Scientology isn’t the only church that has a way of attracting celebrities through its doors. Another church, Hillsong Church, is doing exactly this, and considering it’s slowly getting more popular, it’s high time we take a deeper look at this Christian institution. In fact, Hillsong Church is an institution we’re going to explore with a bit of intrigue and curiosity; why is this church gaining so much visibility in the entertainment and culture sections of our favorite publications?
As it happens, Hillsong is incredibly popular with a whole host of celebrities and is quickly becoming the No. 1 place for those celebrities to practice and celebrate their Christian faith. In a special way, those celebs who are members of one of the 19 Hillsong congregations worldwide are bringing a refreshing visibility to Christian celebs we already know and love.
Let’s take a closer look at Hillsong Church, shall we?
What is Hillsong Church?
According to the church’s website, Hillsong Church began as a single church in 1983 based in Sydney, Australia and was founded by senior pastors Brian Houston and his wife, Bobbie. From that single church, the couple has built a vast media empire to spread their message, including “three record labels, a film and television platform, multiple worldwide conferences, and an international college.”
Hillsong boasts an impressive worldwide congregation. According to their website, every week, the church estimates around 100,000 people attend services at one of their 19 churches spread across five continents, including Russia, Norway, the United States, South Africa, Ukraine and Israel. This congregation follows Brian and Bobbie’s interpretations of Christianity and the foundational beliefs of Hillsong Church (fairly standard Christian principles, one might add), including the belief that “the Bible is God’s Word. It is accurate, authoritative and applicable to our everyday lives,” as well as “that in order to live the holy and fruitful lives that God intends for us, we need to be baptised in water and be filled with the power of the Holy Spirit,” and also in “the power and significance of the Church and the necessity of believers to meet regularly together for fellowship, prayer and the ‘breaking of bread’.”
The church has grown enormously over the last three-plus decades. With music, podcasts, books, multiple conferences held on a variety of topics and even Brian’s sermons being broadcast globally and so much more, the message of Hillsong is far-reaching — and that reach extends to Hollywood.
Which celebs are actually attending services?
Some of your favorite Hollywood actors, singers, models and celebs are coming out to Hillsong’s Los Angeles and New York City locations on the regular. One of the most famous faces to recently attend a service was Chris Pratt, who was spotted in mid-September 2017 heading into Hillsong in Los Angeles.
Perhaps one of the most famous attendees is Justin Bieber, who has become a visible presence at services of late. Bieber’s been spotted hanging out with one of Hillsong’s lead pastors, Carl Lentz. Bieber stated earlier in 2017 that he wanted to devote more time to his faith and made headlines when he canceled his Purpose tour, allegedly in order to do just that. All things considered, though, Bieber has become a fixture at Hillsong and one might liken him the celebrity face of this prominent church.
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Interestingly, a few of Bieber’s ex-girlfriends have also been spotted attending services at Hillsong, although that’s likely as much down to their vocal confirmation of their Christian faith as Bieber’s influence. According to The Observer, Selena Gomez was spotted at the NYC Hillsong location, possibly attending a service. Additionally, model Hailey Baldwin, who herself is quite open about her deep and abiding faith, has also been seen attending Hillsong services and did so with besties Kendall and Kylie Jenner at one point.
Speaking of Jenners, Kylie and Kendall’s step-sister, Kourtney Kardashian, is also reportedly a regular attendee of Hillsong. Kardashian was spotted in August 2017 heading to and from a Hillsong service in Los Angeles with her current flame, model Younes Bendjima and again as recently as mid-September 2017.
— KOURTNEY UPDATES (@KKARDASHIAN_FR) September 14, 2017
Of course, Gomez has something in common with Vanessa Hudgens, and it’s not just the fact that they’re former Disney stars; Hudgens is a Hillsong parishioner as well, and has made note of her attendance on Instagram.
According to Refinery29, other famous Hillsong parishioners include Pitch Perfect 2 and 3 star Hailee Steinfeld, NBA stars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving and Nick Jonas.
Just me and nick Jonas at hillsong NYC pic.twitter.com/nWGvtJZV
— Daniel Schneider (@Danielschn92) July 30, 2012
What’s the verdict on Hillsong Church?
Fear not about the magnetic pull of Hillsong Church; it’s not like that other famous center of religion that has reeled in many a celeb over the years. Instead, Hillsong is bringing modern Christian ideals into the forefront, and it would appear that its platform and the various artistic mediums being used to transmit its message are ringing true with some of Hollywood’s most famous faces. There’s no doubt that as time goes on, Hillsong’s presence in pop culture will expand; it will be interesting to see which other celebrities become a part of this popular church’s congregation as that expansion continues.