The Hillsong Board has denied the recent claim by co-founder Brian Houston that his wife, Bobbie, was let go from her position as co-Global Senior Pastor at the global megachurch via text message last Friday.
In a statement issued on Saturday, the board explained that they had been engaged in "difficult and challenging conversations" with Bobbie and Brian since March 28, just six days after Brian resigned from his role as co-Global Senior Pastor.
"We are saddened by Brian's public response and hope that he and Bobbie will understand the heart behind the decisions that are being made. The goal was to work together with them and keep the church safe in the process, not to hurt anyone," the church said of Brian's accusations.
"Our focus is on health in this season, and to allow our church the opportunity to enter a new season while acknowledging and honouring the past, and all that our church family has been built on," the board continued.
"Please continue to pray for Brian and Bobbie and also for our church. As always, our pastoral team is available to anyone who would like support," the statement concluded.
As Christian Headlines previously reported, on Friday, Houston took to social media to allege that the Hillsong Board had made Bobbie aware that her role with the church was made redundant through a text message.
A screenshot of the text conversation posted to Facebook by Brian reads, "Dear Bobbie, I wanted to text you to let you know I will be sending an email shortly regarding your employment. Please let me know if you would like to talk about it or if you have questions."
Bobbie responded to the initial message, whose author was not revealed, writing, "… I don't even have words to express how cold and callous this has all become …."
According to Brian, this was the initial communication Bobbie received about her role being made redundant.
"After 39 years of exemplary service and extraordinary faithfulness and fruitfulness, this is the communication Bobbie received from the Hillsong Church board as she is made redundant (effective immediately) through no choice of her own," Brian captioned the now-deleted post.
"This just 3 weeks after she hosted her 26th year of Colour Conferences. (A total of 118 conferences around the world.) She has relentlessly served God and served people as she stood side by side with me for four decades leading Hillsong Church, faithful in the good times and the tough times alike," he said.
"And we are supposed to act like this is all ok. It's not! Our beautiful church is losing its soul," he lamented.
Last month, Houston resigned from his role as co-Global Senior Pastor after being accused of engaging in inappropriate behavior with two women. He is also currently facing charges of concealing child sex abuse crimes committed by his late father, Frank Houston, an Assemblies of God pastor. If convicted, Houston could face up to 5 years in prison.
Brian and Bobbie Houston founded Hillsong in 1983 in Sydney, Australia. The pair served as the church's co-Global Senior Pastors until Brian's resignation and Bobbie's redundancy. Bobbie is the founder of Colour Conference and The Colour Sisterhood, which is "a global movement of women united around a mandate to make the world a better place," the church's website reports.
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Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer. He is also the co-hosts of the For Your Soul podcast, which seeks to equip the church with biblical truth and sound doctrine. Visit his blog Blessed Are The Forgiven.