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Brian Houston: Hillsong success a 'miracle story'

Speaking exclusively to Premier, Brian Houston says the move from a small place of worship in Australia to a global network is simply down to God's grace.

Starting as a church of 45 members in 1983, the movement has grown into a global denomination with plants in London, New York and Moscow among others.

"I genuinely believe it's a miracle story," Houston said. "I can't give an explanation to why God blesses certain things."

"We've worked hard and we've invested into people and that's paid off for us."

With church attendance in the UK in decline, Hillsong has bucked the trend planting new places of worship across the country.

Its European conference, held at London's O2 Arena, sees tens of thousands attending over three days while the Church's Christmas carol concerts sold out Wembley Arena three times last year.

Hillsong London

Speaking with pride of the global growth, Houston said: "We consider it one house with many rooms. There's something like 111 locations around the world in 26 countries.

"When we started we were really just hoping people would come next week. We couldn't have imagined all of that.

"We've got a TV channel, the worship has gone further than we could ever imagine, the college - it's a story of God's grace."


Houston was speaking as he launches his new book 'There is More'. The title has attracted criticism with some claiming Houston is preaching the prosperity gospel that serving God leads to financial blessing and physical wellbeing.

He's previously written the book 'You Need More Money'.

Rejecting the allegation, he told Premier: "I don't see myself as a prosperity preacher. The whole idea of a prosperity gospel is such a crazy idea. There is only one gospel and that is the good news of Jesus Christ and it's a gospel of grace.

"I do believe God blesses people but I also believe in purpose. When God blesses a business person it's for God's own purposes.

"It's a huge mistake if people teach others to be blessed but don't help them to understand there's purpose behind it and it's not about them but what's God called them to do."

Over the past three decades, Hillsong has turned over hundreds of millions of pounds. Its professional approach to worship has made it appealing to many younger people.

But again, some continue to question the vast amounts of money involved in the organisation.

Houston says those who criticise are ignorant.

"The church is a non-profit organisation - the finance that goes in goes into the ministry. The more finances coming in the better because there's so many people to reach and so much to do.

"I would pray for God's blessing on all churches because the truth is we have the most powerful, vital message that there is and so often the Church is hamstrung because of lack of resource."

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