The Hillsong Takeover of GCCC

There’s a bit more rap here:

http://www.news.com.au/couriermail/story/0,20797,25391680-3102,00.html

This is not a takeover. We are simply expanding our tent.
This is not a takeover. We are simply expanding our tent.

Hillsong takes over Garden City Christian Church

Article from: The Courier-Mail By Tuck Thompson April 27, 2009 11:15am

CELEBRITY evangelist Brian Houston and his Hillsong mega-church have taken over one of Brisbane’s largest Pentecostal churches, Garden City Christian Church. Sydney-based Mr Houston and his wife Bobbie were elected senior pastors of Garden City Christian Church yesterday. The fate of pastor Steve Dixon is yet to be explained to the congregation or made public. Security guards prevented the media from entering church grounds during a secret ballot of registered members.

The GCCC website later said the Houstons were chosen by “an overwhelming majority”. Congregation members said Pastor Dixon intended to remain at the church but Hillsong said he was leaving in 12 months to go to Hong Kong. Pastor Dixon, who attended yesterday’s service and election, declined to be interviewed. Church member Priyance Nicks, a 20-year-old student from India who collects Brian Houston’s CDs, was pleased with the vote. “He preaches good and his way of conveying messages touches your heart,” said Mr Nicks, carrying a Good News Bible. “Whenever he comes here, there is going to be a big crowd.”

Many church-goers were unwilling to speak publicly. Others voiced their opposition to Hillsong in subtle ways. “Vote No, Keep Local Leadership,” read a message inside the windscreen of a vehicle parked outside the church entrance on Rover St, Mount Gravatt, in Brisbane’s south. The church would not release details of the vote but church-goers said it was 79 per cent in favour of the Houstons from 669 ballots. Some church members were suspicious of the outcome, saying scrutineers were selected by the church board which had nominated the Houstons. Hundreds of churchgoers were not allowed to vote because they were not registered. Pastor Houston declined to be interviewed.


16 thoughts on “The Hillsong Takeover of GCCC

  1. I’ve been wondering for a while if blogging actually achieves anything. The more I’ve made comments that leadership needs to change their teachings and to be more accountable, the more it seems to fall on deaf ears.

    And now it looks like the media is now seeing blogs as reliable sources for articles in the paper. Is this a good thing or a bad thing?

    Now I also see this event as a ‘takeover’, but is it really? They asked to have Brian & Bobby as their leaders and said they were willing to be part of Hillsong.
    Can we really call this a takeover (invasion), or an invitation?

  2. I doubt blogging will change institutions and structures in the way you might like….you never know, but…..

    Ultimately all you can do is put what you think are the issues, put your arguments as best you can, and then people will make up their own minds.

    I think the reality is that most people will only look at what they want to, and if they are happy where they are it is unlikely that they would look at blogs that may prove to be challenging for them in some way….

    You might get those people that are having thoughts though (their own that is)….

    Re GCCC, if that’s what they want…..there are always winners and losers though to be hard nosed about it….whatever we think that is the nature of the beast.

    And God still works through it.

  3. “I doubt blogging will change institutions and structures in the way you might like….you never know, but…..”

    Yeah. That used to be a conviction of mine three years ago. It was through the internet that made the US wars so unpopular and helped stage international and global protests. All seven continents were against the Iraqi war, all thanks to the power of technology!

    I believed it could be used for the sake of the church to change it’s spots. Some have.

    But I suppose what I’m trying to say is, if Christian blogs are being used by reporters to do articles to attack the church, does that defeat the purpose of Christian blogs speaking out to change the church for the good?

  4. You should put up a picture of your beautiful smile as your icon, Teddy!

    I haven’t had my teeth done, but I do get my hair coloured these days… Perhaps there’s no difference.

    I think we have to be careful not to slander on blogs, and also remember to be kind, because we aren’t face to face, and there is a danger that people say things that they would never say to another person in real life.

    Reporters can use and take what we say out of context. We can’t stop them doing this, but we can speak truth in love, and bear in mind that sometimes journo’s do read it so be careful. I don’t think they defeat the purpose of the blogs though. Sometimes, if people won’t listen to friendly criticism, issues resulting from abusive doctrines/bad leadership will come out later in a less pleasant way; maybe sometimes that is God’s way of bringing things into the light that ought not be hidden.

    One of the benefits of blogging is that we hear people the way we don’t get the chance to in real life, from beginning to end of their comments, with no interruptions, male or female, whatever walk of life, whatever country of origin. It’s great.

    Can theyblogs change institutions or structures?

    Not alone, but as one of many voices, they can help add weight. We can validate the views of many people who have concerns with aspects of institutions or structures. Some of those people may then change some aspect of how they do things.

    We provide a place where people seeking about these issues can know they are not alone, and can perhaps assist in their journey for a time, while God leads them into new things. Even helping one person is worth it. We’ve had occasional posts or emails from people who have been helped by various articles or discussions, and that really makes it worthwhile. If we were a home group, we wouldn’t get the same seeking people just dropping in the way we do at times here.

    We are a community ourselves; we help eachother; we are a kind of family when we comment here regularly; that’s a lovely aspect of this particular blog, I think, and not to be under-rated in God’s purposes for this place.

    This is a Christian blog, and one of many. We are part of the broader body of Christ. We are salt in the world – in this case the internet world. God knows where to put the salt for it to have the best effect – I trust Him that as we walk with Him here, He will achieve His purposes in what we do, both in our own hearts, and in those of others who sometimes find us.

    We can never underestimate the small things of God! On Lance’s blog, Craig commented on how a church wouldn’t let the young Ghandi come in to worship – that one small action lost Ghandi to the Christian faith (he rightly rejected the religion of it); imagine if one small opposite action had invited him in!

  5. Being a sovereign grace believer now, if Ghandi was one one of God’s elect (Ephesians 1:5), nothing we could do would come between him and God’s saving grace.

  6. And because we don’t know who God is saving, we (and that little church) are stilled called to be witnesses of Christ’s love.

  7. Absolutely, Teddy! But there are things called ‘stumbling blocks’ in the NT, which might sometimes be the ‘little things’ like that man’s attitude towards Ghandi. (Whether or not it was an actual stumbling block or not, I don’t know.) But imagine the impact a man like Ghandi could have had if he’d been a part of the Christian church – he could have turned some of the religious righteousness on its head! He seemed to have more insight into Christ’s teaching than that church did – or at least that church member.

    Anyway, what I’m trying to say is that even the small things we do can be significant; how can we know what God will do with the words here or on other blogs, over time? We certainly shouldn’t think it is nothing, or pointless. It might make a big difference at the right time to one individual. I think that’s worthwhile, even if the institutions go their own merry way without a glance at places like this.

    (Mind you, given that they sometimes preach against people blogging about them, there must be some effect somewhere out there.)

    And people have to be at the right place in their walk to hear alternatives to the views and doctrines that have been put to them for years and years. God can bring that about. It took me a long time. There were always doubts in me about some things, but I didn’t seek to resolve them; other things I just didn’t think about. It was quite shattering emotionally when it all came together, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

    Maybe because it can be so shattering, God is merciful and lets people hear at the right place or time for them, whereas we would sometimes just like to shake people out of their misconceptions right here and now – for their own good, of course.

  8. No one seems to know. It can’t be coincidence that it vanished just after TTT was quoted in the newspaper. It’s the third blog that discusses Hillsong that I’ve seen vanish – one was a wierd one about their theology, whose apparent author denies ever doing it; one was Emblazon’s blog; now TTT’s – which was probably the most convincing due to his past staff involvement with the church.

    We can only guess about why. TTT hasn’t showed up anywhere at all to enlighten anyone.

  9. Heya Ben – thanks for noticing. The teeth cost heaps, but it was a tax deduction so we all win.

    I just want everyone to be on the same page – GCCC was not “taken over” by us. It was resoundly subverted and the people defrauded by how we actually managed it. It was pretty sneaky, but because it was for the Kingdom that’s OK.

    As for TTT – not sure what happened to them, but I’d love to meet up with them for coffee at a local Gloria Jeans (just to keep all the money within reach) and discuss the finer points of their theology and apologetics while some of my minions trash their house.

    Hillsongs Brisbane is just the beginning. We’re coming to a church near you, whether you like it or not…

  10. Yes i think the openess of these sites are truly a blessing. I have friends, Christians, who hardly ever go to church, and are doing well. Alot of us started in the Pent movement many years ago.

    I think the movement has the possibility to change but as Dr Phil says “you can’t change what you don’t acknowledge”

  11. MJ – glad to see you here too.

    Dr Phil is a hack. If he were serious about helping people, he’d drop the “Dr” and replace it with “Pastor” and help be setup Hillsong Hollywood, another satellite campus of Hillsong Proper. That way not only could we reach and help far more people, but we could teach those Scientology people how to really make a difference – and stay in favour with the masses.

  12. No, mean’t Psychologist Dr Phil. Oh that’s right there’s another Doctor Phil.

    FBC that’s what we need at church, more celebs 🙂

  13. Yeah, what happened to TTT, i saw the web address too, in the newspaper, that’s how i found all these sites….Hark the Herald Angels sing

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