“Jesus has changed my life. Easter is not about a bunny,” how Hillsong’s taken over Hollywood
Going to church is the hottest new craze for celebs thanks to this Aussie Church
It’s the Australian church that’s taken Hollywood by storm, and with celebs like Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez singing its praises, Hillsong is set for even more attention.
Founded in Sydney 35 years ago by husband-and-wife team Brian and Bobbie Houston, the contemporary Christian church has branches in 21 countries and an average of almost 112,000 people at weekly services. Many celebs attend: Justin, Selena and the Kardashians are frequent visitors in LA and New York.
On Easter Sunday, Justin shared an Instagram post about his religious beliefs: “Jesus has changed my life. Easter is not about a bunny, it’s a reminder that my Jesus died on the cross for my sins and then rose from the dead.”
Jessica Marais is a Hillsong convert – The Love Child actress recently got into Hillsong thanks to her new man.
While Brian and Bobbie Houston’s son Ben and daughter-in-law Lucille are the lead pastors of Hillsong LA, the lead pastor at New York and New Jersey is Carl Lentz, who has become a close confidant to many stars.
In fact, he was thought to be the driving force behind Justin and Selena’s latest reunion, offering them guidance in their relationship. One thing the on-off couple have always had in common is their shared belief and, in turn, a love of Hillsong.
Since having an epiphany that religion could help him clean up his pop-brat image, reformed bad boy Justin, 24, has grown more and more attached to Hillsong and Carl, even allowing the pastor to baptise him in 2014.
“I was pretty lost and woke up one day and felt like God was telling me something,” he said.
Carl says of Justin’s Hillsong involvement, “I think he’s dedicated to being a Christian and he has a community in our church and some other places that really give him strength.
Notice the quote above — classic Hillsong speak
Carl Lentz says of Beiber; “He’s worked really hard to put himself in a position to be the best Justin he can be, and I’m proud of him.”
On a path to finding her best self after a life-threatening kidney transplant, Selena, 25, is equally open about her connection to God, and has been spotted carrying a Bible around in the wake of her
split from Justin.
“I know if I didn’t have the faith I had I wouldn’t have gotten through some of the hardest times in my life,” says Selena, who made the trip to Australia recently just to attend a Hillsong conference.
Interest in the church has spread throughout Tinseltown. Justin introduced his former fling Kourtney Kardashian to Hillsong.
Selena’s friends Nick Jonas and Vanessa Hudgens have also been part of the congregation, and Hailey Baldwin, Chris Pratt and Kendall and Kylie Jenner have been spotted at services.
With so much celebrity endorsement and services taking place in hip music venues, Hillsong is undoubtedly the coolest Christian church around – and with new branches continuing to open across the globe, it’s very much on the rise.
There are a number of questions on this front?
Where is Jesus…We know more about those going to Hillsong than the central reason for church which is Jesus himself
And another question, is Hillsong Changing the lives of celebrities like Justin Beiber, or changing the face of Christianity, not necessarily for the better.
These unredeemed sit in churches, with the redeemed.
They are a time bomb ready to explode. They speak christianese fluently. They are Christians, not by having repented, but just by a prayer that they had said by rote.
David from Crosswalk asks I must have been around seven years old when warheads first appeared on my school playground, these tiny little candies that were so sour they could make your eyes water. Their appearance sparked a massive social shift among my classmates. Suddenly your level of popularity depended on how much tartness your taste buds could endure. You could eat a strawberry warhead? Big deal, those were for babies. If you were really cool, you’d be able to stomach the dreaded black cherry.
Like all fads though, Warheads eventually fizzled and were replaced by pogs, then yoyos, and then Beanie Babies. That’s the trouble with popularity, it never stays in one place very long. Josh Buice, of DBG Christian Blogs, believes Christians have spent too much time trying to make the gospel seem cool.
In our effort to furnish churches with coffee bars and corporate music, we’ve forgotten three, very important reasons why the Church doesn’t need to be popular,
1. Popularity Changes, The Gospel is Unchanging
It goes without saying that the music you listened to ten years ago probably isn’t the same music you listen to now. The same is true for the cloths you wear and the hobbies you enjoy. Culture changes, and people change with it. However the gospel does not change. Throughout history, it has stood as a testimony to God’s enduring love. As it’s written in Matthew 24:35,
2. The Gospel Will Never Be Cool
“At some point, we must face the sobering truth that the gospel will never be cool (1 Cor. 1:18). We can dress up the gospel in modern clothes and repackage it to an urbane culture, but at the end of the day – it’s still the gospel. It doesn’t matter if ministers grow long beards, dress in hipster attire, drink beer in study groups, and have a cigar lounge on their church campus – the gospel will never be cool and hip to a lost world.”
Changing your worship style, or holding Bible study at a coffee shop, won’t convince someone to put their faith in Christ. In the end, it all depends on the heart of the individual and their willingness to seek God.
3. Christians Should Always Be Faithful
Buice concludes by stating,
“As we explore the early church in the book of Acts, we don’t see them majoring on set designs, hipster clothing, and church branding to get the gospel to the ends of the world. The early Christians were very much under submission to Christ’s rule and their lives exemplified holiness – not rebellion. We don’t see the need for the early church to use antinomianism to carry the torchlight of the gospel onward. Instead, we see people who were faithful to the gospel – even to the point of death – in order to get the gospel to the ends of the world.”
Believers shouldn’t care what the world thinks of them, what’s important is what God thinks. Christ has called us to be holy and devoted to Him. To live in such a way that His love is reflected onto everyone we meet. This is no easy task, society may call us strange, but the faithfulness of Christ will continue to speak long after modern trends have passed away.
So why are so many modern Christians bending over backwards to make the Gospel acceptable? Partly because of what the church has become for so many. Without Jesus and his Gospel, church is nothing more than a weekly get together.
Christianity is nothing more than a regurgitation of nice thoughts and secular opinion. If that’s all it is, then does going to church — or being a Christian — matter at all?
No. Which is why more and more millennials are dumping Christianity for other “spiritual” experiences and community activities. Why bother with church if you can get the same warm, fuzzy feeling by doing CrossFit with friends?
The fact that modern society views Christian morals as uncool doesn’t scare me. What scares me is number of supposed Christians, consumed with being cool. They’re willing to abandon uncomfortable Scriptural teachings in order to remain popular. When this world perishes, as it will, they’ll have nothing left.
If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. John 15:19
Churches sticking to a more conservative, literal view of the Bible are “thriving,” according to a Washington Post report on a study earlier this year.
Some might wonder why this is. The answer’s easy. It’s because the gospel, pure, unabridged and uncensored, is what holds the power to change lives. That gospel centers on Jesus, the real person, who really died and rose from the dead. He’s the only one who can save us from a life of sin and from eternal damnation.
And following the real Jesus means accepting and obeying his commands, not discarding them, and treating them as outdated and uncool.
How can the cross be cool?
How can dying to yourself be cool?
How can persecution be cool?