Hillsong Worship pulls out of tour with Casting Crowns after scandals
(CP) Hillsong Worship, the world-renowned band comprised of worship leaders from the scandal-ridden Hillsong Church, have pulled out of a nationwide tour to "heal."
The 18-city concert tour was due to kick off with Casting Crowns and We The Kingdom in just over two weeks.
Hillsong Worship announced their withdrawal on social media: "Hillsong Worship has asked to be withdrawn from the upcoming Casting Crowns/Hillsong Worship tour with We The Kingdom," the group revealed on Facebook.
Hillsong Worship said they were "deeply disappointed," but due to scandals that have surrounded Hillsong church in recent months, the group is putting the "health and well-being of the people on our team first," the statement continued.
Brain Houston, who co-founded Hillsong in 1983, resigned last month after it was revealed that two women made allegations of misconduct against him in the last 10 years. His resignation also followed a series of misconduct scandals involving other Hillsong Church leaders in the U.S. and Australia.
Some ex-Hillsong pastors have parted ways with the brand and are starting their own ministries apart from Hillsong.
The global network of churches has also been the focus of documentaries that set out to rehash some of the misdeeds of church leaders that were brought to light in recent years. A Discovery Plus docuseries that was released on March 24, "Hillsong: A Megachurch Exposed," set out to show how the Australia-based global network has toed a "fine line between cult and culture."
Hillsong Worship said in their statement that the band members need to take a break because they're "an extension of and expression of Hillsong Church — a collective of our local church worship teams." Each member of the group, which includes Joel Houston (son of Brian Houston), Brooke Ligertwood, and Taya Smith, among others, are "either on staff at Hillsong Church or volunteers."
"Now is the time for us to humbly seek the Lord, to grieve in hope and to heal in community, together," the statement added. They thanked Casting Crowns, We The Kingdom, and Premier Productions for being understanding and admitted being "devastated" to do so.
The tour will move ahead on April 22, and Hillsong Worship encouraged fans to keep their tickets.
Casting Crowns frontman Mark Hall also took to Instagram with a statement of support for Hillsong Worship's decision to back out of the tour.
"Their church is hurting right now, and they're going through some stuff," Hall shared in a video message. "Hillsong Worship, they're a church-based ministry ... and when your church is hurting, you need to be with your people."
"That's what the Body of Christ does," he explained. "So they're going to be home walking this season out with their people, and we're going to be out on the road loving on you guys."
Hillsong Church interim global Senior Pastor Phil Dooley recently addressed the negative media attention surrounding the church network and said it paints an unfair picture of the ministry. He assured that the church does a lot of good in the world and "never claimed to be a perfect church."
Dooley, who has been a part of Hillsong Church for over 30 years, also acknowledged that he was saddened by the experiences of some of the church leaders' alleged victims.