's and BMW's and earn massive salaries. But, when the pastor that looks after them takes a salary, or buys a merc, or lives in the same area as them, we get bent out of shape. Why is that? Why is it that we expect the Pastor, who unlike us, gave up everything to be dedicated to preaching, to live a lower standard than the people he preaches to? Wé don't expect that of senior business men, or political leaders, or governing bodies, so why do we set that standard for the church?

(3) Leaders of corporations get paid large amounts of money to provide vision, direction and leadership to the companies. They get all kinds of percs, like private jets, drivers, top hotels, housing, pensions, reduced interests, executive contributions, corner offices, assistants etc. Many of the churches mentioned in this thread have congrigations of 10,000 and more, and yet, we expect the leaders(pastors) to to live wihout any benifits? We expect them to get no benifit from us, and yet they give up their lives to spend with God in prayer and fasting etc to get his vision and dirction and leadership for the congrigation. Why is that?

(4) The whole world makes use of advertising to get us to spend our hard earned cash. Business, Hollywood, shools, governments, retailors etc Many use this for immoral reasons (not all) No one has an issue with this. Why is it then when the church asks for funds, everyone gets bent out of shape? When a church wants to expand, get more programmes going, improve the complex, everyone gets upset?

(5) Business are continually upgrading their offices, buildings, making more space. Goverment departmetns build admin blocks to house their adminstrative functions, some in really good areas at massive costs. Policing, post offices, courts etc own some of the best sites in CBD's and no one has an issue with this. But, when a church with several thousand congregation and many out reach programmes wants ot build an adim block, or offices, or traning rooms, or wants to hire staff or expand we all get really ticked off. Why is that? What value do we attribute to the church in our community?

(6) All of us have great gadgets - whatever the hobby we all have them and probably spend thousands on them every year, fishing, motor cycles, cars, GPS, 4x4 etc etc We all take leave, time off, go on holidays. Some have more than one home, one in town and one or more at the beach, lake etc Why is it then that when the Pastor has a hoby and provides for that, for time out, for relaxtion, for holiday that everyone gets all bent out of shape? How many of you would sell your prized hoby gadget and give the money to the poor? No? Then why do you expect the pastor to?

(7) When music, films, books, intelectual property in an office or business is copied or distributed to the detrement of the company, and lawsuits ensue, no one has a problem with this. We watch or listen to the case for months. But, when churches or christian bands etc do the same our view is its because they are gready. We are happy for secular businesses to protect themselves, because this upholds our laws and constitutions and makes us feel good about ourselves and the society we live in, but when the same laws are applied to revenue that is used to further the gospel, everyone gets upset?

(8) No one has an issue with stadiums being build for rugby world cups, or 2010 soccer, no one has an issue with tickets being sold and infact I know of people who paid updwards of R50k to go the RWC in Parris. But, let a church want to increase its auditorium size to get more people in, or set up a conference and charge to cover costs and everyone gets bent out of shape?

(9) Why is it that we, the very people who complain about the church are more than happy to save money in the bank, buy shares, invest in schemes that will make us more money, but when it comes to investing in the church and saving souls, we get upset? We measure the church leadership on things we ourselves dont do. How many of you would be upset if your local rugby or football club built new premises or upgraded the changing rooms, or build a new stadium. Why then do we get upset with the Church?

(10) If we give up our jobs and invest all our time and money into a business to make it work, we expect to get a huge profit from it. We expect the effort and reward (I am talking about the financial part now in line with the thread - there are obviously many other reasons for busines) to be way in excess of what we invested. Why is it then when pastors do the same to build up a church (some of them take years to establish), and they give up careers, money, finances, family etc we get upset that when the church succeeds, the pastor does well. Maybe, we should be thinking that some of these pastors are reaping the rewards for giving, not just 10% of their earnings, but their entire lives.

(11) How many of us go to theme parks, the movies, theatre and we expect to be entertained with the best, the best light shows, the best sound and quality and these places spend billions. Whats more, we are happy to pay hundereds in entrace fees just to be entertained for a few hours. No one has an issue with a theme park that has show after show on saturday and sunday. Why then do we get upset when the church does the same? Have you ever read about the temple of Solomon and how it was decorated? WOW!! Now many of you may be thinking, yes, but God doesn't live in a building, and your right he doesn't. But we should apply the same standard to all things. How many of us have written to government to stop funding for middle class families so that we can give to the poor? No? I have read many comments on the refugees in several other threads on this site - that would be the poorest of the poor right and what were the thoughts and suggested actions of most?

This doesn't seem very consistent. Many of these churches and the pastors mentioned in these threads have been part of winning millions of souls collectively to the Lord. Maybe thats the criteria to measure on and not our obligation to giving or our perception of what they have or don't have.

Running a church, funding out-reaches, hiring staff, buying equipment etc costs large amounts of money. Did you know that according to world stats, less than 20% of church going members tithe? What would happen if less than 20% of tax payers paid taxes? The government has legislation to prevent that - you go to jail.

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This one will go a looong way - but thx for it, nice to see and learn from personal opinions.

My best advice, from personal experience, and boy I've been out there and seen more than a couple of things, that's both in the flesh and in spirit, my advice will be to get to know God, God the Father with that heart of the ultimate father and secondly His Grace. Believe me this is a real challenge in it's own right.

But chill out - He is All Powerfull and Allmighty and The One and Only True Saviour - no doubt about that, get to know Him before mere mortals with their own "misty" opinions try to persude you otherwise.

Springbok - you & me in for a beer as soon as I land in Sydney, and we'll remember this topic!

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I agree with you - Jesus is the Saviour, and the bible teachs to seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness...

I put the post out there because I think that we as a human race can get very paradoxical (not sure that is an actual word!) about things, but when you sit back and look at it, its not consistent. We judge and critisize the church and its leaders, but are quite happy to condone the local football club or some business leader for the same actions.

Anyway, good food for thought.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Dag Almal,

Kom nou net van die Hillsong party af, waar hulle wys wat in die kerk aan gaan.Ek was nog altyd 'n groot fan van die musiek van Hillsong. So, dit was soos 'n droom wat waar word om na die kerk te gaan, maar was egter so geskok gewees. Ek was so ontsteld gewees toe ek by die huis kom dat ek al my hillsong cd en dvd weg gegou het.Dit is nie 'n kerk nie. Hulle is ware Christenne nie.

As jy my vra is Hillsong 'n Cult. Ek sal NOOIT weer daarheen gaan nie.

Vir die wat in Sydney bly en wat 'n ware Kerk wil gaan 80% is van Suid Africa:

Christian Reformed Church Of Sydney, 76Cox Road (cr Cressy Road), North Ryde

Leo Douma: (02) 98785357

www.sydneyreformed.org.au

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Hi Sonskyn

Wonder maar net wat gebeur het wat jou so laat voel het?

Weet jy van die Afrikaanse kerk in Dural? Hulle website werk nie meer nie, so ek wonder of Riekie nog hulle details het of een van die ander Hillsiders?

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Hi Sonskyn

Wonder maar net wat gebeur het wat jou so laat voel het?

Weet jy van die Afrikaanse kerk in Dural? Hulle website werk nie meer nie, so ek wonder of Riekie nog hulle details het of een van die ander Hillsiders?

Dag jong,

Ja, EK het 'n nare ondervinding gehad. Ek ken van cult's, ek het my beste vriendin verloor aan 'n kerk cult. Ek weet nie wat van har geword het nie. Sy het gaan werk in London as 'n prok, eers gereeld van haar gehoor tot sy aan die kerk aangesluit het.

Ek het geen idee waar sy is nie. Daar was eendag 'n program op die tv in sa oor die cult. Toe was sy daarop gewees, in Duistland, sy het viool gespeel, langs die straat, die man wou met haar praat al wat sy kon se dat sy geld insamel vir die kerk. Sy was heeltemal 'n ander mens. Geen gevoel in haar oe nie. Haar ouers weet ook nie waar sy is nie.

Nou hillong is nou nie so cult nie, maar jy kry veskillende cult's. My geloof is vir my die belangrikte in my lewe. Moet my nie verkeerd verstaan nie.

Maar hillsong is soos 'n wolf in skaap klere.

Ek wou net gaan kyk het wat daaraan gaan. Ek was geskok.

Al die tekens van 'n cult is daar.

Nee, dit maak my baie kwaad, want die soort mense gee vir ware christn, 'n slegte naam.

Ek het al my CD'S en dvd's weggegooi gister aand. Ek is baie gelukkig in my kerk in North Ryde. Ek het dadelik tuis gevoel. Die hele kerkraad is afrikaans.

Ek bid vir die mense wat in hillsong is regtig.

Ek is net bly ek ken die ware God. 'n God wat ek weet my oneindig lief het. Ek dank Hom dat Hy gister aand my kop nuggter gehou het. Die cult's is baie slim, jy besef nie wat met jou gebeur nie.

Dis hoe ek voel.

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Sjoe Sonskyn,

Dis regtig 'n groot jammerte dat jy deur so 'n ervaring moes gaan!

Is dit moontlik dat jy vir ons meer detail kan gee, dalk spesifieke dingetjies op noem wat vir jou uitgestaan het. 'n Wolf in skaapsklere is partymaal so goed weggesteek dat party dit nie raak sien nie, daarom help ons dalk? Ek was al so 'n handvol kere in Hillsong en het dinge nie so ervaar soos jy nie, en wonder nou erg of ek nie dalk iets gemis het nie? PM dalk?

Dankie baie vir jou openhartigheid en eerlikheid!

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Sonskyn

So sorry to hear you had such a bad experience… sounds as if there could have been one big misunderstanding.

Could you please help me understand what happened that made you think the church is a cult and that the people who attend are not real Christians?

Here is my def of practicing Christian: a person that has surrendered their life to God and has accepted Jesus as their Lord and savior, (thus Jesus paid with His life for their Sins and rose again on the third day and sits on the right hand of God, we therefore have forgiveness for our sins through Jesus Christ) I believe a practicing Christian puts God first in all aspects of their life and has personal relationship with Jesus. Jesus is the foundation of all the decisions the person makes and you can see the gifts of the Spirit present in that person’s life.

I respect your difference of opinion as I believe people have the right to different opinions. On the other hand I do believe that it is a very harsh statement to make if a person has only attended Hillsong once and does not know any of the people personally.

My husband and I are both members at Hillsong church. I have been with the church since arriving in the county.

I believe we all come from very different backgrounds: educational, socioeconomically, culturally and therefore our needs and perceptions are very different.

I’m happy to say that Hillsong is not the be all and end all and that there are other churches that are just as great. If you prefer a more traditional church I could def make some good suggestions, but to refer to Hillsong as being a cult and that the people that attend are not real Christians I think is a bit farfetched! Especially if you have not met me or know me from a bar of soap. What factual ground do you have to stand on?

All the best to you. May you really settle down well in Oz and find the right church for you.

Here are a few other churches you are welcome to try

http://northridgevcf.org.au/

http://www.churchbythebridge.org.au/index.html

http://www.st-thomas.org.au/

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ek wonder of Riekie nog hulle details het of een van die ander Hillsiders?

Hulle bestaan nie meer nie.... Die naaste een is nou die een in North Ryde.

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