Hillsong Church Shuts Down Dallas Campus Citing Moral Questions in Wake of Lead Pastors' Resignation
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The Hillsong Church's leadership announced to the members of Hillsong Dallas on Saturday that it has decided to "pause all operations" at its Dallas, Texas church campus for the time being.
The Daily Mail reports the announcement was made in an email sent to all Dallas church members from Brian and Bobbie Houston, the founders of the Australia-based global megachurch.
"Many factors, all amplified by the pandemic have resulted in the difficult decision," the Houstons wrote in the email, which was obtained by the newspaper.
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Back in January, Reed and Jess Bogard, the lead pastors of Hillsong Dallas announced their resignation in a videotaped message that was played during the church's live-stream worship service. During the short announcement, Reed Bogard said the last 10 years of being involved in church planting had taken a bit of a toll on the couple, according to the Religion News Service (RNS).
"We just really feel like it's time to transition off of our staff and take some time. Remain healthy, get healthy, and really see what this next season holds for us," he said.
In their email on Saturday, the Houstons told the Dallas church members they had received several complaints about Reed Bogard's leadership which led to the church suspending the pastors before they both resigned.
"Early in our process, the Bogards decided to resign from Hillsong Church. We accepted their resignations and acknowledged the time that the Bogards spent establishing our Dallas location," the Houstons wrote in the email obtained by The Daily Mail.
"It was very disappointing to learn that, while some of you experienced the Bogards as dedicated pastors, many others have experienced leadership that failed to meet the commitments and standards of Hillsong Church," the Houstons said, mentioning a now-concluded "examination" that involved anonymous church members.
The news of the indefinite hiatus of Hillsong Dallas is the latest in a series of scandals to plague the global church just within the last six months.
As CBN News reported in November, Hillsong New York Pastor Carl Lentz was fired for moral failures after it was revealed he had engaged in a months-long sexual affair with a woman known only as Ranin.
At the time of Lentz's termination, Houston also announced the church was launching an independent investigation into its New York City branch.
The Bogards had been a part of the Hillsong NYC team led by Lentz before they moved to Dallas. Several media outlets have reported former staff and church members have alleged the NYC church leaders led luxurious lifestyles using tithe money. At the time, Reed Bogard reportedly served as the NYC church's head of finance, according to the RNS.
In a statement shared with CBN's Faithwire when the probe was announced, a representative for the church said the decision to launch an outside investigation was made after leadership "heard from a number of people about their experiences and concerns."
"It is important that we establish the truth and then do everything we can to ensure our church is both a safe place and one that seeks to glorify God in all that we say and do," the statement continued. "For this reason, we have decided to appoint a New York-based legal firm that is not associated or affiliated with Hillsong to conduct an in-depth review and investigation into all concerns and any wider cultural issues."
In their recent email to Dallas church members, the Houstons indicated Hillsong was not closing the door on the Lone Star State, writing: "We still have a huge heart and vision for the great state of Texas. When the time is right and we have identified and trained suitable lead pastors, we will consider relaunching."
The original Hillsong church was founded by the Houstons in 1983 near Sydney, Australia. Besides having church locations in 28 countries around the world, the church is known for its worship music and conferences.
CBN News has reached out to Hillsong Australia for comment about Hillsong Dallas. We'll update this story as soon as we hear from them.
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