Hillsong Church founder Brian Houston has said that the success of his multi-site megachurch based in Sydney, Australia is due, first and foremost, to the "grace of God".
"Ha. There's only one answer to that," the 63-year-old pastor told ChristianToday when asked to identify the secret to his church's success. "It's the grace of God. Bobbie and I started a church with a small group of people on the rural fringe of Sydney with plans to reach the suburbs of the Hills District. I was always a determined visionary but we could never have imagined all that was ahead."
He added, "Today we have global congregations which my wife aptly describes as 'one house with many rooms'. Our music and worship has penetrated every continent, we have a 24-hour television channel (on Sky in the UK) - almost 2,000 students per year in Hillsong College, along with many outreaches to the needy. I can only smile at God's grace and the fruit of longevity and consistency."
Brian and Bobbie Houston founded Hillsong Church in 1983. Since then, church has developed an ever-expanding footprint that circle the globe, with three U.S. sites - in and around New York City, Los Angeles and most recently in Phoenix, Arizona. Hillsong's reach extends across 14 countries and five continents, and it boasts an average weekly attendance worldwide near 100,000, according to its website.
In June 2016, Hillsong launched a global, 24-hour channel in partnership with Trinity Broadcasting Network, providing access to the worship and ministry to millions of viewers around the world.
The church also has a number of celebrity attendees, including Justin Bieber, Kevin Durant, Selena Gomez, and more.
When asked how to keep the faith against the pressures of society, Houston advised Christians to always "keep the focus on Jesus."
"When Moses was desperate to see God's glory, He encountered God's grace and God's goodness (Exodus 33:18-20.) And his goodness is seen in his countenance - his smile - so don't look at the temptations, look to him. Surround yourself with good influences and keep making wise choices," he said.
Last year, Houston explained to The Gospel Herald that church leaders strive to present the timeless message of the Gospel in a way that resonates with the average individual.
"[With] everything going on in the world, people do still have a deep desire to connect with something greater, I believe, God - Jesus." he said. "I I just think if you can take an old message and have it framed in a way where the message is the same but the way that it's received by people is just absolutely relevant to their world - I think people are looking for authenticity."