Hillsong Global Senior Pastor Brian Houston sent a letter to members on Monday promising to look into and investigate claims that pastors at Hillsong Churches in America were engaged in gross financial impropriety with no fiscal oversight.
We reported last week that pastors and leaders were given PEX cards with tens of thousands of dollars on them to spend on their leisure, with no reconciliation accounting needing to be done for how the money was spent.
Purchases include $1100 per night AirBnB, renting $6000/month apartments, unlocked iPhones, ATV’s, weekly manicures, spending $600-700 on single meals, buying wine and booze that costs hundreds of dollars per bottle, and buying designer clothing and gifts for celebrities visiting the church.
I am writing to you today because of several stories circulating online alleging a serious abuse of trust — the misuse of church funds by Hillsong Church employees…
We are particularly grieved that, in many cases, inaccurate accounts in these stories have been reported as if they are true. Hillsong Church strongly refutes that our culture casually allows for such gross misuse of church funds. In fact, these stories are especially troubling since Hillsong has a record of excellence in financial accountability globally and an unwavering commitment to financial integrity…
The church, which brought in nearly $100 million in revenue in 2019, continues the letter by claiming that staff members are paid modest salaries and that “personal expenditures are not permitted to be charged to church credit cards. If this occurs, it is addressed and the church is reimbursed for such expenditure in a timely manner.”
Of course, it wouldn’t take much to say that a $300 or $400 meal of sushi was not a personal expense, but rather a church expense made to “promote outreach” or an “evangelism expense.”
By all accounts, the Hillsong organization is not using an outside source or auditing firm but will handle the investigation in-house.
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