Weeks before he is set to face charges in an Australian court for allegations that he concealed his father’s child sex abuse, Hillsong Church founder Brian Houston announced that he and his wife, Bobbie, will have a big night of preaching and fellowship in their home base next month and urged their followers to join them in their return to a local stage.
The announcement comes as the defiant preacher returned to Australia fresh off a six-week tour of preaching in the U.S., where he declared he still has "so much more" to give at 68.
“Well, big hello. Bobbie and I are excited because on November the 9th, it’s a Wednesday evening, we’re going to have a night called an evening with Brian and Bobbie. It’s just all about connection, fellowship, community,” Houston began in a 34-second video announcing the event on Facebook Monday.
“And of course, Bobbie will share some thoughts. As always, I’m sure there will be a prophetic energy to that. I’m gonna preach a message, pray for people,” he added. “We’d really love to see you come, so come along and, of course, we’ll also be livestreamed on all available platforms. So don’t miss the night. We’re really looking forward to it.”
The event, billed as “An Evening With Bobbie and Brian,” is set to be held at the Pioneer Theatre in Sydney's Castle Hill, which seats approximately 350 people. Houston said tickets for the initial event were all gone in less than two hours so they decided to add a second session to accommodate more people who would like to connect with them in-person.
Houston initially stepped down from the boards of the Australia-based global megachurch he founded in 1983 last September after he was charged with allegedly "concealing child sex offenses."
Hillsong Church announced in January that Houston stepped down from his role at the church's helm for all of 2022 as he faced criminal charges related to allegations he concealed sex abuse committed by his father decades earlier. The megachurch founder has denied wrongdoing.
He completely resigned from the church on March 23 after Hillsong Church said he violated the church's pastoral code of conduct by entering the hotel room of an unidentified woman for 40 minutes while under the influence of alcohol and prescription drugs during the church's annual conference in 2019.
Houston doesn't recall having sex with the woman, and the woman did not say if they had sex. Interim Global Senior Pastor Phil Dooley said their accounts of what happened are not entirely reliable because they were impaired by alcohol. Houston was also reportedly under the influence of anxiety medication.
In a second incident, Houston is said to have exchanged an "inappropriate text message" with a staffer in 2013. According to Dooley, the text message was "along the lines of, 'If I was with you, I would like to give you a kiss and a cuddle or a hug.'" The staffer resigned shortly after. Hillsong Church blamed Houston's actions in this case on "sleeping tablets."
Multiple sexual and financial misconduct allegations by other pastors in the U.S. and Australia under Houston's leadership have also emerged in recent years.
In an Aug. 22 message billed as "A Legacy That Outlasts You" delivered at the Christian Faith Center in Seattle, Washington, Houston stated that setbacks and failures in life shouldn't define someone's legacy.
"Legacy can take a lifetime to build and we can damage it. We can dent it in just a moment. And the thing about legacy is it never comes without a few twists and curves," he said.
Last month, at the end of his preaching tour in the U.S., Houston asked his supporters to pray for him as he faces the pending court case.
“Well we are still here and mostly smiling. We’ve had a wonderful last 6 weeks in USA and I’ve preached in 8 cities in that time. We’ve had so much wonderful time with pastor couples and we are feeling the love,” he wrote in a Sept. 26 Facebook post.
“We miss the congregation at Hillsong Church enormously and hopefully we’ll have the chance to tell our story sometime soon. The body of Christ at large have proved themselves to be just that. Grace-filled, loving and overwhelmingly supportive. Pray for me with a court case looming. Love and grace to you all.”