Brian Houston blogs…
“God is good and His timing is perfect! Los Angeles is a city of millions of people – people chasing broken dreams, people desperate for hope in a higher cause, people longing for meaningful relationships with one another. Hillsong Church is about all those things. It is about ‘welcoming home’ the lost, the broken, the hurting, and the lonely. It’s about connecting families; building purpose and value into everyONE and it is about seeing the Good News of Jesus Christ proclaimed everywhere – including the bright lights of big cities like LA.
Yes, its true – Hillsong Church is expanding into Southern California!! In a city as influential as LA – a city obsessed with putting names in bright lights – our heart and our prayer is that our church will add to the growing skyline a name Higher, Brighter and Greater than any other…JESUS.
“You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine!” Matthew 5:14-16 (excerpt from MSG)
Nearly a year ago, rumours began about the possibility of a Hillsong Church in Los Angeles. Funnily, at that time we had NO plans for LA. But the more I protested, the stronger the rumours became. Then, taking us by surprise, my son Ben and his wife Lucille, came to Bobbie and I at Easter time and shared with us their sense of calling to Southern California…
It’s hard to explain to you the emotions you feel when your son, along with his beautiful wife and my 3 beautiful granddaughters, express to you a desire (accompanied by a strong conviction) to move to another country. Bobbie and I are extremely joyful, extremely confident in God’s hand on them and these plans, and yet obviously emotional at the changes that this will bring to our (already) global family.
I asked Ben (Houston) to share some of the story of how this announcement that I made to our church last night, about future plans to plant Hillsong LA, unfolded:
“Coming into the beginning of this year I started feeling God stirring me towards this. I have always loved people – loved seeing people find Jesus, loved seeing the Church do what it can to help others. And I kept thinking about the possibility of doing what we do, as Hillsong Church, in a city of millions like Los Angeles. Any time I was in prayer, or writing, or any other God-moments the same thought would keep going through my mind and burning inside of me. It got to the point where I spoke up to Lucille about the possibility of us moving to LA to plant a church. She is the most amazingly supportive and releasing wife and was shocked at first, but excited to see if God was in this. It didn’t make a lot of sense in the natural – as we love Sydney, have an amazing role in the church, and our family is very set up here. But we couldn’t shake that God was calling us out of our comfort zone to do something significant for Him. Over the next couple of months, we prayed about it and got to the point where we knew we needed to speak up. We talked with my parents and wondered if they had any plans towards the west coast of the USA. They also took it as a bit of a surprise, but were supportive of us being obedient to God. Now here we are. We don’t know exactly what this will look like; we don’t know many of the details; but I am confident that if God is in this, and if we are obedient, anything is possible!”
With Hillsong Conference in Los Angeles coming up, I felt strongly to announce this BEFOREHAND, to ensure Pastors and Leaders that we will not be using the conference platform, conference contacts or database to promote this new endeavor, or for ANY OTHER PURPOSE than Hillsong Conference.
In terms of Hillsong LA, our plans for ‘expansion’ are not indiscriminate. They are intentional, prayed about and thought through. They are accompanied by many conversations and a heartfelt desire to see the decision and the outworking’s of it, done with great care and integrity. Some of our dearest friends pastor churches in the Los Angeles area. In fact, some of the worlds greatest churches and leaders – people I love, admire, respect and learn from – are based in California. That is why I am going to say this with all passion and conviction: If you are already an active part of a local church – stay planted in your church. Our intention is not to build on anyone else’s foundation and we will do our best to work alongside the greater Church in the city – moving forward with the unique calling that each of us bring to the Body of Christ.
So, at the moment, we really have no details for you. These plans are in their infancy, and we are concentrated wholly on what lies immediately ahead of us – the very first Hillsong Conferences in the great nation of America.
What we do know is that we are boldly and unreservedly moving forward – intent on building a healthy, thriving local church that by God’s grace, will be a blessing to this city and beyond! And as we do gather more details and make decisions over the coming months, if you live in the Los Angeles area, are looking for a local church, have recently moved to LA or have friends that you would love to introduce to church, then we’d love to hear from you HERE.
What incredible days we are living in…surely, the best is yet to come!