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Brian Houston (/ˈhjuːstən/ (About this soundlisten) HEW-stən, born 17 February 1954) is an Australian pastor and evangelist. He is the founder and senior pastor at Hillsong Church, based in Sydney with locations around the world. He was the National President of the Australian Christian Churches, the Australian branch of the Assemblies of God, from 1997 to 2009.[1]

Brian Houston
Pastor Brian Houston 2008.jpg
Born (1954-02-17) 17 February 1954 (age 65)
Auckland, New Zealand
Spouse(s)Bobbie Houston

Life and career

Early life

Houston was born in Auckland, New Zealand, on 17 February 1954.[2] His parents, Frank and Hazel, were then Salvation Army officers. When Houston was three his parents joined the Assemblies of God in New Zealand and began pastoring a church in Lower Hutt, near Wellington.[3]:62 Here Houston and his brother and three sisters spent their childhood. After completing school he went to a Bible college for three years.[3]:66 Shortly after completing college he met his future wife, Bobbie, on Papamoa Beach in New Zealand during a Christian convention. They were married in 1977.


After moving to Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, in 1978, Houston served at the Sydney Christian Life Centre in Darlinghurst, where he became the assistant pastor to his father, Frank Houston.[4] In 1980 he started a church on the Central Coast and worked at a church in Liverpool in 1981. In 1983, Houston saw a need in Sydney's north-western suburbs and hired the Baulkham Hills Public School hall to start a new church, the Hills Christian Life Centre.[5][6] The first service was held on Sunday, 14 August 1983.

In May 1997, Houston was elected the president of the Assemblies of God in Australia (now called Australian Christian Churches) after Andrew Evans' retirement. He helped to create the Australian Christian Churches network of Pentecostal churches in February 2000. This alliance represents over 200,000 members in affiliate churches[7] and he was its inaugural president.[8] He is also a member of the Australian Pentecostal Ministers Fellowship (APMF).[9] At the 2009 National Conference of Australian Christian Churches, Wayne Alcorn was voted in to replace Houston after he chose not to run again for the position.

On 10 May 1999, Frank Houston handed Sydney Christian Life Centre to Brian Houston.[10] Brian Houston said that Frank "appeared rushed" to hand his church to him. This was before the revelations of Frank's pedophilia became known.[11] Fifteen years later, in 2014, Brian Houston spoke at hearings held by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, stating that he received an allegation in October 1999 that his father sexually abused an Australian under-age male. Brian Houston's statement and the evidence submitted to the Royal Commission revealed that in November 1999, his father confessed of committing child sexual abuse.[10] The findings of the Royal Commission have raised questions over the timing and motive of Brian's acquisition and renaming of his father's CLC empire to Hillsong between 1999 and 2004.

From an initial congregation of 45 people, the combined churches grew to become Hillsong Church with a weekly attendance of over 35,000.[12]

In September 2018, Hillsong left the Australian Christian Churches to become an autonomous denomination, identifying itself more as a global and charismatic church.[13] According to both Hillsong and ACC, the parting was amicable.[14]

He is an executive producer for Hillsong Music Australia (HMA), which is the music ministry of Hillsong Church.[15] Their albums are distributed in nearly 90 countries, and to date HMA have released 63 albums, with sales well into the millions.[16] This music ministry has been very successful over the years with chart topping albums from Hillsong United (born out of the youth ministry), and Hillsong Live, which is the "worship expression" of Hillsong Church and incorporates their entire worship team. Each year Hillsong records their annual live album, and the songs from this live recording are then sung by church congregations all over the world. Some of the most popular songs sung today in churches are Hillsong songs, including "Mighty to Save" and "Shout to the Lord" (which was featured on a special episode of American Idol called "Idol Gives Back" in 2008.[17]

Houston is the president of Hillsong International Leadership College.[18] In 2010, Evening College was launched, with over 550 students, giving a total of 3,010 people being trained within Hillsong College. The college's students are from all over the world, representing over 70 different nationalities training full-time. Students can study pastoral leadership, worship music, TV and media or dance and receive a certificate, diploma and advanced diploma in ministry.[citation needed]

Houston is the host of Brian Houston TV, a Christian weekly television program (originally called Life is For Living) and is seen on TV screens in over 180 countries every week.[19] This program also airs daily, along with another program he hosts called Let's Talk with Brian Houston on Hillsong's television channel, the Hillsong Channel.

He leads the Hillsong Leadership Network which gives opportunities to connect with the Hillsong team and other pastors and leaders at events, open house events, informal gatherings and luncheons globally as well as annual leadership retreats in London and Sydney. Network members also receive resources and online training services designed to equip church leaders. As of 2011 there are over 500 members from nearly 50 different countries around the world.[citation needed]

Family and personal life

Brian Houston and his wife Bobbie reside in the suburb of Glenhaven, Sydney, Australia. They have three children, Joel, Ben, and Laura. Joel is a musician, a songwriter, and a creative director for Hillsong Church. As of 2010, he co-pastors Hillsong New York with Carl Lentz.


Brian Houston has written several books. Below are details about his bibliography.

Title Year ISBN Notes
"Get A Life" 1996 ISBN 978-0957733619 No longer in print
"You Can Change The Future" 1999 ISBN 978-0957733626 No longer in print
"You Need More Money" 1999 ISBN 978-0957733602 No longer in print
"How To Build Great Relationships" 2002 ISBN 978-0957733671
"How To Live A Blessed Life" 2002 ISBN 978-0957733633
"How To Flourish In Life" 2003 ISBN 978-0957733688
"How To Make Wise Decisions" 2004 ISBN 978-0957733602
"How To Live In Health & Wholeness" 2005 ISBN 978-0975206003
"Selah" 2006 ISBN 978-0975206027
"For This Cause" 2006 ISBN 978-0957733657
"Selah 2" 2007 ISBN 978-0975206034
"For This I Was Born" 2008 ISBN 978-0849919138
"Live Love Lead" 2015 ISBN 978-1455533428
"There Is More" 2018 ISBN 978-0735290617


  1. ^ Brian Houston Title & Occupation
  2. ^ Detzler, Wayne (11 February 2013). Emerging Awakening - A Faith Quake: Revival Is Rising in the Emerging Church Paperback. Eugene, Oregon: Wipf and Stock. ISBN 978-1610979870.
  3. ^ a b Hey, Sam (9 August 2013). Megachurches: Origins, Ministry, and Prospects. Australia: Wipf and Stock. ISBN 978-1625643223.
  4. ^ Oslington, Paul (2014). The Oxford Handbook of Christianity and Economics. USA: Oxford University Press. p. 266. ISBN 9780199729715.
  5. ^ Anderson, Allan (2013). An Introduction to Pentecostalism: Global Charismatic Christianity. UK: Cambridge University Press. p. 155.
  6. ^ Bailey, Sarah Pulliam (5 November 2013). "Australia's Hillsong Church Has Astonishingly Powerful Global Influence". Huffington Post. Retrieved 15 March 2019.
  7. ^ Croucher, Rowland (6 January 2003). "Australian Christian Churches". John Mark Ministries. Retrieved 24 January 2017.[unreliable source?]
  8. ^ Brooks, Adrian; Gallagher, Paul (11 April 2000). "Spreading God's Fire in Australia". Charisma Magazine. Retrieved 24 January 2017.
  9. ^ AUSTRALIAN PENTECOSTAL MINISTERS FELLOWSHIP (January 2001). "INQUIRY INTO THE DEFINITION OF CHARITIES AND RELATED ORGANISATIONS". Archived from the original on 18 June 2005. Retrieved 24 January 2016.
  10. ^ a b Houston, Brian (28 September 2014). "Statement in the matter of Case Study 18 - Statement of Brian Charles Houston" (PDF). Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. p. 4. Retrieved 21 December 2018.
  11. ^ Houston, Brian (2014). "Transcript (Day 88): 9 October 2014 (PDF)" (PDF). Royal Commission into Institutional Response to Child Sexual Abuses. pp. 55–56. Retrieved 21 December 2018.
  12. ^ "Hillsong Church 2016 Annual Report" (PDF). Hillsong Church. Retrieved 19 April 2018.
  13. ^ Blair, Leonardo (19 September 2018). "Hillsong Church Becomes Own Denomination, Splits From Australia's Largest Pentecostal Group". Retrieved 15 March 2019.
  14. ^ "Hillsong splits from denomination: 'we have no grief or dispute at all'". Premier. 19 September 2018. Retrieved 19 September 2018.
  15. ^ Executive Producer Credits
  16. ^ Hillsong Music info and statistics
  17. ^ Shout to the Lord on American Idol on YouTube
  18. ^ "Hillsong College Info". Archived from the original on 24 October 2011.
  19. ^ "Hillsong TV Viewers". Archived from the original on 25 September 2011.

External links