Hillsong Australia - Annual Report 2020

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This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 1 John 4:9-11 (NIV)

Hillsong Church exists to continue the work of the risen Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, and to become a community of everyday people finding new life in Him and seeking to bring hope and justice to the world.


Hillsong Australia Annual Report 2020

CONTENTS 2020 Annual Report


Global Senior Pastors' report


General Manager's report


Overview 09 Hillsong’s history and growth


Church 18 Diversity, equity and inclusion


Community 42 Global reach


Financials and governance


References 77

Hillsong Australia Annual Report 2020




"To reach and influence the world by building a large Christ-centred, Bible-based church, changing mindsets and empowering people to lead and impact in every sphere of life." Hillsong Church Mission Statement

The 2020 Annual Report for Hillsong principally explores the activities of Hillsong Church in Australia. Other Hillsong Church locations in the Asia Pacific region are separately governed by a board that comprises largely of local leaders. The activities of Hillsong Church within Australia are explored with financial results along with


Hillsong Australia Annual Report 2020

the governance relating to those entities. The report also shows how the church has pivoted and innovated in light of the significant impacts of COVID-19 throughout 2020 while still holding firm to the vision of Hillsong Church.

We acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders as the traditional custodians of all the lands throughout Australia. We recognise and respect the connection to their land, cultural heritage and community and we pay our respects to their Elders past, present and emerging.

Hillsong Australia Annual Report 2020




On our Church’s Vision Sunday in early 2020 we framed the year ‘Holy Spirit Significance’, encouraging the congregation that our loving God is a faithful and ready helper when we face storms and trouble.


Hillsong Australia Annual Report 2020

Never in my lifetime have we faced so many ‘storms’ in such a short period… whether it be floods, bushfires, a global pandemic and its social and economic impact or George Floyd’s tragic loss of life that led to the global stand against racism. Jesus speaks directly to us when He says “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27, NIV). Our hope is that Hillsong has served with the Christian message of comfort, encouragement, and peace in these times of uncertainty. Despite the interruption to regular church programs, our staff and volunteers have been on the coal face, assisting many who have been affected in this season. We redeployed people to serve alongside our pastoral team, who together made close to 400,000 phone calls, identifying the needs within our communities, and providing care and support to those most affected. Bobbie and I were astounded as we watched our congregation excel in being caring, faithful and generous throughout this difficult time. Through donations, Hillsong raised and disbursed $1.363 million to those affected by the bushfires. The Storehouse was able to donate 420,000 kg of fresh produce to partner organisations and served close to 30,000 people with discounted grocery items to ease the burden during the economic downturn. We became acutely aware of the pain people have experienced through the sin of racism. Our church has sought to be a place that “beckons ‘WELCOME HOME’ to every man, woman and child that walks through the doors” (The Church I Now See). Even though our congregations worldwide are richly diverse communities, we quickly realised there was more we could do to champion racial diversity. As a church, we believe racism is never acceptable on any level or in any form and is a direct affront to the gospel of Jesus Christ. We are committed to a journey of learning and action. Thank you to the highly qualified people who have committed their time to serve on both our Global and Australian Racial Diversity and Inclusion Committees. These commenced in 2020 and have taken important strides in the development of our church’s strategic direction, along with education and awareness as we develop and roll out a comprehensive action plan.

As church services have re-opened, we have heard many stories of people who first watched church online and are now attending one of our locations somewhere around the world. The gospel message transcends all cultures, and we were excited to announce new Hillsong churches being launched in Atlanta-USA, Montevideo-Uruguay, Vienna-Austria and Tokyo-Japan. I would like to thank our Board as we were guided by their wisdom and service again this year. In late 2020, we took steps to address significant leadership issues in our church in New York City. We realised that a very unhealthy culture prevailed which breached the trust and care of our people. Whilst this issue does not directly relate to Australia, several steps are being taken to strengthen our governance and the frameworks which uphold the wellbeing of our staff and congregations around the globe. As a church that continues to grow in its geographical reach, we are committed to the learning and development required to ensure we provide healthy communities where people find hope and answers wherever they find themselves in Hillsong Church. Our church in Australia operates a ‘Safe Church framework’ mandated with “providing safe and secure environments for all people who are a part of Hillsong Church and its community services.” In order for our congregation to be better informed regarding media articles written about our church, we launched the Newsroom. This is a platform where helpful and factual information on various media stories can be accessed. The season of uncertainty our world has faced has shown again the role the Church plays is providing healthy communities of hope and support. The Great Commission compels us to ever be looking outwards. We are as passionate now as we were when we started 37 years ago. We are committed to growing a church that serves in the community, is relevant to people’s today and expectant for all God has planned for tomorrow! Brian & Bobbie Houston Global Senior Pastors Hillsong Church

Like so many churches around the globe, COVID-19 meant we were not able to meet in person and so we gave all our attention to holding worship services online. This opened the opportunity to reach people well beyond our physical locations and will remain a key initiative post the pandemic.

Hillsong Australia Annual Report 2020



MANAGER'S REPORT It is with pleasure that I present to you Hillsong Church Australia’s Annual Report for 2020. This has been a year like no other as individuals and organisations grappled with the challenges presented by a global pandemic. Like so many organisations, our programs and services were significantly affected and our inability to meet in person at church services made things even worse. Our focus shifted from physical activities and programs to online services and heightened pastoral care, as we aimed to provide support and community in such a difficult environment. A key theme of our church is to Love God, Love People, Love Life. Loving People saw its expression through the congregation’s generosity towards those affected by the horrific bushfires that swept our nation, it was also seen in the response to support victims of the catastrophic explosion in Lebanon where over $100,000 was raised and donated. Our desire to Love People has also been at the forefront of the church’s response to racial injustice. As a church we stood in support of the 'End Covid for All' campaign led by Micah Australia. This important initiative recognises that we must be aware and supportive of vulnerable people in disadvantaged communities around the world. Several steps were introduced throughout the year to ensure the church navigated the impact of COVID-19. I would like to express our appreciation for the role the Audit, Risk and Compliance Committee played in regularly reviewing the impact the pandemic imposed on church finances along with overseeing key measures taken throughout the year. Thanks also to the Pandemic Response Team who met weekly to ensure the church followed governmental requirements and that people in Hillsong programs remained safe. Considering the difficulties we all faced, our revenue remained strong enough to meet all the ministry outgoings. Tithes and offerings form the majority of church’s income, and we were encouraged by the congregation's ongoing generosity and support.


Hillsong Australia Annual Report 2020

Other areas of church were more significantly impacted when activities ceased. We were hosting our annual women’s conference, Colour Conference, at the outbreak of the pandemic. We were saddened to postpone both the Hillsong and Worship Conferences scheduled later in the year. The impact of this can be seen in the drop in related expenditure. Close and regular attention was given to the church’s cash flow with austerity measures introduced to offset the interruption in our activities. As a result, our cash position remained stable throughout the year. We entered 2020 without any debt on church facilities, this was a blessing as we did not have the burden of meeting loan repayments in this season. We are ever thankful for the support of our congregation. Their generosity enables our church to effectively reach and care for people and move our church forward. Due to your faithful giving in the years leading up to and including 2020, it has meant we have been able to open a new facility in Highland Park on the Gold Coast, commenced the fit out on a new location in Macquarie Park, Sydney, due to open in early 2021 and purchased the iconic Festival Hall in Melbourne. This incredible venue will continue to serve the City of Melbourne whilst providing much needed church facilities on the weekend. While we are not yet totally free from the challenges forced upon us all by this pandemic, we can look to the future with great hope. Our church has always worked hard to provide a place where people can find hope, love, faith and care; that they would know the fullness of joy that a real relationship with our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ can bring.

George Aghajanian General Manager Hillsong Church


IS THE PENTECOSTAL CHURCH IN AUSTRALIA? Pentecostals belong to a millennia-old belief that the Holy Spirit can be experienced by all regardless of ethnicity, gender, creed, or social class, as an expression of God’s love. Part of the Australian religious landscape for over 150 years, there were reports of gatherings as early as 1853.1 The first enduring Pentecostal denomination was founded by a former Methodist lay preacher, wife, and mother to seven children, Sarah Jane Lancaster. She opened Good News Hall, in 1909, in Melbourne and her circle soon pioneered assemblies across Australia.2 By 1930, 20 of the 37 Pentecostal churches in Australia were established and led by women. They opened schools, medical clinics, missions, soup kitchens, and other social services, often in the tidelands of Australia’s cities. Among early figures were people such as Mary Querro and Sterling Minniecon, some of the first ordained Australian Indigenous ministers. Though small in number, Pentecostals presented innovative futures to mainstream culture. The worldwide renewal of the 1960s and 1970s led to dynamic church growth. In Australia, Pentecostals increased from less than 40,000 people in 1976 to almost 175,000 in 1996.3 Hillsong and other growing churches became models for real world faith, community engagement, and contemporary worship. Between 2006-2016, Australian Pentecostalism grew some 30% despite a broader decline (-4%) in the general Christian population.4 According to the National Church Life Survey over 400,000 Pentecostals attend church weekly, placing them as the largest single Protestant grouping, and second largest Christian grouping, after Catholics. A dynamic, aspirational, and relatively young movement, Pentecostal and charismatic Christians worldwide now number more than half a billion.5 Amid the pandemic, Pentecostals continue to show agility and adaptability in spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ. Rev Prof Denise A. Austin Deputy Vice President Research and Standards Director of the Australasian Pentecostal Studies Centre Alphacrucis College

Hillsong Australia Annual Report 2020



Australia and other Asia Pacific Locations

▼ New campuses Joondalup, WA ▶ New connects Tokyo, Japan

▶ Online campus launched ▼ New campuses Geelong, VIC Launceston, TAS Ku-ring-gai, NSW Sunshine Coast South, QLD Denpasar, Indonesia ▶ New connects Suva, Fiji ▼ New campuses Wollongong, NSW Perth, WA Kuta, Indonesia


Hillsong Australia Annual Report 2020


2016 ▶ Hillsong Channel launched ▼ New campuses Malak, NT Palmerston, NT Surfers Paradise, QLD


2015 ▼ New campuses Brisbane West, QLD Brisbane Downtown, QLD Coomera, QLD Hobart, TAS

2013 2017

▼ New campuses Melbourne East, VIC Melbourne West, VIC Melbourne Greater West, VIC Newcastle, NSW Alexandria, NSW

▼ New campuses Melbourne City, VIC


2011 ▼ New campuses Noosa, QLD Sydney Greater West, NSW

▼ New campuses Brisbane Central, QLD

▼ New campuses Bondi, NSW

▼ New campuses Sydney, South West, NSW Northern Beaches, NSW

1999 ▶ Sydney Christian Life Centre at Waterloo came under the leadership of Brian & Bobbie Houston ▼ New campuses North Shore, NSW Villawood, NSW

1997 ▶ Inaugural Colour Your World Women’s Conference (602 delegates) ▼ New campuses Sydney Inner West, NSW


1996 ▶ Hillsong TV first aired


1988 ▶ Recorded first worship album ▶ Hillsong International Leadership College commenced courses


1987 ▶ Hills Care (which became CityCare) started care programs

1986 ▶ Inaugural Hillsong Conference (150 delegates)

▶ Hills Convention Centre opened by Prime Minister John Howard

▶ We became known as ‘Hillsong Church' ▼ New campuses Macquarie, NSW Merrylands, NSW


1983 ▶ Hills CLC (Hills Campus) held its first service in Baulkham Hills Public School Hall, NSW (with 70 people)


Hillsong Australia Annual Report 2020




Hillsong Bali began in Kuta in 2017. We remained committed to outworking the vision of Hillsong Church in our community in 2020. During the pandemic we were presented with the opportunity to start our first ever online service, translated in Bahasa Indonesia. Through our online services, we have reached more people than ever – not only across the Indonesian islands but also Indonesians who reside in other parts of the world.

Tokyo Connect started with a bilingual weekly service in August 2019. Six months into pioneering we had to stop gathering in-person due to the pandemic. We gathered online for all of 2020 and yet were able to grow our small groups. During 2020 we added a Japanese service and started praise and worship in Japanese. The weekly streaming of overdubbed services in Japanese from the Sydney Hills campus has been a great blessing to Japanese-speaking, Christian communities everywhere. We now have a permanent location in Tokyo and are getting ready to transition to live services as soon as restrictions lift! Creating community and providing support during the pandemic has been crucial as unemployment, anxiety and social isolation have impacted individuals, families and communities in Japan.

In Indonesia, 2.8 million people found themselves unemployed due to the pandemic and associated social restrictions by April 2020. It has been estimated that one out of four Indonesians are vulnerable to unemployment due to the sectors affected most by COVID-19.6 We were able to distribute more than 2,000 hampers to families in our surrounding communities through CityCare projects. Families were overwhelmed by the love they were shown. Eka & Englyn Mutty Hillsong Indonesia Campus Pastors


Hillsong Australia Community Report 2020

Sayaka & Ryo Eguchi Tokyo Connect Pastors

Fiji Fiji Connect started meeting as a small group (connect) in early 2020. Our focus was on building community as we linked into the Sydney Hills campus for services. Like many places around the world, Suva went into lockdown in early April. We continued to gather for church online and with small watch parties when it became possible. During this time, we continued to build our creative team so that we were able to have live worship when we had our first in-person services in July. By the end of 2020 we had grown our small groups from 4 to 11, gathering across Suva City with over 170 regular attendees. Our Kids Church averages more than 28 kids every Sunday. Category 5 Tropical Cycle (TC) Harold hit the Islands in April 2020. Homes and livelihoods were destroyed, and the challenges facing the community were worsened by the devastating impact of the pandemic on the workforce. Fiji Connect provided urgent food supplies to 44 families located on Buliya Island, South of Suva, that had their crops destroyed by TC Harold. At Christmas we delivered 65 hampers to families in the community who were identified as needing extra support. David & Serena Wood Fiji Connect Leaders

Hillsong Australia Annual Report 2020



Global “The church that I see is a global church. I see a global family: One house with many rooms, outworking a unified vision. I see a church apostolic in calling, and visionary in nature; committed to boldly impacting millions for Christ in significant cities and nations throughout the earth with the greatest of all causes – the Cause of our Lord Jesus Christ.”


Tokyo Connect


Hillsong Katu Denpasar


Fiji Connect

The Church I Now See


Hillsong Sydney


Hillsong Australia Annual Report 2020


Hillsong Global Online




Stavanger Sandnes Drammen Egersund Kristiansand Ålesund

Hillsong Amsterdam


Hillsong Oslo

Brussels Connect


Hillsong Copenhagen


Malmö Åarhus

Hillsong London Croydon Guildford Tonbridge Oxford Newcastle Birmingham Liverpool



Hillsong Stockholm Gothenburg Jönköping Örebro


Hillsong Phoenix

Hillsong Toronto

Tucson Connect Las Vegas Connect



Hillsong Moscow

Hillsong Edinburgh


Hillsong Kansas City


Hillsong New York City New Jersey Boston Connecticut



Hillsong Kiev Odessa Connect

Hillsong Porto


Aveiro Algarve Lisbon


Hillsong Budapest


Hillsong Monterrey


Hillsong Barcelona

Hillsong Milan

Madrid Valencia


Rome Connect Naples Connect


Hillsong Los Angeles San Francisco Orange County


Hillsong Paris

Hillsong Konstanz

Lyon Marseille Geneva


Düsseldorf Berlin Munich Cologne

Hillsong Buenos Aires


Hillsong São Paulo


Hillsong Zürich


Hillsong Cape Town

Somerset West Stellenbosch Pretoria Johannesburg Centurion

Hillsong Australia Annual Report 2020


Turning to God in crisis 2020 took most of us completely by surprise. The pandemic halted global travel, threatened the national economy, and devastated many lives. It left many of us questioning priorities and seeking answers. But how should we react to such a disaster? The Chinese written character for “crisis” consists of two other characters: “danger” and “opportunity”. Maybe this gives us a clue? We should recognise the threat but also take the opportunity to help others and seek help from others. None of us is immune to crisis. We all need support. But is there more we can do? Perhaps, we should recognise that God is never surprised, is still in control and is ever present to help. Jesus Christ said, “In this world you will have trouble”, but then added, “In me you may have peace” (John 16:33). Despite the tragedies and losses, there is always comfort, peace and hope available. Crises will come, but they will also pass. They can even leave us stronger. Robert Fergusson Teaching Pastor, Hillsong Church


The significant events of 2020 impacted the lives and livelihoods of everyone in our nation and caused separation from friends and family around the globe. Gatherings we often took for granted in our communities – both to share joy and grief – were forced to take on a new shape with wedding, funeral and hospital visitor numbers all capped by health restrictions. Even in a changed world, Hillsong Church’s mission remained the same: to bring the love and hope of Jesus to all people. Compelled by our mandate to uphold the teachings of Jesus and to be ‘the church’ in times of need, we provided spiritual, emotional and practical support by whatever means we could, mindful it looked really different than in previous years. What we know to be true, is that God works through his people and He sees and responds to those suffering and in need. Despite the hardships of the year, by His grace, we witnessed many miracles. To our church community, we thank you for your steadfastness and your unwavering devotion to Jesus Christ and His Church and your love for each other in this season. As we reflect on 2020, we celebrate your joys, we lament with you and mourn your losses and we continue to keep you in our prayers. We acknowledge both the heartache and resilience of individuals and families during this time. The following stories and testimonies are representative of the highs and lows we as a community experienced during 2020.




Hillsong Australia Annual Report 2020

Our miracle baby story A phone call from a geneticist on a Friday evening threw our world into a spin. Baby Zoe

Our 2020 had started off like a dream – a second honeymoon in Tasmania and finding out shortly after that we were pregnant. Yet weeks later at a scan, we were told that the baby had no heartbeat – we had lost our first baby. A few months later were delighted to get pregnant again, but then one Friday night we got a call with results from a test that had shown up for an extremely rare chromosomal disorder in our next pregnancy. Being so rare, there was great uncertainty about what this meant. A Professor who had studied these rare conditions later explained to me that if the condition is in the baby, the outcomes are very dire, however there was a chance the condition could be confined to the placenta. After many more weeks of painstaking waiting and more tests, we got the encouraging news that the chromosomal disorder looked like it was confined to the placenta - a great relief. However, it wasn’t smooth sailing from there. The compromised placenta led to other concerns, including severe foetal growth restriction where the baby was hardly growing. It seemed that every scan and medical report was filled with uncertainty and it felt like we were on an emotional rollercoaster. Never before had we cared so much about something that we were so powerless to change. We knew God was the only one who could intervene. Day by day (with plenty of tears), we did our best to trust God, to believe that He was able to give us a baby who was alive and fully formed and fully functional with no issues of any kind. Many people were praying.

The pregnancy had other complications – and at 30 weeks pregnant, an ambulance rushed me to hospital in the middle of the night after a critical situation where we weren’t sure if we had lost the baby. After a few attempts, a doctor located the baby’s heartbeat. I was admitted to hospital for the remainder of the pregnancy. The context of this in the midst of the global COVID-19 pandemic, meant there were many restrictions on visitors making the experience more isolating; even my husband was not allowed to come to the scans or many appointments. Just after 34 weeks pregnant, the Professor had determined it was the best chance at delivering the baby. We were totally surrendered to God in this process. We didn’t know what the outcome would be as the procedure to deliver the baby was going to be highly complicated. Yet in early December our baby girl was born – breathing and strong – even though she was just a tiny 1.1 kg. Her first 5.5 weeks were spent in the NICU where she grew and passed every test with no issue of any kind. God had mercy on us, He showed us His incredible kindness. He crowned our 2020 with His goodness. We named our baby girl Zoe, for Zoe means ‘life’. We are forever grateful to God for our miracle girl. Laurie, Claire and Zoe

Beach family story In June 2020, our family faced our greatest challenge when my sister-in-law lost her battle with bowel cancer. A young wife, mum, daughter, sister and aunt, her loss plunged us all into a deep grief. And, as many know, there is much to be done when a loved one dies in terms of funeral arrangements, etc. Plus this was COVID times, with funeral numbers capped to an impossibly low 30 people. Yet, in what will always seem to be a blessing we can never repay, our Hillsong Church family was there for us. Guiding us through decisions and preparations, connecting us with the services we needed, organising a live stream link, funeral booklet, video, musicians and pastors.

On the day, hosts gently welcomed friends and family and escorted them to socially-distanced seating. The live stream allowed others to share the grief and celebrate her life. The video played smoothly. The music was beautiful. The ministry was personal and kind and helpful. It was all as lovely as it could possibly be, given our aching hearts. And the fact that it was any kind of lovely at all, was due to the kindness and care of our Hillsong family. Kylie

Hillsong Australia Annual Report 2020



"I see a church that is constantly innovative: A church that leads the communication of a timeless message through media, film, and technology.” The Church I Now See


Hillsong Australia Annual Report 2020

Church online How we moved church online in 48 hours One of the major shifts in response to COVID-19 was moving church services online. Despite the uncertainty that 2020 brought, Hillsong successfully harnessed technology in order to continue being the Church and caring for people. In January of 2020, the Hillsong Digital team kicked off the year by giving team members the space to work on projects they had a particular desire to cultivate. One developer worked on a project titled ‘Winter’, a potential platform for a church streaming experience. After initial development, a protype was completed and project ‘Winter’ was shelved until further notice. Then COVID-19 hit.

For a process that would normally take months of research, development and design, our team were able to roll out the platform in 48 hours. Our online tool, would keep our congregations, both in Australia and around the globe, connected and cared for in the face of repeated restrictions. While there is nothing like being together in person, online.hillsong.com was able to reflect and incorporate key elements of a physical church gathering such as talking to a pastor, receiving prayer and making a decision for Christ.

By mid-March all schools, businesses, non-essential workplaces and any spaces of public gatherings were required to come to a halt. This included churches. As Hillsong Church locations around the globe faced the reality of not being able to gather in person, the Digital team were poised and ready to bring project ‘Winter’ to the forefront — launching what would become the global online platform for Hillsong Church. The sudden pivot to ‘Church Online’ as the main delivery method for our weekly services and age-group specific programs, meant all church staff had to focus on keeping a strong sense of community whilst not able to physically be together.

Hillsong Australia Annual Report 2020


Moving church online has extended our reach beyond what we could have imagined Within two weeks of church moving online, engagement grew rapidly.


15th of March 2020 weekend prior to COVID-19 restrictions

6,255 people watching live


22nd of March 2020 first weekend with COVID-19 restrictions

493,112 people watching live


29th of March 2020 second weekend with COVID-19 restrictions

786,214 people watching live

Views* across 2020:

4,684 average live views** across weekend services prior to COVID-19

444,127 1.73 average live views across weekend services since COVID-19


views*** for Christmas services



views for Easter services

18,866,193 total live views across 2020 (386,237 across 2019)

* One view is representative of 2-3 individuals on average as a single view can represent one individual or even a whole family or small group ** A live view excludes Video on Demand (VOD) views *** Views are inclusive of live and VOD views


Hillsong Australia Annual Report 2020

Increased faith practices within Australia Research has shown that Australians have been engaging in more faith practices since COVID-19 despite the common belief that “Australians don’t do religion”.7 Through Hillsong Online we saw people engage more, as thousands let us know that they made the decision to follow Christ. At every opportunity, our team endeavoured to encourage individuals and connect them by providing next steps they can take in their faith, along with ways for them to join a church community. In 2020, we recorded 18,676 decisions to follow Christ.

18,676 decisions to follow Christ

“I started attending online church through YouTube and joined a small group that allowed me to grow further and further in my faith. I was looking for a way to volunteer and my small group leader led me to become a part of Hillsong’s online team. The joy I get from being a part of someone’s salvation and healing the same way I was saved and healed is something I will forever be grateful for. I love my Hillsong Church and proud to be a part of witnessing the work that Jesus is doing in people’s lives.” Tia

Church online has global impacts

The future of the church is hybrid

As of 2020, an estimated 4.66 billion people across the planet have access to the internet.8 People from all over the world are able to tune into our online services through YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Hillsong Church Online. Hillsong video content was accessed in 223 countries and territories around the globe in 2020 and Hillsong Australia services have been broadcasted in Bahasa, Mandarin, Japanese, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Korean and Auslan.

The Future of the Church in Australia report9 found that Christian leaders believe church online is here to stay as an addition, rather than a replacement, for gathering together face to face. Although 67% of Australian churchgoers strongly or somewhat agree they have missed the connections that gathering in person provides, many would like to see online services continue. More than half of churchgoers (53%) agree that online church is something they want to keep once we emerge from COVID-19, as a way to engage those who might not come to church otherwise.

An online community from around the world has formed and is a point of connection for so many who can’t be a part of a physical expression of church. A message of faith and the chance to connect with others has reached all corners of the world – whether that be remote towns, urban centres, hospitals or prisons. In 2020, church online had weekly viewership in 160 countries and 33 countries are currently represented in our online small groups. 2020 allowed us to create new ways not only to stream a service, but to create a global community of people who are known, growing in their faith and connected to a healthy community through church online.

Hillsong Australia Annual Report 2020



The Pastoral Care team utilised technology to care for our church community The Hillsong Church Pastoral Care team exists to provide practical and spiritual support and care to our church community, particularly in times of crisis, change and hardship. In 2020 we continued our aim to support people in every season of life. In response to the shifting needs of the church during a tumultuous year, the Pastoral Care team reevaluated their approach. Connections were primarily made

through technology and a team of pastors were available to talk to people live during streamed services over the weekend. The disruption to people’s lives caused by COVID-19 produced a greater volume of pastoral care needs in our church community. The Pastoral Care team extended to actively support those caring for others such as medical professionals and frontline workers.

Relationships 33%


Life skills 28%


Health 19%


Trauma 3%


Mental health 10% Grief/crisis 6%

Additional needs 1%


Hillsong Australia Annual Report 2020

397,785 phone calls made by pastors to congregation members around Australia


prayer requests responded to


Pastoral Care volunteers

Dr. Rebecca Loundar, Clinical Psychologist, hosted 15 lunch time sessions for our staff through the year to talk about wellness and mental health for themselves and others during the pandemic



staff and volunteers trained in Mental Health First Aid

staff and key team members attended Suicide Prevention training

Hillsong Australia Annual Report 2020


May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13, NIV

Helping victims of domestic violence Domestic and Family Violence (DFV) is a major health and welfare issue in our nation.10 It occurs across all ages, socioeconomic, demographic and religious groups. As a church we are doing our part in responding to this challenge. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics 1 in 6 women (1.6 million) aged 18 years and over have experienced violence by a partner since the age of 15.11 We recognise that males are also the subject of DFV and we seek to support anyone who has been impacted. Reports show that COVID-19 brought an increase in the prevalence and severity of domestic violence incidents in Australia.12 Hillsong Church provides support to families impacted by domestic violence including: pastoral support to ensure ongoing contact, food hampers, community referrals to DFV support services and psychologists or counsellors. With careful consideration to each person’s journey, we provide an individualised approach.


Total clients (women & children)

7 months Average length of stay for families


Hillsong Australia Annual Report 2020

Accommodation for victims of domestic violence: Homes of Peace Hillsong CityCare’s ‘Homes of Peace’ is a DFV transitional support program that helps women and their families move forward in life by not only providing a safe undisclosed location to live, but by assisting them to reach the goals they have set out for their lives without violence or the fear of violence. Homes of Peace provides DFV case management and safety planning, enabling families to achieve incredible outcomes as they pursue study, start their careers, improve wellbeing through mental health care plans, enrol their children in child care and schools, obtain independent housing and more.



Number of families

Number of homes


of families exiting the program transitioned into the private rental market

Finding a space to grow through Homes of Peace Clara* was in a domestic and family violence (DFV) relationship with her ex-husband. Although isolated, as her family were overseas, she bravely managed to flee for her life, entering a women’s refuge. She was then assisted to move into the Homes of Peace DFV Transitional Housing Program.

job. Eventually Clara was able to move into her own private rental property. With the assistance of a local DFV charity and Homes of Peace, she moved into a furnished home complete with household items befitting of her culture and background which made her feel truly at home.

During her time at Homes of Peace, Clara was successful in obtaining employment in a professional role in her field of work. She maintained regular counselling sessions and met with her case worker to work on her goals. She also reached significant milestones including obtaining her Australian open driver’s license and purchasing a car.

Working through incredible adversity, Clara thrived and her tenacity shines through as she continues to re-establish her life. Clara is now happy and content in her home and most importantly feels safe and secure. *name changed to protect client’s safety

Clara demonstrated strength and resilience during her time at Homes of Peace after losing her job due to COVID-19. She was not discouraged by this and continued to apply for work and through her determination she was able to find another

Hillsong Australia Annual Report 2020


Children Hillsong Kids provides an environment for children to flourish Early developmental years are crucial to establishing foundations for children’s future wellbeing.13 Hillsong Kids is passionate about fostering a safe and positive environment for children to encounter Jesus, make friends and build a

strong sense of personal value. We believe that in 2020 this was outworked through annual events, weekly (live) online programs, small group (KDGs) discussions and technology platforms such as the Hillsong Kids App.

Hillsong Kids weekly online services


Whilst unable to host in-person services due to social distancing restrictions, Hillsong Kids hosted the following weekly online services.

8 26

live services

Hillsong Australia Annual Report 2020

online services for kids from Friday night to Sunday night


pre-recorded Auslan service


pre-recorded early childhood service


replayed services



average total views each weekend


total views across the Easter weekend

In person


views on YouTube for Kidsfest Online 2020 and 561 kids in Kidsfest virtual rooms


virtual small groups connected every Sunday across Australia


children in-person registrations for Summer Camp across Australia in January 2020


adult leaders for Summer Camp 2020

Making the most of opportunities to connect with kids throughout 2020 Hillsong Kids kicked off 2020 with our annual Summercamp events across Australia. These camps mark the start of the year with connections between peers, confidence building activities and mentorship from leaders. We did not know how important these gatherings would be in the lives of young people as they navigated the year ahead. Hillsong Kids shifted to live, online interactive and ageappropriate church services across weekends. These biblebased services included over 70 break-out ‘Zoom rooms’ each weekend for small group discussion. ‘Sunday Night Games’ also streamed simultaneously with evening services – these fun, online challenges built comradery between teams. The Hillsong Kids team also pre-recorded a service with Auslan interpretations. To keep children involved in the leadership aspects of programs, once it was safe to do so, they were welcomed into the studio to be part of the production and delivery of the services – whether in front of the camera or behind the scenes. During longer lockdowns in Melbourne the ‘Hillsong Kids Recess’ initiative created opportunities for midweek connection between children. The Hillsong Kids App was an important platform developed by the team to communicate with parents and carers, enabling them to access the curriculum and associated resources, including activity sheets and discussion points. The app has become an essential place for parents and carers to access services, information and support. The Hillsong Families Facebook group was relaunched to encourage and connect with young families who may have felt isolated.

The Hillsong Kids team organised mail outs on special occasions such as birthdays and Easter. Kidsfest, held in the spring school holidays, was a live virtual event in 2020. With lots of children involved on the day, Kidsfest was streamed from the Hills Campus with central gatherings and break-out rooms with options tailored to kids’ interests including cooking, safe online gaming and craft. Online Safety for our children and families continue to be of paramount importance especially with the change in how programs were delivered. We worked in conjunction with Safe Church (see page 36) who provided leaders with further training and guidelines for safe online interactions that maintain transparency and protect children’s safety. Every Sunday morning at 9:30am, my 8-year-old excitedly logs on to his Kids Discipleship Group. For more than five months now, his leaders have held the captivated attention of a handful of young boys for half an hour with games, an unpacking of scripture and prayer. This morning I sat on the wings and listened to them pray intently for their families, their school friends and for their parents to give in to their petitions for new dogs and new video games. And every week, [my son] leaves feeling like a superhero from the interaction and encouragement. So this is a message of gratitude...from a mama who has seen the difference you are making in his heart and our home. Shout out to all the kids’ leaders rocking this COVID season... thank you for creating space for our little ones to make friends and discover Jesus for themselves, even from a distance. Karalee, Mum of 3

Hillsong Australia Annual Report 2020



AND YOUNG ADULTS As a church, we are committed to seeing the next generation thrive and have a sense of hope and expectation about their future. The 2020 Mission Australia Youth Survey14 highlighted young people nationally are mainly concerned about equity and discrimination, the impacts of COVID-19 and mental health. In 2020, even with restrictions, it was important that our Youth and Young Adult programs continued to address these issues.

Hillsong Youth pioneered new initiatives

The move to online weekly youth programs facilitated the opportunity for young people to engage with their faith community. This community extended beyond Australia as many young people from around the world joined each week, prompting the translation of Hillsong Youth Online into multiple languages.

In 2020 Hillsong Youth’s annual Summercamps were held amidst the threat of devastating bushfires across the nation – even causing the NSW team to move camps to the Hills Campus two weeks out. Witnessing so much devastation

‘Top Tips with Dr. Bec’, was a series developed with clinical psychologist, Dr Rebecca Loundar focusing on practical tips designed to improve teenagers’ mental health during isolation and to reinforce the importance of a healthy mindset.




youth and young adult registrations across Australia for High School Summer Camp and Young Adults Summerfest

online registrations for Encounterfest during the spring holidays

total Hillsong Youth YouTube views across 2020 with subscribers in 112 countries

2,298 registrations for Young Leaders Lab


across our nation created a lot of anxiety for our high school students, enhancing the need to facilitate a safe and fun environment for them to receive the Word of God, gather in worship and create life-long memories with their friends.

Hillsong Australia Annual Report 2020


‘Top Tips with Dr. Bec’ videos were produced

Hillsong Youth small groups (RDGs) continued to meet online during lockdowns providing faith-based teachings, mentoring, support and much-needed connection. We are aware of the importance of youth leaders in the students’ lives, and to this end we facilitated weekly leaders meetings via the leaders online platform. We provided leadership development and covered a range of topics from safety training to personal wellbeing. ‘Young Leaders Podcast’ and ‘Young Leaders Lab’ were adapted to an online audience to train and equip youth and young adult leaders covering professional development, leadership training, mental health and wellbeing. We were privileged to have Global Diversity and Inclusion Strategist, Fadzi Whande as a guest speaker who brought insight and training to leaders on the importance of equity and inclusion. Youth and young adult leaders around the world registered and who we were able to train them with practical leadership and skills pertinent to being a part of youth ministry. The Secret Garden TV continued to provide a digital space, encouraging young women with positive messages focusing on mental health and wellbeing. The team aimed to be purposeful in releasing content that was sensitive and helpful to the current climate. To continue investing in the young adults in our community throughout 2020, we developed new programs and opportunities for young people to grow and find a sense of belonging.

As a young kid I never did well in school, too distracted. In fact, I spent more time in the Guidance Counsellor’s office than I did in the classroom! It wasn’t that I thought I wasn’t capable, it was just that I had a lot of stuff going on. Like lots of young people I struggled heaps and positioned myself around people that were a negative influence in my life. This was the way it was until I was 23. Driving down a road in Darwin I noticed the massive sign on the side of a building that said, “Jesus Hope for Humanity”. I had so much on the inside of me but no direction, no hope for my future so I decided to see what this “hope” was all about. I’ve been a part of Hillsong Darwin for about six years now, I have found myself here, found what I am good at, what I am called to and found people that believe in me. College was something that was always in the back of my mind, I just never really acted on that thought. In 2020 I was offered a scholarship to Hillsong College. What a journey the Cert 4 in Leadership has been! The incredible teaching has activated something in me and man, it has also been a challenge but I love it so much. This has given me the opportunity to devote a year to grow spiritually, personally and as a leader. I am seeing the bigger picture and what God has for me on the other side of this year. Now I’m positioned around people who have elevated me, empowered me and have significantly impacted my life. They made a way for me, now I get to make a way for others. My dream is to work in schools as a chaplain reaching out to kids just like me! Chris Proud Birri Gubba Juru and Wiradjuri man Volunteer Youth Leader at Hillsong Palmerston in Darwin, NT

▶ ‘The Neighbourhood’ was a Young Adults online program developed in 2020 which saw many people get connected to community during an isolated season. Industry professionals joined sessions upskilling young people in every sphere of life. ▶ ‘The Neighbourhood Podcast’ was launched to engage young adults in relevant and thought-provoking conversations including theology, financial management, racial equity, resilience and social justice. ▶ Powerhouse Job Network was developed to support and encourage young adults in our community who had lost jobs. We also connected 47 young adults with new jobs over the year. ▶ The Young Adults community launched four new Bible Plans through YouVersion to invest in people’s spiritual lives which had over 74,000 unique subscriptions.

Hillsong Australia Annual Report 2020




Promoting an inclusive community Hillsong has always been a church where every individual can find their place. We seek to provide individuals with additional needs and their families a place where they feel welcome and connected. During the isolation of COVID-19, as families struggled with the lack of structure and routine for their children with additional needs, our Treasure Chest team created a fun and engaging special program for children and teens with a puppet show, worship songs and Bible stories. During school holidays, the team provided a similar online Treasure Chest program for Kidsfest which also included craft activities to do at home. For the young adults with disabilities, the team started regular online video chats each Sunday to keep them in routine and to help them stay connected.


Hillsong Australia Annual Report 2020

Support was provided to family members through regular texts, calls, and online groups. Understanding the strain put on families of individuals with disabilities, our Pastoral Care team arranged for our 130 families who are a part of Treasure Chest to receive a special gift. Additionally, given that Night School classes had moved online during lockdowns, and therefore eliminating the need to organise care of their children, we invited families to attend classes at no charge.

Providing support to children with additional needs and their families was a priority for us as we understand the unique challenges they faced during the pandemic. From the start of the pandemic, family members and younger people with a disability faced many challenges as a result of the pandemic.15 These include:

A decline in mental health

Cancellation of support services

Unable to purchase essential supplies required for their additional needs

Increased uncertainty

When I was four years old my parents started Treasure Chest for me and other children like me who have additional needs. It wasn't a fancy set up but it was a safe place where the lights were low, the helpers were kind and the puzzles were challenging. I attended the program for ten years. When I turned 18, my sister Eden encouraged me to join the Treasure Chest family as a volunteer. She was persistent and I nervously completed the necessary training. The church offered me overwhelming support to become a volunteer and I am the first Treasure Chest alumni to join the program on the other side. I understand more than most the challenges the children and young adults in our program face. Lights, sounds and sensitivities firstly but then the general inability to fit in, be understood and at times the unresolved confusion that equates to daily life. Treasure Chest is a sanctuary. There are no expectations or demands that need to be met. The program embraces children and young adults just as they are. As a child, Treasure Chest was a thoroughly enjoyable destination every Sunday. As an adult it is a privilege for me to return as a volunteer. I see my insights as unique and I am very good at sitting with a child and creating calm by saying nothing. Sometimes my input is valuable nothing. I am now completing my Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) and look forward to welcoming many new families to Treasure Chest. It really is a great place. Josiah

Hillsong Australia Annual Report 2020




Sisterhood continued to support the needs of women Sisterhood is a community of women who seek to support and encourage each other in every season of life. When Sisterhood was unable to continue meeting due to COVID-19 restrictions, the team all contributed to make sure the women of Hillsong remained connected through church online. During lockdown, routines were disrupted, and families needed to find their new normal. No matter what challenges women faced in adjusting to the unfamiliar, we wanted to ensure our community was supported.

Sisterhood locations responded to the needs of the community in a variety of ways:

During the weeks Sisterhood could not gather in person, we gathered online across the world, connecting over Instagram Live sessions on Thursday mornings. From taking care of your mental health to home learning and the numerous challenges faced by women in all walks of life, our Co-Global Senior Pastor, Bobbie Houston, created a vulnerable space for women to gather and be encouraged in their faith and through community.

▶ Supporting local women’s refuges with food, supplies and connection

▶ Honouring and supporting local women through Thursday morning virtual meetings, from frontline health workers to those starting new businesses ▶ Dropping off packs to parents & caregivers who were supporting kids with home learning

▶ In some locations, women and families have opened their homes to foster children from the area ▶ Delivering hampers to single mums in need and doing it tough with job losses ▶ Sent wrapped gifts with personalised notes to nursing homes across Australia for the Mother’s Day Tea and Biscuits campaign.

Avid Sisterhood knitters kept busy by knitting gifts for different hospitals, organisations and charities


Teddy Bears to the Children’s Hospital at Westmead and Samaritan’s Purse


Hillsong Australia Annual Report 2020


Headbands to the oncology ward for the little girls who lost their hair through cancer treatment

Last year in June 2020, my husband, John, had a major, catastrophic stroke and our world changed overnight…I will be forever thankful for the church but especially the girls from Sisterhood. There were girls that wouldn't let me go to the hospital on my own, providing comfort and understanding and prayer. One of them scribing for me as doctors gave information that I couldn't take in. One organised a food train with girls turning up at my door every day for two weeks with enough food to feed an army. Phone calls every morning to talk to me until I could get out of bed. The church praying and sending messages of comfort. I had never experienced anything like it before. This is what has kept me going through all these long months as John is now in Aged Care. The Church in action became a very real lifeline for me.

As a Colour Sisterhood, we sought to respond together to support those communities devastated by the Australian bushfires. Through our conference’s Local Impact donations, we were able to contribute the following to schools in New South Wales and Victoria that were severely damaged in the fires:


new, age-appropriate children’s books donated



Colour Conference Colour Conference 2020 was our 24th annual women's conference. Like years before, we gathered women from across the world in March. The conference, which places value on womanhood, embraces humanity and engages all generations, was planned months in advance to provide an online conference that would enable the inclusion of many more women with the message of empowerment. Colour Conference 2020 had:

19,517 registrations

Cash and gift card donations

Equipped to understand, act and support Domestic Violence and Endometriosis are two very different and yet important issues that impact the lives of women of all ages. ‘My Sister’s Keeper’ was a bystander education initiative at Colour Conference 2020. Through an expo stand and the Colour Conference App women were encouraged to be more equipped; to learn about these important issues, to know where to go to for help and how best to come alongside those who may need support. All relevant information addressing these topics came from engagement with 1800RESPECT and a not-for-profit organisation supporting women with endometriosis and we directed women to the available resources and expertise found within these organisations.

14,721 in person attendees

4,796 online attendees

62 countries represented

Hillsong Australia Annual Report 2020


Creative Hillsong Church has a deep desire to cultivate a thriving creative community16 – who use their gifts and talents to help people lift their eyes heavenward. The ability for people to gather and worship together in song is an integral part of each church service. When lockdown restrictions were enforced, the team had less than a week to prepare for worship through new online platforms. In 2020, the creative team sought to bring fresh and innovative ways to worship in online services each week. Utilising both local and global teams and adapting with changing restrictions, we endeavoured to bring authentic worship to people in their lounge rooms. Our set and stage team who usually create around four installs a year for our services created over 50 sets during the year for online services. Without in-person gatherings, the opportunity was taken by the Creative Technology teams to attend to some much-needed renovations in locations across Australia – so they would be ready to welcome back congregations when restrictions eased.


Hillsong Australia Annual Report 2020

Weekly ‘Team Nights’ which brought together teams from around Australia for leadership input, training and masterclasses were moved online. We learned new ways to worship, wrote new songs which reflected biblical truth in the midst of a tumultuous year and supported online church service production. The silver lining to this online reality was that our teams overseas and all our Australian campuses were able to join in and access team training and enjoy community with like-minded people. With hundreds of people involved in creative teams across Australia on a weekly basis, keeping connection and ensuring our community were being looked after during isolation, was a major challenge. We built a Connections App for staying in touch with our people, with staff and volunteers within our team making over 35,000 calls to individuals during 2020. The Hillsong Creative podcast which had been a resource for the global church, transitioned to a daily Micropod to encourage the creative community. There were over a million downloads over the year and many encouraging testimonies.

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:24-25, NIV

The Christmas Spectacular, which usually welcomes tens of thousands of people from the community to experience the wonder of Christmas, was reimagined online and reached more people than ever. Amplified Arts Academy at Hillsong, which provides training in dance, drama, acrobatics, music and vocals to students aged 2 to 18, shifted their classes and private lessons to an online format. As a result, the team were able to provide support to families of children learning from home and allowed students to continue to develop their craft. For many, the arts are an outlet for creative expression, but for others it is their livelihood. While this has been such a challenging time for many people, it has also brought about great innovation. To tell these stories and inspire others in their creative endeavors, we created and launched a magazine titled ‘Artists Still Live Here’. The first issue included the stories from our creative community such as David who recorded a new album of hymns that have resounded in moments of grief around the world, of Kaz who published a children’s book through the eyes of her son recently diagnosed with Autism, Rochelle who started a beauty brand and Aaron who reimagined his wedding and events business during a pandemic.

Early 2020 I moved to Brisbane from South Africa to study Aviation Science. Having found a sense of belonging at my local church back home, I sought to join the creative team at Hillsong Brisbane Central. The day of my audition happened to be their last in-person service for several months. Throughout lockdown I, like many other creatives, was able to throw myself into the rhythms of online church life. Thanks to my previous lighting experience, I was able to volunteer my time helping the lighting design team with online church service filming sessions. Through volunteering and virtual team gatherings I found community and connected with like-minded creatives. As restrictions lifted our team was able to start rehearsals and when Hillsong Brisbane was able to open their doors again for the first in-person service in almost a year, I was there. From behind my keyboard, I was able to lead what was now my Hillsong Church family in worship. Joel

Our goal, for 2021 and beyond, is that the explosion of creativity will set a new standard that lifts and increases our reach into communities and places yet to hear the good news of Jesus Christ, be that in remote communities or Hollywood.

Hillsong Australia Annual Report 2020



The Safe Church Office supports the church in creating safe and secure environments, in compliance with relevant legislation, for all people who are part of Hillsong Church and its community services.

2 new courses developed to address COVID-19 safety


staff and volunteers completed COVID-19 online safety training


staff and volunteers completed online training in child safety


working with children applications for Hillsong staff, volunteers and students were processed


Hillsong Australia Annual Report 2020

Safe Church responded rapidly to the fastchanging COVID-19 environment Right from the start of COVID-19, the Safe Church Office responded quickly to keep Hillsong Church staff, volunteers, students and congregation members safe. COVID-19 online safety training was developed for Hillsong managers and their teams, including staff and volunteers, based on information provided by Safe Work Australia. A pandemic response team was formed and a ‘positive case’ response was developed to protect staff and volunteers. We provided online training and guides to support ‘essential workers’ at Hillsong as restrictions continued to change. Safety solutions were provided by the Safe Church Office for the CityCare food relief program. In the second half of the year when more activities were able to go ahead face to face, we provided a national plan for returning to onsite operations, conducted COVID-19 safety meetings with operations teams and liaised between Hillsong and national and state governments. On top of this, we created and rolled out our national approach to COVID-19 safety for 2021.

Keeping children and young people safe is a top priority

Leading child safety for churches across Australia

Seasons of increased online activity pose a heightened risk to the safety of children and young people. Facilitating online programs has been one way of providing a necessary forum for children and young people to share their experiences of the COVID-19 pandemic in a safe and welcoming environment. In doing this, we have sought to ensure that online programs are run in a safe way and that risks relating to online environments are managed. Leaders were provided with further training and guidelines for safe online interactions that maintain transparency and protect children’s safety. Resources were produced for parents, carers, children and young people about safe online interactions for children. These were made available through the website and Hillsong Kids Parents App.

The Safe Church Office provided external reporting to the National Office for Child Safety responding to the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. The NSW Office of the Children’s Guardian (NSW OCG) sought input from Hillsong and other churches in developing the resource ‘Implementing the Child Safe Standards: A Guide for FaithBased Organisations’. Hillsong contributed examples of how we implement the various standards which have been used in the guide. We acknowledge the great work that NSW OCG is doing in this area and the level of support they have provided to Hillsong and to religious organisations generally.

Hillsong Australia Annual Report 2020


Language AND CULTURAL COMMUNITIES Providing space for all people and cultures Hillsong has been blessed with a diverse group of people who consider Hillsong to be their church home. People from various nations, cultural backgrounds and ethnicities find a sense of belonging within a community brought together through the message and worship of Jesus. Within the greater Hillsong community smaller communities have formed around common culture and language. These include people from Africa, Brazil, China, The Philippines, India, Indonesia, Korea, Sri Lanka, Spain and Latin America, Malaysia, Pacific Islands, Persia, Portugal, Singapore, and Thailand amongst others. These groups allow for a space in which God-given linguistic and cultural diversity can be celebrated and where people can be ministered to in an environment in which they feel connected.


Hillsong Australia Annual Report 2020

Individuals who are part of these communities were hit especially hard by the isolation that resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and the nation-wide shutdown in March. Many of these communities found themselves separated from family and unable to travel to their country of origin. These communities were able to continue providing community with the help of technology. Small groups gathered virtually throughout the year and as government regulations eased, they were able to return to gathering in-person, in accordance with government regulations. Translations were also provided for online church services, small group studies and Hillsong blogs and devotionals.

2020 highlighted the need for us all to stand against racism As an Indonesian who grew up in Australia, assimilating to white culture has always been second nature to me. The goal throughout my childhood was to be as “normal” as possible so not to threaten or scare my white neighbour with my differences. It has been a long journey and process learning to love and embrace my culture, heritage and who I am as a half Indonesian, half Chinese Australian. As COVID-19 slowly crept into Australia in early 2020 and the world looked to China, and in turn all Asian people, for stopping the world and ruining their lives and freedom, I found myself going back into protective “assimilate” mode doing everything I could to ensure that no one blamed me for the virus. I followed COVID-19 protocols to a T, doing everything I could to say, “hey I’m on your side, I’m not like them.” Despite my efforts in self-protection, I could not stop the destructive impact Asian hate had on my beloved community. As Asian racism bled into the worldwide community, the younger generation of Asians, many of whom grew up as a second-generation immigrant like me, took it upon ourselves to speak out on and protest the hate our community experienced. It did not take long to realise that I, the “assimilated Asian”, was not their target; rather it was my mum, dad, aunties, uncles, and grandparents who were receiving the brunt of the racism. Because of fear, their restaurants were slowly going out of business. They were getting kicked out of elevators, public transport, and restaurants, and they experienced appalling acts of violence on the streets.

Sadly, Asian racism is not unique to COVID-19. Though the numbers have certainly increased during the pandemic, the Asian community deal with racism on a daily basis. As I reflect on the lives of my elders; many of whom have moved to Australia to provide a better life for their children, I am inspired by their courage in the face of racism. Though many choose to stay silent through the hate, I am writing to tell you not to mistake their silence for timidity. Do not mistake their silence for weakness. For to me, their silence reflects their resilience. Their silence is perseverance. And their silence signifies strength. So, to all my Asian elders I honour you. I thank you for all your sacrifices. We, the next generation stand with you and will continue to fight with you against racism, not just for our community, but also for our black and brown brothers and sisters. As a Christian community we must unite and hold on to hope. As Christ loves us, we must love one another. In Christ we are one. So, with Jesus at the helm, as our strength and hope we must continue to run the race and fight against inequality. Rheynita Limanta Master of Arts Graduate, Hillsong College Class of 2019

Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow. Isaiah 1:17, NIV

Hillsong Australia Annual Report 2020




“I see a church that is big enough to dream on a global scale, yet personal enough for every ONE to find their place. I see a church that beckons ‘WELCOME HOME’ to every man, woman and child that walks through the doors.” The Church I Now See


Hillsong Australia Annual Report 2020

Our commitment to racial equity Amongst the tumult of the global pandemic in 2020, many lives were also impacted by racial injustices around the globe. On the 6th of June, Pastor Brian Houston wrote an open letter to Hillsong Church responding to the devastating and senseless deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, as well as the broader conversation around racial injustice in our world. In this letter Pastor Brian expressed his own willingness to learn, the commitment of the church to actively fight against racism and facilitate change and encouraged the church to lift their eyes to the God of all hope, peace and comfort. Hillsong Church is and has always been a church that celebrates diversity, abhors injustice and welcomes all. We wholeheartedly condemn the sin of racism, both implicit and explicit – the very nature of racism is an affront to the gospel and there is zero tolerance for it in our church or culture. In his letter, Pastor Brian says “I realise that our policies, actions and commitments moving forward will look different in each local context. As a church founded in Australia, it is imperative that we also hear the plight of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and seek further reconciliation and understanding.”

▶ Interviews and panel conversations with Pastor William Dumas, TD Jakes, Pete & Laura Toggs and Fadzi Whande ▶ Engagement of local First Nations Peoples businesses (via the engagement of two First Nations consultancy businesses) ▶ Hillsong College hosted “round table” conversations to help staff and students where experiences were shared along with vision for the future ▶ Youth Online hosted a discussion on racial equity during June 2020 as part of a service titled “A Necessary Conversation” “Over 2,000 years ago Jesus Christ paid the ultimate sacrifice so that we could be set free from sin and death. He didn’t do this for any specific group of people, but for all humankind. In God’s eyes every one of us, irrespective of colour, was made in His image. What a beautiful thought – that we are all valued and loved by God equally. This is why I believe so passionately in His Church.” Brian Houston – An OPEN Letter to Hillsong Church

Hillsong Church remains committed to improving education of staff, volunteers and the wider church through training and policies: ▶ Established Global Racial Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee (Announced in Aug 2020) ▶ Established Australia Racial Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee (July 2020) ▶ Formed the Hillsong Australia Reconciliation Action Plan Committee (Oct 2020) ▶ Hosted compulsory Aboriginal Cultural Competency Training for all staff with Pastors William Dumas & Benny Eggmolesse (Aug 2020) ▶ Hosted Compulsory Racial Equity Training for all staff with Fadzi Whande (Sep 2020) ▶ Recognition and celebration of NAIDOC week 2020 and Reconciliation Week (via blogs posted on Hillsong Collected and in various ways as part of local weekend services) ▶ One-on-one support and education sessions offered to all staff with Pastor William Dumas

Hillsong Australia Annual Report 2020


Community "Yes, the church that I see is committed to bringing the love and hope of Christ to impossible situations through the preaching of the gospel and a mandate that drives us to do all we can to bring help and solution to a needy world. Whose head is Jesus, whose help is the Holy Spirit and whose focus is the Great Commission.” The Church I Now See


Hillsong Australia Annual Report 2020

CityCare 2020 was a challenging year for all Australians as we faced bushfires in January and February and a global pandemic in the months that followed. With new restrictions in place, lockdowns and closed borders, many of the things we took for granted, such as going to the shops or seeing loved ones in person, were no longer a part of our daily lives. Many Australians faced social isolation, job losses and food insecurity as the flow on effects of the pandemic started to take shape. We believe that this is a time for the Church to stand up and take action, meeting the needs of the hurting and creating pathways for those of us who are able to help. As with many other organisations, CityCare responded in the first few weeks of the pandemic to provide emergency relief for those people who were not able to access savings or government support or who simply fell through the cracks. As we are primarily funded by our church, we were able to continue to support our community throughout the year. Our staff and volunteers met needs as they arose and quickly shifted gears to respond to the unfolding crisis. Although this pandemic pivoted our crisis response to food relief, in the recovery phase everything that we know about the community and how to work with vulnerable groups is still true and needed more than ever. Crisis exacerbates vulnerability. If people were vulnerable before the pandemic, they would be increasingly vulnerable during it and will also take longer to recover. The pandemic didn’t change CityCare’s mission, it was only amplified. Our mission is even more important today than ever. Catherine Thambiratnam Head of Social Justice, Hillsong Australia

Hillsong Australia Annual Report 2020


Supporting youth CityCare Youth programs provide a range of school-based activities which include Youth COACH mentoring, Safe Spaces – involving sport, breakfast clubs and after-school hangouts, as well as facilitating ShineGirl and Strength personal development classes. With restrictions in place during the pandemic, we were presented with the challenge to come up with innovative ways to continue to support these schools and their students. In discussion with teachers, we learnt that one of their key needs was provision of non-perishable food items to help vulnerable students attending school who didn’t have anything to eat. Prior to the pandemic, statistics from Foodbank had shown that at least one in five children in Australia go to school without breakfast17 and the pandemic had exacerbated this issue. We made deliveries of food hampers and school pantry items to many of the local high schools. It has provided great relief to the teachers who witness first-hand the impact this crisis is having on affected students and their families. Funding from NSW Department of Communities and Justice In 2020 we received $158,203 from The NSW Department of Communities and Justice to fund two youth workers to run programs for students in the local government areas of Blacktown and Baulkham Hills. In March, when all programs had to close due to COVID and in consultation, we pivoted those youth workers to support our emergency relief program in these local government areas until programs were allowed back into schools towards the end of 2020.

Children & Families Our Village Project building healthy communities While many programs paused in 2020, we made significant progress in the development and planning of a new initiative; ‘Our Village Project'. This is at the heart of CityCare’s Children and Families Program – with the recognition children need families and families need community. We want to encourage more people to consider opening their homes to children in Out-Of-Home Care and ensure that those who do are well supported within healthy community. Content development, stakeholder collaboration and operational plans were developed in 2020 and we are excited to see the launch of this in Melbourne in 2021.


Hillsong Australia Annual Report 2020

Global appeal for the Australian bushfire victim relief The bushfires which started in September 2019 and lasted for four months were a crisis not witnessed before in modern Australian history. An estimated 12 million hectares had been burned, lives had been lost, thousands of homes destroyed, and communities ravaged. Hillsong Church launched an appeal, and within a few weeks received a total of AUD $1.363 million which was given to trusted organisations working to support devastated communities*. These funds facilitated both short-term emergency relief and long-term rebuilding efforts for the many communities that have been devastated by the fires. * These funds were distributed through the Hillsong Foundation to allow for taxdeductable receipts

The funds were distributed through the Hillsong Foundation to the following organisations For more information please read the Hillsong's Global Bushfire Appeal Update on Hillsong Collected.


Organisation’s use of funds

Amount donated

The Salvation Army18

Supporting those in the immediate aftermath of disaster and long-term recovery and rebuild, ongoing financial aid and emotional relief.


National Fire Services19

Contribution was distributed evenly across the four states most affected by fires including: NSW Rural Fire Service families of deceased firefighters, Queensland Rural Fire Service fund, South Australian Country Fire Service volunteers and Volunteer Firefighter Welfare Fund.


Foodbank NSW20

Hillsong’s contribution enabled Foodbank to quickly supply an estimated $1.2 million worth of food and essential supplies to residents of communities in the South Coast of NSW as well as ongoing support to these communities.



Support to rural landowners, helping rebuild fences and other structures that had been damaged or destroyed.




Hillsong Australia Annual Report 2020


Providing food relief to the vulnerable During the pandemic, CityCare focused on providing emergency food relief across the country, sourcing and packing bags of food to be delivered to homes in COVID-safe ways through partners or directly to individuals in the community. A partnership evolved between CityCare and the Gold Coast Convention and Events Centre (GCCEC), Foodbank QLD and the Gold Coast Council Disaster Management Committee. Through our community network, a food supply chain between 13 welfare agencies and churches were provided with meals every week for five months. This partnership saw an estimated 60,000 meals distributed to individuals and families in the Gold Coast facing crisis and hardship during the year. Through partnerships with local agencies, CityCare and Storehouse distributed food to some of our most vulnerable Gold Coast residents, including women’s refuges. Our church facilities in Coomera became a CityCare “emergency room” food relief centre. From here we were able to bring food relief to struggling families, many of whom had

never found themselves in need of help before. The church Pastoral Care team identified families who were facing food shortages, allowing our team to deliver hampers to their doorsteps. Throughout 2020, our Coomera location had the capacity to pack, store, deliver and act as a distribution centre for agencies around the Gold Coast. Food relief was provided throughout the pandemic, as well as through the Kilo of Christmas initiative. Christmas 2020 was always going to be hard for many Australians and especially the vulnerable in our communities. Despite being limited to online giving and not being able to meet in person as a church, we were determined to be able to reach more people than ever with our Christmas hampers. We prepared 7,159 food hampers with enough ingredients in them to make over 40 individual meals plus lots of fun treats that families might not be able to add to the table this year. This enabled us to assist 35% more vulnerable families than we did in 2019.

COVID-19 Food Relief

13,932 hampers

353,095 meals

Kilo of Christmas


hampers (5,294 hampers in 2019)


Hillsong Australia Annual Report 2020

286,360 meals

Total meals provided in 2020


The Storehouse Upper Coomera QLD

West Footscray VIC

According to the Foodbank Hunger Report, demand for food relief has increased as a result of the pandemic. Those who were already food insecure became even more vulnerable, while another 28% experienced food insecurity for the first time.22 The Storehouse is a social enterprise committed to providing goodquality, affordable grocery and fresh food items to people in local communities who may struggle with food insecurity. In 2020, The Storehouse has been a beacon of hope to many individuals and families who have struggled due to COVID-19. The Storehouse exists to reduce food insecurity in local communities, providing practical assistance with no strings attached. As a social enterprise, The Storehouse generates an income, which is then fed back into the community for continued support of vulnerable people. It also has an emergency relief arm which assists people who are in need of emergency food supplies and supports other local charities supporting thousands of other families in need. John Sparey Head of Social Enterprise

Partnering to serve the community During the pandemic, the need from local charities increased significantly. Many were looking to close their doors due to lack of donations coming in as well as increased need. The Storehouse was able to partner with local charities to serve the needs of the local community. Throughout 2020, one of our main charity partners, Fareshare, distributed over 3 million meals to families in need. We were able to play a significant role in this by donating around 20,000 kg of fresh vegetables each month.

420,000 kg

of fresh produce donated by The Storehouse to partner organisations.

Working with The Storehouse to rescue food that would otherwise go to landfill and then being able to cook that produce into free, nutritious meals in FareShare’s Abbotsford kitchen shows how working together can help feed more people in need in our communities. Toni Hetherington Director of Fareshare

We are so grateful for Empower Australia’s partnership with Hillsong’s Storehouse throughout 2020 and beyond. They have been fantastic in the way that they have provided us food, which has gone directly to our 5 Food Relief Centres across Victoria. We've had the privilege of serving our community together in a tangible and impacting way, to make a great difference in our city. Pastor Neil Smith CEO of Empower Australia

Hillsong Australia Annual Report 2020


Supporting Lifeblood In 2020, we encouraged our church community to support Australian Red Cross Lifeblood through life-giving blood and plasma donations. These are vital and the need for blood is ongoing to treat serious illnesses and accidents. In fact, 31,000 blood donations are needed every week to help meet demand – that’s one every 24 seconds. We look forward to growing awareness of the great work of Lifeblood in the years to come. To learn more please read our blog or contact Lifeblood at www.lifeblood.com.au

In between jobs Responding to the growing unemployment needs Many Australians lost their jobs as a result of the pandemic, with the unemployment rate peaking at 7.5% in July 2020.23 As stories were shared of individuals and families who suddenly found themselves without employment and financial security, Hillsong was able to respond to this need through the In Between Jobs ministry. Weekly prayer meetings and support groups were held at each campus to keep up a constant flow of communication and encouragement for those looking for work. Overall, the program was able to support 1,999 people across Australia. Additionally, where needed, we were able to provide food hampers to individuals and families during difficult times. 2020 was a challenging year job hunting especially on the back of a career break due to illness. The church was super supportive. The weekly prayer calls, texts of encouragement were so helpful. Church offering the free course was a standout. Thanks to Jesus and His Church, I secured a new role late in the year. Dean


Hillsong Australia Annual Report 2020

Hillsong Night School New courses to meet community needs During the pandemic, not only were Australians required to work from home but students across the country had to quickly adapt to learning online. Like other education providers, Hillsong Night School (HNS) had to shift to deliver an online experience to its students. Weekly classes continued to provide a true sense of belonging, even online, as HNS delivered transformational teaching and engaging application sessions. With 20-plus courses on offer each term, over four terms, covering diverse topics including Bible theology, leadership, creative and life streams, we stayed committed to equipping people for life and their purpose. Not only did HNS adapt to a different learning environment, but it also introduced new courses to meet the community’s needs. As many people were faced with unemployment, HNS responded to offer a free course How to Find the Right Job in or after a Crisis. Several hundred people enrolled in the course from across Australia and beyond, resulting in many success stories. One student said, “Prior to the course, I did not think I could actually secure a job at a big firm and lacked confidence. I followed the interview preparation techniques taught in the class and landed a job with one of Australia’s biggest FMCG firms.” Another course that has been successful is Financial Peace University. It highlights the intricacies of putting finances in order, helping families and communities to be in a better financial position. A participant who took the course stated, “The course changed my life. I was able to pay off my debts in 14 months and create an emergency fund. During the pandemic, I was made redundant and what I learnt on the course helped me weather the storm.”

2,678 enrolments



increase in enrolments across 2020 compared to 2019

courses offered across the year

Hillsong Australia Annual Report 2020


Global REACH

Hillsong Channel* Hillsong Channel impacting lives In 2020 Hillsong Channel remained committed to beaming the life-giving and transformative message of Jesus Christ into homes all across the world. As churches across the globe found themselves unable to gather in the midst of COVID-19 restrictions, the Channel’s Christ-centred  programming resonated with more people than ever before, with viewership on our digital platforms increasing by 32% in the first few months of COVID-19. We have since received a steady flow of testimonies from people expressing heartfelt thanks for our presence on the airwaves, with many individuals even confiding that the Channel represented their sole point of connection into church during this season.  In March, when the world went into lockdown, I found Hillsong Channel and often recorded messages on my DVR…I came to realise; I’ll never fulfil my purpose if I isolate myself from people. It was a game changer. The Channel has helped me regain my footing in Christ and God has restored everything that was lost.

One of the Channel’s most exciting endeavours is a new program entitled Touch of Heaven which focuses on ministering to individuals by addressing specific issues such as anxiety, fear, healing and restoration. During 2020, 26 episodes of Touch of Heaven were filmed, with many people seeing breakthrough in their lives as a result. As Hillsong Channel casts its gaze to the new year and beyond, we regularly remind ourselves that behind this growing opportunity, are individuals and households. And as our team send off each episode for broadcast, not knowing the lives that they will impact on the other side, our prayer is that our programming will bring the hope of Jesus to those who need it most.  ▶ Overall average audience increase of 9% over the course of the year ▶ Available to 160 million homes in 174 countries

Shannon ▶ Viewership on our digital platforms increased by 32% in the first few months of COVID-19 *Hillsong Channel operates through Hillsong's global legal entities which are governed by the Hillsong Global Board and are not part of the financial results included in this report. Even so we have featured the Channel in this report due to the presence of activities in Australia.


Hillsong Australia Annual Report 2020

▶ Hillsong Channel YouTube had over 3.5 million views with an excess of 54,000 subscribers signing up

The Hillsong Foundation The Hillsong Foundation provides our congregation with the opportunity to reach and support communities both at home in Australia and globally. This charitable foundation allows us to partner with like-minded, non-profit organisations to bring care and justice to vulnerable groups and enables our vision for new church facilities within Australia to become a reality. Even in the midst of the considerable challenges of 2020, the people of Hillsong Church continued to be incredibly generous, motivated by the words and examples of Christ. For many years, the words ‘we can’t do everything, but we must do something’ have resonated with people in our church community. Whether Kingdom Builders; people whose passion and ministry are to finance the work of the church, or those who call this church home and have a steadfast conviction

and heart to give what they can to the ongoing mission of the church – all giving is equally sacrificial and valued and we are deeply humbled by the church’s generosity. We were encouraged by the ongoing generosity of our congregation who donated $21.9 million towards Hillsong Foundation initiatives. A breakdown on how these funds were invested is shown below. The Hillsong Foundation trust receives and distributes all taxdeductible donations, whereas Hillsong Church receives and distributes non tax-deductible giving. The trust results are over and above the financial reports in the Annual Report. These are available for public viewing on the ACNC website.

Hillsong Foundation Income Allocation 49% Australian Facilities 22% Global & Local Benevolent Activities 16% Media & Arts 10% Missions & Church Planting 3%

Fundraising & Accountability Costs

87% Taxable Revenue 13% Non Taxable Revenue

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35, NIV

Hillsong Australia Annual Report 2020


Local initiatives (home) Capital Projects - “Imagine when we can gather again...” Transitioning church to an online platform has inspired new pathways for the message of Jesus to reach people in ways we never expected or imagined. During social distancing restrictions, we looked towards the future with anticipation for when our buildings would open again. We looked forward to when the lost and isolated, the rejoicing and the mourning, the young and the old, and the newly-found ones would walk under the words “welcome home” and find community in the House of God. The Future of the Church in Australia report, produced by McCrindle in 2020, found that Christian leaders believe church buildings are key in creating a place to call home and equipping the church to serve its local community. The facilities and design of our church buildings are important in helping to make our large church feel small and welcoming, while also equipping us to support and serve our local communities. Thanks to the accumulative generosity of our congregation over many years, in 2020 we were able to undertake the refurbishment of the leased buildings which are home to our Gold Coast and Macquarie campuses. We were also thrilled to announce that, following extensive negotiations throughout 2019, we were able to purchase the historic Festival Hall in Melbourne. Initially opened in 1915, Festival Hall was rebuilt after a destructive fire in time for the 1956 Olympics. It has since become a key venue for the Victorian music industry, featuring the likes of the Beatles, Frank Sinatra, and Bob Dylan. In 2018


Hillsong Australia Annual Report 2020

the site gained permanent heritage protection. In addition to being the home of our Hillsong Church services in Melbourne, we are pleased that the building will remain open for community functions and events. CityCare - “Creating healthy families and safe, inclusive communities for vulnerable groups, empowering them to lead and impact in every sphere of life.” One of the key reasons that CityCare was able to keep delivering emergency food relief to vulnerable individuals and families within our community and assist our partner organisations during 2020 was due to the generosity of our church community through giving to the Hillsong Foundation. For information about CityCare’s involvement with youth, children & families and vulnerable women through Homes of Peace see pages 24-25.

Partner Initiatives (neighbours) Through the Hillsong Foundation, Hillsong Church is committed to loving our neighbours from immediate emergency relief and crisis response through to long-term recovery and development. Our long-term partnerships and programs with organisations with proven track records and expertise in their fields have enabled us as a church to support those most impacted through crisis, conflict and extreme poverty: the vulnerable.

ONE80TC - “Restoring hope and rebuilding families” For over two decades we have partnered with ONE80TC, rescuing lives from the devastating effects of alcohol and drug addiction. Following the incredible impact of ONE80TC’s first women’s centre in Kurmond — part of our Heart for the House giving in 2018 — we will now support ONE80TC as they take new ground and work towards opening a new site that will provide services to both women and children. With a heart to reach as many people in need as possible, ONE80TC has recently lifted their program age limit from 18-35 to 18-60. They are working towards increasing their service offering by over 100 per cent and have incorporated greater clinical governance in their service offerings to clients. The life-changing impact of freedom ONE80TC has had on individuals, families and the countless generations to come is without measure. For more information about our international aid and development partnerships, see pages 54-57.

Arriving in Australia as political refugees in 1988, Mariana and Jose found salvation after a friend invited them to a local church in Sydney. “We came to God as broken people, as does everyone. No one comes to God perfect. We are all missing something and that something is Jesus.” Mariana started bringing her youngest son to youth services at Hillsong in 2006. Today, their family considers Hillsong Church home and enjoy attending and volunteering at the Hills Campus in Sydney. Mariana has always had a heart for justice and sought ways to help people. She remembers Pastor Brian’s series on using what it in your hand, prompting her to look at what she already had to see how she would be able to help others. At the time, Mariana and Jose were in debt due to the closing of their business. They were in debt for many years working hard to pay it off. Mariana remembers another Sunday morning message about facing your giant. “My giant at the time was the bills piling up at home. I didn’t want to open any more mail because I knew it would be another bill. That day I went home and faced my giant. I opened all the mail and wrote down what we owed, what we earned, and we came up with a plan to pay it all back.” While making daily decisions to live by biblical principles, including giving prayerfully into the lives of others, Mariana and Jose have time and time again seen God’s faithfulness. Mariana has since been able to go back to university to complete her nursing degree, they have been able to sponsor a Compassion child, and they saw significant breakthrough in their daughter's life. Mariana remembers their first Heart for the House offering being a small amount, but they chose to continue to give generously to the Hillsong Foundation throughout the years. Mariana & Jose

Hillsong Australia Annual Report 2020


Global Aid and Development Your voice is helping to end COVID for all As much as COVID-19 and the resulting economic impacts have been devastating to the Australian economy, the impact on nations in the majority world* has been even greater. When we closed schools in Australia, the option for online learning was available for most children affected. In the majority world, when schools were closed, kids were put into highly vulnerable situations and many of them, especially girls, will never come back to school. When Australians were required to work from home, there were savings and safety nets available from the government for the majority of people in Australia. In the majority world, closing down a sector of the economy means that the most vulnerable don't eat that day, or that week. Crisis always exacerbates vulnerabilities, and in the case of COVID-19, the impact on the communities that we partner with around the world has been devastating, whether that is an increased loss of life from the disease itself or the economic impact. All of our major partners have had to deal with the crisis on top of existing vulnerabilities within their target communities and have had to readjust to provide crisis relief to those people relying on them. The real challenge though is not 2020, but what happens in the next five years when they try to regain those losses in school attendance, in girls being rescued from trafficking, in community resilience and empowerment.


Hillsong Australia Annual Report 2020

One of the great things that we were able to do, along with supporting all our partners through this year, is to get behind the End COVID For All campaign, because we are very aware that it doesn't end for any of us until it ends for all of us. Since starting our campaign – with the help of Hillsong and a coalition of over 200 other organisations including health institutions, NGOs, unions, schools, business and churches – over 24,000 people have joined our call to #EndCOVIDForAll... I encourage you to remember that the church does not exist just for self-maintenance. We exist for the benefit of the poor, the marginalised and the vulnerable. The task of ‘Ending COVID for All’ will take every sector working together, and will need the collective Church raising its voice to cast a vision that goes beyond all of our borders. Thank you Hillsong as always, for being willing to lead the way in this. Tim Costello Director of Ethical Voice Pty Ltd Executive Director of Micah Australia Senior Fellow of Centre for Public Christianity

*The term majority world is a relatively new term to describe the countries who hold the majority of the world’s population – usually outside of the West.

Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2, NIV

Emergency and disaster response: Beirut Appeal On the 4th of August 2020, a catastrophic explosion ripped through Beirut, the port city and capital of Lebanon. The devastation was immense, with over 100 people killed and the injured numbering over 5,000. An estimated 300,000 people were forced from their homes due to the widespread destruction. This explosion has had a crippling effect on a country that is already on the brink of economic collapse and unspeakable hardship.

Here at World Vision Australia we deeply appreciate that Hillsong as a church continues to demonstrate the generosity of God's people by responding to the needs of the broken and disadvantaged in situations like this. We pray that through this work, people will find some comfort, and a pathway to recovery after this terrible time. Your support makes our mission possible. Graham Strong World Vision Australia, Chief of Field Impact

At the time of this disaster, 50% of the population were living below the poverty line and the health system was struggling with rising COVID-19 cases. Lebanon imports 80% of its food and the explosion significantly damaged the key grain silo. For a country whose pound value has dropped by 40% and already struggling with food shortages, this had a huge impact on the millions of people unable to put food on the table in the weeks and months after the explosion. Our church partnered with World Vision Australia and Preemptive Love Coalition who were among the first agencies on the ground, providing emergency assistance, food, clean drinking water and emergency shelter. ▶ AUD $106,310 donated to World Vision Australia ▶ USD $12,790 donated to Preemptive Love Coalition

Hillsong Australia Annual Report 2020


Vision Rescue - “Freeing children from exploitation by engaging and sustaining them in education, empowering them to make good life decisions that promote intergenerational transformation.” 2020 caused a shift in focus for Vision Rescue from primarily educating children to meeting the desperate need for food for survival in the slum communities of India in which they work during the pandemic. Even with emergency relief becoming a central activity at this time, they did not waver in their core mission, to bring educational pathways to children in vulnerable communities. At the beginning of the pandemic, Vision Rescue staff began feeding 17 families. By October they had gifted groceries and cooked food for 1 million meals to people in impoverished communities in India. I sell vegetables on the pavement for a living. We are a family of four and my son studies with Vision Rescue. Our situation became quite serious during the lockdown. With everything shut down, what vegetables will I sell to whom? We were able to survive for a few days, but after that I could see no way forward. We decided to try and return to our hometown. That’s when the first batch of Vision Rescue’s rations reached us. We survived on that for 15 days, and then again, we got another batch from Vision Rescue. We cancelled our decision to go home. My child’s teacher is supporting him a lot on the mobile. They send activities to do at home. We want to stay here so that our children can continue their education. Akhilesh – Kalwa slum community


Hillsong Australia Annual Report 2020

Hillsong Africa Foundation - “Building lives that build a nation” Hillsong Africa Foundation had a great momentum at the beginning of 2020 in all of their programs and then, like many community-based organisations around the world, things ground to a halt when COVID-19 struck. When restrictions came into place, their major focus shifted to food security, distribution and relief, partnering with other organisations to support vulnerable communities. Since the start of the lockdown on 26th of March 2020, they have been able to assist over 380 community stakeholders with food in partnership with local organisations by distributing:

A21 - “Abolish slavery everywhere, forever” A21 is committed to abolish slavery and have expanded their efforts to 14 countries since 2008. They seek “To see a world where women are no longer sold for sex. Where men are no longer sold for labor. Where children are no longer taken from their families and exploited.”24 The agility of the A21 frontline teams was remarkable during the pandemic; finding creative ways to continue core programs including A21 hotlines, Child Advocacy Centres (CACs), aftercare programs, as well as leveraging online opportunities to promote prevention, awareness, and educational resources. Highlights from 2020 ▶ Their Primary Prevention Program launched in English, Thai, Khmer


food parcels

▶ 1,246 reached through awareness programs ▶ 44 survivors supported for rehabilitation ▶ They assisted in 7 police rescue operations



▶ In partnership with Thailand’s Office of the Basic Education Commission (OBEC) they have nationallevel opportunities to run Primary Prevention Program with school psychologists, present on A21 programs to teachers/students and speak to the directors of curriculum support and head of education across every region

3,388L of sanitiser


masks (both cloth and surgical)

This has supported more than



Hillsong Australia Annual Report 2020


Hillsong College “I see a church with a world-class college that raises, equips, and empowers generations of young, anointed leaders from across the globe. Graduates who serve God in all walks of life, released to salt the earth with dynamic ministries and churches throughout the continents of the world.” The Church I Now See


Hillsong Australia Annual Report 2020

Campuses ▶ Online

Courses ▼ Vocational Training Program

▶ Australia

▶ Certificate IV


▶ Diploma

▶ Africa (coming soon)

▶ Advanced Diploma ▼ Degree Programs ▶ Bachelor of Theology (B.Th.) ▶ Master of Arts (M. A.) ▶ Master of Theology (M.Th.)

Committed to supporting students

New learning options launched

Hillsong College* equips and empowers students in leadership, Biblical studies and practical ministry, setting them up for a life of purpose and impact. The disruption that COVID-19 brought to educational institutions was significant. Despite this disruption, Hillsong College has continued to provide students with quality teaching and community through online classes. Within two weeks of the lockdown commencing, classes went online and throughout the year, trainers received ongoing training on how to deliver a world-class teaching experience virtually. Several international students returned home at the beginning of lockdown but were able to continue attending classes online. Staff stayed in touch with them via online platforms.

Online Vocational Training Program In July of 2020 we launched our Pastoral Leadership and Worship Music vocational courses online for the first time in our history. With over 30 years of development at the heart of Hillsong Church, these flexible courses were designed to equip and empower students to lead lives of impact by enabling them to access and apply quality learning and education in their local context. Hillsong College Masterclasses Also, in July, we continued to increase our online learning options and launched HC Masterclasses. These unaccredited courses are accessible on demand and included topics such as songwriting, preaching and theology.

In 2020, Hillsong College had its first ever online graduation. A total of 392 students graduated, with 335 attending onsite and another 57 attending virtually. This compares to 474 students graduating on campus in 2019.

*Hillsong College operates through Hillsong's global legal entities which are governed by the Hillsong Global Board and are not part of the financial results included in this report. Even so we have featured Hillsong College in this report due to the presence of activities in Australia.

Hillsong Australia Annual Report 2020


Higher Education at Hillsong College Since 2018 Hillsong College, through academic partnership with Alphacrucis College, has offered research units in its B.Th., M.A. and M.Th. awards. The research committee has developed a strong research culture at Hillsong College, with students undertaking a variety of different size research projects to explore areas directly relevant to their interests. Over 2020, 22 major research projects were completed as part of student M.A. or M.Th. programs. Alongside our faculty publications, students during COVID continued to present at conferences and write peer-reviewed articles from their projects to share their knowledge with the world. My name is Mikenzie and I am a proud Wiradjuri woman. I have studied at Hillsong College for 5 years, completing my Bachelor of Theology. These years have been life defining, as I have grown in my understanding of God, His Word, and His people. Throughout this season God has taken me on a journey of discovering my purpose and identity in Christ as the Aboriginal woman He created me to be. This has been empowering and releasing in so many ways. I firmly believe that the future of the Church will be stronger, healthier, more beautiful, wise and potent as we Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples continue to rise and take our place in the Kingdom of God. Mikenzie, Australia Advanced Diploma & Bachelor of Theology Alumni (2020 Graduate) Masters of Theology student


Hillsong Australia Annual Report 2020

"These years have been life defining, as I have grown in my understanding of God, His Word, and His people."

Pastoral Care for students Early on in the pandemic, many people living and working in Australia experienced negative employment changes such as reduced hours, reduced pay or losing their jobs altogether.25 A number of Hillsong College students also faced these challenges, making it difficult to afford rent and food. Fortunately, Hillsong College was able to support students during this time by providing rental and tuition assistance to 19 students, equating to a total of approximately $48,000 in rent reductions being granted to different properties and students throughout College Accommodation. In partnering with CityCare and other donors, Hillsong College was also able to provide 85 students with food gift cards and hampers. Accreditation Information Hillsong College is a member of the Independent Tertiary Education Council Australia (ITECA) which is a group of tertiary education providers who are committed to supporting their students with the best quality education. ITECA provides membership to small training organisations through to large non-government universities who all work together to seek common goals of leadership, professionalism and quality education, in the private sector of tertiary education. By working with ITECA we are able to access additional professional development, network with other education providers, stay informed of key changes within the education sector and gain access to government stakeholders and regulators in relation to the direction of our business. ITECA was key in assisting with changes during the COVID-19 restrictions and where leniency needed to be applied for business survival.

Hillsong Australia Annual Report 2020


Hillsong Leadership Network Equipping pastors to flourish Hillsong Leadership Network equips pastors and leaders to flourish, serving local communities all over the world.

▶ Partnered globally with 500 churches and 54,323 leaders (+6% growth from 2019).

Through the Leadership Network, we are able to serve leaders and churches from across the Church globally. Members of the Network come from various denominations, styles, ages, locations, cultural groups, languages and sizes and we support them to fulfill their potential. The goal of all our resources is to empower other churches and their leaders to catch the culture and learn from the leadership insights of our various Hillsong rooms and voices.

▶ Hosted our second ‘Taste of Israel’ Tour for 28 Senior Pastors from around the world.

The call to build the Church is not an easy one, and in many contexts the discouragement and isolation that church leaders face is all too familiar. Therefore in an extraordinarily challenging year, it has been an enormous privilege to intentionally speak courage and hope into our friends and partners in the gospel. The restrictions we faced this year with the global pandemic forced us to innovate and in doing so expanded our reach and impact exponentially, some highlights from 2020 include:


Hillsong Australia Annual Report 2020

▶ 4,017 leaders received weekly 'Preaching Tip’ emails from Robert Fergusson (Teaching Pastor). ▶ Launched an online preaching course, 'Reach & Influence'. This valuable resource has over nine hours of training from key members of our platform team. In 2020 alone this resource was used to train 903 leaders from 63 countries. ▶ Launched a podcast specifically for Members providing a ‘front row seat’ to the best of Hillsong's Staff Meeting messages from across our global campuses. Through this convenient on demand feed, we are able to invite leaders everywhere into the very ‘heart and soul’ of our leadership culture.

"I see a church graced with layers of ‘once-in-a-generation’ type leaders – who are naturally gifted, spiritually potent and genuinely humble. Leaders who will pay the price and count the cost of impacting cities and nations with great, God-glorifying churches." The Church I Now See

For many years now Hillsong Leadership Network has been a vital community and powerful catalyst as I have led a multiplying local church. The Leadership Network has connected me with leaders who share the same heart and passion for gospel ministry and growth, who have in turn encouraged and strengthened me in my leadership. The team at Hillsong have never failed in their generosity of spirit and open-handedness in sharing their hard-won wisdom through resources, events and a myriad of conversations. I am a better and more fruitful leader because of the Hillsong Leadership Network. Rev. Stu Cameron Wesley Mission CEO and Superintendent Minister

Wisdom builds the house, and the Hillsong Leadership Network is a treasure chest for revealing the how, what and why behind a healthy church - we are better because we connected to it. When we joined we found an incredible generosity with relationships, encouragement and the practical tools not only for us as pastors but for every leader in any department of our church. The more we’ve leaned in, the more we’ve learned and the more we’ve fallen in love with what God is doing in and through the church called Hillsong. Daniel & Paulina Life Church, Bangkok, Thailand

Hillsong Australia Annual Report 2020


Hillsong Music & Resources* The church that I see is a worshipping church whose songs reflect such a passion for Christ that others sense His magnificence and power. A distinct sound that emanates from a healthy church, contagious in spirit – creating music that resounds from villages and tribes to great cities and nations. The Church I Now See

*Hillsong Music & Recourses operates through Hillsong's global legal entities which are governed by the Hillsong Global Board and are not part of the financial results included in this report. Even so we have featured the Hillsong Music & Recourses in this report due to the presence of activities in Australia.


Hillsong Australia Annual Report 2020

Pursuing the creation and dissemination of our praise and worship music, curriculum resources, books and teaching has been fundamental to reaching and influencing the world and empowering people to lead and impact in every sphere of life. 2020 was a year full of opportunity and challenge. With the transition from traditional church services to online during the COVID-19 pandemic, it became apparent many churches needed additional resources for the online environment. Throughout this time, we offered churches music resources at no cost, including online streaming of content, for use in their services. We also helped other churches navigate the content challenges that were resultant of the pandemic. This included hosting webinars and creating and sending resources around the world. Recognising that the individuals using Hillsong content were in varying situations of needing mental health and situational support, we worked together with digital service platforms to playlist music that took these issues into consideration. The overarching reach of Hillsong content was evidenced in over 12 billion minutes watched on YouTube. This included many different countries in many different languages, truly reaching from villages and tribes to great cities and nations. In 2020, we released translations of our songs in 12 languages, including Spanish, French, Thai, Bahasa Indonesia and more. From these languages, 55 new recordings were released last year. We have a sense of purpose to reach and influence the world, and over the years we have endeavoured to serve the greater global church so individuals and churches can worship in their own language.

In addition to music, our Hillsong Kids Curriculum was made available in Spanish, creating another incredible opportunity to reach Spanish-speaking children through this resource in numerous churches and community groups. In recognition of the requirements of teaching children with additional needs (see page 30 for more information about Treasure Chest), a version of the curriculum was released which teaches about God in a specialised way. In 2020, HMR published ‘Are You Getting This?’ a resource from Robert Fergusson, the Hillsong Teaching Pastor. This is a valuable resource for teachers, preachers and storytellers alike. While I was in the hospital, I received a distressing phone call from my sister: ‘It’s mom,’ she said. ‘She’s had a fall. She hit her head and broke her ankle.’ I felt so helpless. Because I was bedridden and mom lived in a different state, I couldn’t go and see her. Two weeks later, my mom died. Her death hit me hard. Mom was my best friend and we talked on the phone every day. On the day of her funeral, I sat in my rehab room and cried all day. I didn’t want to eat. I didn’t want to go to therapy. I couldn’t talk to anyone. I just shut down. In my depressive state, I started watching Christian videos on my tablet. One night, a song popped up on my feed; it was Matt Crocker singing ‘I Surrender.’ I had never heard of Matt or Hillsong— but by the time he was done with the song, I was bawling. Through a blur of tears, I cried out to God ‘I can’t do this by myself anymore. You have to help me.’ Although I was a Christian, I was backslidden and angry with God. I recall watching that clip over and over, every day, for weeks. The song brought me back to Christ. Joy, USA



minutes watched on YouTube

song recordings released in 12 languages


Hillsong Australia Annual Report 2020


Financials AND GOVERNANCE Our Sources of Revenue


73% Donations




Service & Events

Venue Hire Income

1% Care Programs

How proceeds are spent 50%

Programs and Operations


Pastoral Care, Kids and Youth


Worship, Creativity and Events


Missions and Outreach Corporate Services


Hillsong Australia Annual Report 2020


Ernst & Young 200 George Street Sydney NSW 2000 Australia GPO Box 2646 Sydney NSW 2001

Tel: +61 2 9248 5555 Fax: +61 2 9248 5959 ey.com/au

Report of the Independent Auditor on the Summary Financial Report Opinion The summary financial report, which comprise the statement of financial position as at 31 December 2020, the statement of comprehensive income, statement of changes in equity and statement of cash flows for the year then ended, and related notes, are derived from the audited financial report of The Activities of Hillsong Church Australia (Hillsong Church Australia) for the year ended 31 December 2020. In our opinion, the information reported in the summary financial report is consistent, in all material respects, with the combined financial report from which it was derived.

Basis for Opinion We conducted our audit in accordance with Australian Auditing Standards. Our responsibilities under those standards are further described in the Auditor's Responsibilities for the Audit of the Summary Financial Report section of our report. We are independent of Hillsong Church Australia in accordance with the ethical requirements of the Accounting Professional and Ethical Standards Board’s APES 110 Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants (the Code) that are relevant to our audit of the concise financial report in Australia. We have also fulfilled our other ethical responsibilities in accordance with the Code. We believe that the audit evidence we have obtained is sufficient and appropriate to provide a basis for our opinion.

Summary Financial Report The summary financial report does not contain all the disclosures required by Australian Accounting Standards. Reading the summary financial report and the auditor’s report thereon, therefore, is not a substitute for reading the audited combined financial report and the auditor’s report thereon.

The Financial Report and Our Report Thereon We expressed an unmodified audit opinion on the audited financial report in our report dated 25 May 2021.

Emphasis of Matter - Basis of Accounting Our auditor’s report on Hillsong Church Australia’s audited Financial Report for the year ended 31 December 2020 draws attention to Note 2 of the financial report which describes the basis of accounting. That financial report has been prepared for the purpose of fulfilling the directors’ financial reporting responsibilities to the members. As a result the audited financial report may not be suitable for another purpose. Our opinion is not modified in respect of this matter. A member firm of Ernst & Young Global Limited Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation

Hillsong Australia Annual Report 2020


Responsibility of the Directors for the Summary Financial Report The directors of each of the related entities comprising Hillsong Church Australia (the ‘common directors’) are responsible for the preparation and presentation of the summarised financial report in accordance with accounting policies described in Note 1 to the summarised financial report.

Auditor's Responsibilities for the Audit of the Summary Financial Report Our responsibility is to express an opinion on whether the summary financial report is consistent, in all material respects, with the audited financial report based on our procedures, which were conducted in accordance with Auditing Standard ASA 810 Engagements to Report on Summary Financial Statements.

Ernst & Young

Anthony Jones Partner Sydney 25 May 2021

A member firm of Ernst & Young Global Limited Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation


Hillsong Australia Annual Report 2020

Statement of Comprehensive Income For the year ended 31 December 2020

2020 ($)

2019 ($)











Surplus from operations



Financial expense, net



Net surplus available for church and ministry projects







Common control reserve ($)

Retained surplus ($)

Total ($)













Balance at 31 December 2020




Balance at 1 January 2019




Transfer of assets




Related party debt forgiveness










Total revenue Church and other benevolent activities Resources Conferences Other expenses

Other comprehensive income Total comprehensive income for the period

Statement of Changes in Equity For the year ended 31 December 2020

Balance at 1 January 2020 Related party debt forgiveness Total comprehensive income for the period Transfer of reserve

Total comprehensive income for the period Balance at 31 December 2019

Hillsong Australia Annual Report 2020


Statement of Financial Position For the year ended 31 December 2020

Current assets

2020 ($)

2019 ($)

Cash and cash equivalents



Trade and other receivables









Other receivables



Property, plant and equipment



Total non-current assets








Lease liabilities



Employee benefits



Other payables





Other payables



Lease liabilities





Total non-current liabilities








Common control reserve



Retained surplus





Inventories Other assets Total current assets

Non-current assets

Current liabilities Trade and other payables

Total current liabilities

Non-current liabilities

Employee benefits


Accumulated funds



Hillsong Australia Annual Report 2020

Statement of Cash Flows For the year ended 31 December 2020

Cash flow from operating activities

2020 ($)

2019 ($)

Cash receipts in the course of operations



















Repayments from related parties



Loans from related parties











Cash and cash equivalents at the beginning of year



Cash and cash equivalents at the end of year



Cash payments to suppliers and employees Interest received Interest paid Net cash provided by operating activities

Cash flow from investing activities Payments for property, plant and equipment Proceeds from sale of asset Net cash used in investing activities

Cash flow from financing activities Loans to related parties

Repayments to related parties Payments of lease liabilities Net cash used in financing activities

Net increase in cash and cash equivalents

Hillsong Australia Annual Report 2020


Board Brian Houston Hon. DMin. (Honoris Causa), Dip. Min. & Bib. St. Chairperson Board Member since 1988

Brian is a credentialed minister of religion and a devoted pastor. Together alongside his wife, Bobbie, he is the founder and Global Senior Pastor of Hillsong Church. In 1983, Pastors Brian and Bobbie planted what was then known as Hills Christian Life Centre. What began in a local school hall with 70 people on the fringe of Sydney, has since grown to become a global movement with campuses in 30 countries across six continents. Brian resigned from the Board and as Chairperson, effective 17 August 2021. Brian remains the Global Senior Pastor. Meeting attendance Board:

George Aghajanian GAICD, B. Sc Company Secretary Board Member since 1996

George has been the General Manager of Hillsong Church for over 25 years. Prior to joining Hillsong Church, he gained extensive experience in management, customer service, sales, and marketing in the private sector. He possesses a wealth of senior management experience, working with both Australian and international organisations and brings a strong balance of faith and practical business application to his role. Meeting attendance Board: Audit Committee:


Hillsong Australia Annual Report 2020

Dane Gambrill

Phillip Denton



Board Member since 2008

Board Member since 2010

Dane has enjoyed a career predominantly in Information Technology that spans 19 years in Operations, Sales, Marketing, and Product/Offering Management roles. He has several technical and business-related qualifications that include a number of executive programs that were led by professors of Harvard Business School and University of Toronto, and has recently graduated from the Australian Institute of Company Directors (GAICD). Dane also chairs Hillsong’s IT Advisory Committee, and for many years was the Pastor of our Northern Beaches campus.

Phillip is an Executive Director of Hillscorp, a property development company. With his 28 years of experience in the industry, he offers business acumen and facilities development expertise to the Board. Meeting attendance Board: Audit Committee: Aus Remuneration Committee:

Meeting attendance Board:

Don Cooper-Williams

Melinda Dwight



Board Member since 1993

Board Member since 2016

Don is the founder of AltoPoint Consulting. With over 40 years of experience in executive management within the IT industry, Don offers a wealth of experience in business leadership, church leadership, corporate governance, and growth strategy to corporations.

Melinda serves as the National Director of Alpha Australia, and is actively involved in several faith-based organisations championing leadership, justice and faith. Melinda has been a credentialed minister of religion with the ACC for over thirty years and previously served as Senior Pastor of a thriving church network active in church planning. For many years she served on the ACC State Executive, the board of ACCI World Missions and Youth Alive. She is a regular Communicator in churches, conferences, justice forums and leadership gatherings.

Meeting attendance Board: Audit Committee: Aus Remuneration Committee:

Meeting attendance Board:

Hillsong Australia Annual Report 2020


Nabi Saleh

Grant Thomson

B. Sc. PCM

MAICD, MA, MBA, SSM Cert. (Harvard), LLB (Hons.) (Cand.), Grad. Cert. Man., Dip. APMA, OMC

Board Member since 1990 Board Member since 2008

Nabi is the former Executive Chairman of Gloria Jean’s Coffees worldwide and Executive Chairman of Praise International USA, which operates It’s a Grind Coffee Houses. His drive, passion and belief in people, coupled with his strong business acumen and Godly wisdom, has enabled him to continue to sit on several boards for large, non-profit organisations. Meeting attendance Board: Audit Committee: Aus Remuneration Committee:

Grant is the Bible Society Australia CEO. In addition to its extensive global translation and mission work, Bible Society Australia owns and operates Koorong, Eternity News, Centre for Public Christianity and Acorn Publishing. He is a credentialed minister of religion and was previously the Global Marketing Director and Hills Campus Pastor at Hillsong. Grant resigned from the Board, effective 29th March 2021. We greatly appreciate his contribution to the Board and are thankful he remains a valuable member of the congregation. Meeting attendance Board: Audit Committee:


Peter Toganivalu

Amanda Tay

MAICD, Dip. Min


Board Member since 2017

Board Member since 2019

Peter and his wife, Laura, are Global Pastors of Hillsong Young & Free. Peter is a credentialed minister of religion and is passionate about seeing young people rise up across the earth, finding their God-given identity and calling in knowing Jesus Christ. Peter is a visionary, dynamic communicator, and a creative leader.

Amanda is an experienced banking executive with over nineteen years in the finance industry. Amanda offers expertise in senior leadership, business acumen, risk management and leading transformation. She has a passion for developing people and has championed and chaired multiple women’s events, both locally and internationally.

Meeting attendance Board:

Meeting attendance Board: Aus Remuneration Committee:

Hillsong Australia Annual Report 2020

Governance While Hillsong Church is one church, there are many legal entities that operate the various programs offered. These individual entities have been established for various reasons, which include legislative requirement, tax status distinction and resource allocation. Each of these legal entities have their own unique purpose and requirements. These requirements include such things as who they are accountable to and how they are governed.


Board Composition

The primary responsibility of the Board of Directors is governance. The governance regime is outworked within three principle activities, which are compliance, assurance and risk management.

The Board draws on the skills and experience of both executive and non-executive members. The majority of whom are nonexecutive.


Board Remuneration

The Board is responsible for adherence to all compliance requirements of the church. The scope of this compliance goes beyond financial reporting. The breadth of compliance ranges from matters relating to employment, WH&S, commercial contracts, funding covenants, medical, child protection and building regulations.

As outlined in the church Constitution, ‘no director shall receive remuneration in respect to his duties as a Director of the church.’ Remuneration received by Executive Directors is in respect of their executive duties. There is no relationship between the packages received by Executive Directors and the church’s financial performance and no equity-based remuneration packages are entered into.


Material Personal Interests

The responsibility of the Board is to seek assurance from the organisation and its management that the organisation is complying and managing its risks effectively. An effective assurance tool is audit. This is annually conducted on the financial statements of the church by a top tier audit firm.

When conflict arises, each Director acknowledges their duty to notify other Board Members of a material personal interest, which relates to the church. Furthermore, the Board Member who has a material personal interest in a matter that is being considered at a Board Meeting, must not be present while the matter is being considered at the meeting, nor vote on the matter.

Risk Management Effective risk management is the responsibility of the Board. Members of the Board require that risks facing the church have been identified and assessed and that the risks are being properly managed. The Board of Hillsong Church Australia is committed to the practice of risk management to assist with strategic decision-making and operational oversight.

Sub-Committees The Constitution provides the Board with the power to establish one or more sub-committees. To ensure governance effectiveness, the Board has determined standing subcommittees will be formed in the key areas of audit, risk, compliance and remuneration.

Global Senior Pastor The Global Senior Pastor, in the context of Hillsong Church, is the ordained minister of religion who has been commissioned with the ultimate responsibility of the spiritual oversight of the church. The fulfilment of this role includes leadership of the Executive Management and as an Elder.

Ethical Standards and Values Hillsong Church is a Christ-centred ministry and therefore the Directors, Management and Employees are expected to conduct themselves with the highest of ethical and Biblical standards. The expectations of Directors are outlined in each respective constitution as well as the governance standards of the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC). Employees are bound by the Code of Conduct and the Terms and Conditions within their employment contract, and pastoral staff are accountable to Hillsong's Pastor's Code of Conduct.

Safety and Child Protection The Board is responsible for monitoring the performance of safety measures being implemented within the church. The Board is committed to the safety of all those who participate, in particular those who are vulnerable.

Hillsong Australia Annual Report 2020



The effectiveness of our programs and services is only possible because of the collective sacrifice of many. Thank you to the community of Hillsong, all of the families and individuals, all of the volunteers and so many who make Hillsong Church feel like home. We are grateful too, for the dedicated participation of our Hillsong College students who take part in a wide range of church operations. We also would like to extend our thanks to those who attend Hillsong Church and to those who give financially to support our vision.


Hillsong Australia Annual Report 2020

Hillsong Church is also grateful to have partnered with numerous organisations in 2020, both within Australia and internationally, through a range of initiatives to support and facilitate projects, and to provide humanitarian assistance.

References 1.

Elliott, P 2012, 'Nineteenth-century Australian Charismatic: Edward Irving's Legacy' in Pneuma 34, pp 28.

2. Austin, D A & Clifton, S 2019, ‘Australian Pentecostalism: From marginalised to mega-churches’ in Asia Pacific Pentecostalism, Denise A. Austin, Jacqueline Grey and Paul Lewis (eds.) Leiden: Brill, pp. 372-399. 3. Singleton, A 2020, ‘Strong Church or Niche Market? The Demography of the Pentecostal Church in Australia’ in Australian Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements: Arguments from the Margins, Cristina Rocha, Mark P. Hutchinson and Kathleen Openshaw (eds.) Leiden: Brill, pp. 94. 4. Australian Bureau of Statistics 2016, Census: Religion, June, viewed 29 April 2021, https://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/ mediareleasesbyReleaseDate/7E65A144540551D7CA258148000E2B85 5. Pew Research Centre 2011, Christian Movements and Denominations, Pew Research Center, viewed 29 April 2021, https://www.pewforum.org/2011/12/19/ global-christianity-movements-and-denominations/ 6. Samudra, R S. & Setyonaluri, D. 2020, Inequitable impact of COVID-19 in Indonesia: Evidence and policy response, UNESCO, Lembaga Demografi FEB UI, viewed 1 May 2021, https://en.unesco.org/inclusivepolicylab/sites/default/files/analytics/document/2020/9/200825_Policy%20Report_ Inequitable%20Impact%20of%20COVID%2019%20in%20Indonesia.pdf 7.

Mainstreet Insights 2020, The Australian spirit during COVID-19, viewed 5 May 2021, https://mainstreetins2.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/ MainstreetInsights_The-Australian-Spirit-and-COVID-19_Aug2020.pdf

8. Kemp, S 2021, Digital 2021: Global Overview Report, DataReportal, viewed 29 April 2021, https://datareportal.com/reports/digital-2021-global-overviewreport 9. McCrindle 2020, Future of the Church in Australia, McCrindle Research, viewed 29 April 2021, https://mccrindle.com.au/wp-content/uploads/reports/ Future-of-the-Church-in-Australia-Report-2020.pdf 10. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2019, Family, domestic and sexual violence in Australia: continuing the national story 2019, AIHW, viewed 9 June 2021, https://www.aihw.gov.au/getmedia/b0037b2d-a651-4abf-9f7b-00a85e3de528/aihw-fdv3-FDSV-in-Australia-2019.pdf.aspx?inline=true 11. Australian Bureau of Statistics 2017, Personal Safety, Australia, November, viewed 29 April 2021, https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/people/crime-andjustice/personal-safety-australia/latest-release 12. Australian Institute of Criminology (Boxall, H., Morgan, A. & Brown, R.) 2020, The prevalence of domestic violence among women during the COVID-19 pandemic, viewed 29 April 2021, https://www.aic.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-07/sb28_prevalence_of_domestic_violence_among_women_during_ covid-19_pandemic.pdf 13. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2020, Australia’s children, AIHW, viewed 9 June 2021, https://www.aihw.gov.au/getmedia/6af928d6-692e4449-b915-cf2ca946982f/aihw-cws-69-print-report.pdf.aspx?inline=true 14. Tiller, E., Fildes, J., Hall, S., Hicking, V., Greenland, N., Liyanarachchi, D. & Di Nicola, K. 2020, 'Youth Survey Report 2020', Sydney, NSW: Mission Australia 15. Dickinson, H., Yates, S. 2020, 'More than isolated: The experience of children and young people with disability and their families during the COVID-19 pandemic.' Melbourne, VIC: Children and Young People with Disability Australia 16. Hillsong Creative 2021, Hillsong Creative Volume 1: Creator’s edition, Cass Langton 17. Foodbank Australia 2018, Rumbling Tummies: Child hunger in Australia, viewed 9 June 2021, https://www.foodbank.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/ Rumbling-Tummies-Full-Report-2018.pdf 18. The Salvation Army Australia 2021, 2020 Annual Report, March, viewed 11 May 2021, https://www.salvationarmy.org.au/scribe/sites/auesalvos/files/ documents/publications-and-resources/2020-Annual-Report_Final-March.pdf 19. NSW Government Fire and Rescue 2021, 2019-20 Annual Report, November, viewed 11 May 2021, https://www.fire.nsw.gov.au/gallery/files/pdf/annual_ reports/annual_report_2019_20.pdf 20. Foodbank NSW & ACT, Bushfire Emergency, viewed 28 September 2021, https://www.foodbank.org.au/NSW-ACT/bushfire-emergency/?state=nsw-act 21. BlazeAid, 2021, Donations, viewed 13 May, https://blazeaid.com.au/donations/ 22. Foodbank Australia 2020, Foodbank Hunger Report 2020, viewed 29 April 2021, https://www.foodbank.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/FB-HR20. pdf 23. Australian Bureau of Statistics 2020, Labour Force, Australia, July, viewed 29 April 2021, https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/labour/employment-andunemployment/labour-force-australia/jul-2020 24. A21, Get to know us, viewed 6 July 2021, https://www.a21.org/content/get-to-know-us/grd33s 25. Maury, S., Levine, J., Lasater, Z., Vidal, L. & Ulbrick, M 2020, 'Understanding the impacts of COVID-19 on vulnerable Australians: Insights from Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand', Melbourne, VIC: Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand

Hillsong Australia Annual Report 2020



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