Founder and former global senior paster of Hillsong Church Brian Houston has resigned from his position after he was accused of inappropriate behavior by two women, including a former staff member of the church.

The board of the church acknowledged Houston’s decision and the existence of the complaints in a blog post last week. “We have sadly been dealing with two complaints made against Pastor Brian over the last 10 years,” it read. “These matters – like all such matters under our code of conduct – were dealt with confidentially.”

The first complaint stemmed from “inappropriate text messages,” Houston sent to a female Hillsong staffer a decade ago. According to the board, the staffer resigned in response to the incident. The next complaint stemmed from a 2019 incident during a conference where Houston ended up “knocking on the door of a hotel room that was not his, entering this room and spending time with the female occupant.”

In both re-countings of the misconduct, the board used reactions to medications as excuses for his behavior. During the texting incident, they stated Houston “was under the influence of sleeping tablets, under which he had developed a dependence,” and that they helped him get past his addiction afterward.

For the hotel complaint, they alleged that he “became disoriented after a session at the Hillsong conference, following the consumption of anti-anxiety medication beyond the prescribed dose, mixed with alcohol.”

Towards the end of the statement, the Hillsong board did recognize failure on their end. “Like many other churches of its size, Hillsong’s governance model has historically placed significant control in the hands of the senior paster, but we recognize that the way we do things needs to be reviewed,” the board said.

Houston had already stepped back from his church responsibilities in January prior to the two complaints. This was related to more charges Houston received that he intentionally hid evidence of his late father and fellow pastor Frank Houston’s child sex abuse.

Other Hillsong pastors have attracted controversy to the church, which became known for drawing celebrity worshippers including Justin Bieber and Chris PrattCarl Lentz, a pastor that was briefly a spiritual guide to Bieber himself, stepped down from the church after it was revealed he had an affair and was accused of sexual abuse later. Another pastor, Darnell Barrett, also had to step down last year after he was caught sending explicit photos to churchgoers.

A three-episode docuseries about the megachurch Hillsong: A Megachurch Exposed, will release on March 24. A trailer for the Discovery+ series can be viewed below.

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