The beleaguered Hillsong church is trying to keep the faith, but skeptical and disenchanted cracks are beginning to show.
Editor’s note: Crikey, an Australian newspaper, has been covering the recent Hillsong scandal. In this article, a journalist (dreadful creatures that they are) visits their service this past Sunday right after the scandal broke. In typical megachurch fashion, social media moderators shut down complaints in chat during the live service. I monitored something similar myself during a recent megachurch scandal here in the south – posts and groups were literally wiped off Facebook within days of the scandal (are megachurches paying how many thousands to some agency for social media clean-up work?)
As Pastor Phil elaborated on a vision of togetherness and a new way for the church, Hillsong’s invisible monitors swooped on the live chat and began to delete any message that questioned the new narrative.
“Why do you keep silencing us? Deleting our messages and not answering emails?” one dissident asked.
“Keep the focus on the Service,” ordered a Hillsong monitor.
Shutting down questions while promising a better day. It seemed at that moment to capture the hopelessness of where Hillsong has ended up.