Hillsong Dallas lead pastors step down after 15 years with ministry

Reed (L) and Jess (R) Bogard speak during a Sunday service at Hillsong Dallas on Oct. 25, 2020.
Reed (L) and Jess (R) Bogard speak during a Sunday service at Hillsong Dallas on Oct. 25, 2020. | YouTube/Hillsong Dallas

The lead pastors at Hillsong Dallas have announced that they are stepping down from their positions after over 15 years with the international ministry. 

Reed Bogard and his wife, Jess Bogard, who head the Australian-based megachurch’s Dallas location, announced during service Sunday that they are resigning from their roles after over a decade of service. 

The announcement was made by Reed Bogard in the form of a pre-recorded video in which he thanked those who helped them plant Hillsong Dallas. 

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“It has been an incredible ride thus far. We have had some crazy days, some great days, seen God do many, many miracles,” Bogard said. “We are so grateful for that. With that said, the last 10 years of being in church-planting mode has really taken a bit of a toll on Jess and I and our family.” 

Bogard, 38, said that he and his wife, who met while studying at Hillsong International Leadership College, feel that the time is right to “transition off of our staff and take some time to remain healthy, get healthy and to really see what this next season holds for us.” 

“I am so grateful for our global senior pastors, Pastors Brian and Bobbie Houston, for believing in us and entrusting this to us. They have trusted so much along the way. They have been the greatest cheerleaders, the greatest supporters. I never met two people who believe in people so much. We are just so grateful for you, Pastors Brian and Bobbie.”

After college, the Bogards worked in different roles within the church and have helped plant three different churches during their tenure, including the turmoil-ridden Hillsong NYC/East Coast, the campus in Los Angeles and in Dallas, where they were given the responsibility of lead pastors. 

Hillsong founding Pastor Brian Houston also addressed the congregation by video and thanked the Bogards for their service. 

“Reed and Jess have given their heart and soul to the pioneering of Hillsong Dallas over the last couple of years,” Houston said. “We are grateful for that and grateful for the work they have done.” 

Houston assured that there will eventually be new lead pastors at Hillsong Dallas but said the church is “not going to rush it.” 

“I do believe in the future of Hillsong Dallas,” he said. “In the meantime, we will make sure week by week that the church is being cared for. We have a great team over in America and around the world. Even though we are restricted in what we can and can’t do right now in terms of travel, you are not going to be forsaken.”

The announcement comes as Hillsong NYC has been hit hard by scandals in recent months including the November firing of Hillsong NYC Pastor Carl Lentz for moral failures and the surfacing of 2018 claims of inappropriate sexual relations between Hillsong NYC staff and volunteers.

Lentz later admitted to being unfaithful in his marriage. A leaked audio recording reported by the Daily Mail of Houston talking with church leaders and donors about the Letnz situation indicated that the celebrity pastor had “more than one affair” before his firing.

Last month, Hillsong told The Christian Post in a statement that the ministry received a letter with serious allegations regarding staff and volunteers at the Hillsong NYC campus in 2018.  Upon a three-month investigation into the letter’s claims, the church said that it learned that “some of the allegations were true.” 

“In response, our team took immediate action to address those allegations,” the December statement reads. “Though some of the letter’s allegations were found to be inaccurate, we realized that those situations required care and concern as well.”

Reed Bogard’s video didn’t explain why now is the right timing for the couple to step down, nor was there mention of anything related to Hillsong NYC. 

The Bogards, who are both in their 30s, have three children.

“Reed and I have been talking now over a period of time and we both agreed it would be a perfect time for them to come to a new season in their life, which means a new season also for Hillsong Dallas,” Houston said in his pre-recorded video to the congregation. 

In November, Hillsong announced that it hired a New York-based legal firm to conduct an independent investigation into Hillsong NYC and Hillsong East Coast. The investigation will look into “all concerns and any wider cultural issues.”

“We are taking this extremely seriously and on the basis of this report, we will be better positioned to take whatever actions are deemed necessary to right the wrongs and see Hillsong East Coast move forward in a way that enables many more people to find hope in Jesus," the statement explained. 

Hillsong NYC is known for having been attended by celebrities such as Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber. Bieber recently distanced himself from Hillsong by stating publicly that he is a member of Churchome led by Judah Smith. 

Hailey Bieber said in an interview last year with Elle that it was Hillsong Church that helped her get in touch with her faith. According to Elle, Hailey Bieber first attended the church when she was 16. 

Founded in 1983, Hillsong Church has campuses in over 28 countries. According to its website, Hillsong Church has an average weekly attendance of 150,000. Hillsong is also globally known for its popular worship bands and worship music widely used by other churches and ministries. 

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