Hillsong leader says documentary is trying to 'hurt the church'

Pastor Phil Dooley Speaks at Hillsong "Vision Sunday" on Feb. 20, 2022.(Photo: YouTube/Hillsong)

A senior Hillsong leader has spoken out against an upcoming documentary that features former members and other critics of the church.

"Hillsong: A Megachurch Exposed" is a three-part series that will air on Discovery Plus on 24 March. 

A trailer for the documentary has already aired showing a number of people talking about their experience with the church.

Ranin Karim, a designer who says she had a months-long affair with former New York City pastor Carl Lentz, also appears in the trailer. 

She can be heard saying, "It was the most toxic thing I ever had to deal with." 

Lentz was fired in November 2020 over "moral failures" and admitted to marital unfaithfulness.

In addition to examining the Lentz scandal, the documentary will look into claims that the Australia-based church operates like a cult. 

Hillsong Church interim global senior pastor Phil Dooley brought up the documentary during a global broadcast.

Dooley said he was saddened that some people had been hurt during their time with Hillsong but claimed that the documentary only presented part of the picture about the church. 

He also questioned the motives of the documentary makers.

"Sadly, there is a documentary about our church coming out soon. Surprise, surprise. And that picture it paints is far removed from, I believe, the truth of who we are as a church," Dooley said.

"There are people who have been hurt by their experience in our church. And that saddens me. For those people, I say we are deeply sorry and we pray that you'll find healing.

"But there are also producers behind this documentary, and their purpose is not the healing of people but simply to hurt the church."

He continued, "And if those producers were truly attempting to do an exposé, I would like to expose them to a place called Gugulethu, a township in Cape Town.

"And a school called Tembaletu with Xhosa speaking disabled young people who live a pretty tough life.

"And yet our church collectively around the world provided them with accommodation, so that they could experience a better life and an opportunity for a better education. And we have continued to do that with these beautiful kids."