Amid the shock of Hillsong Church's co-founder Brian Houston's resignation over allegations of indiscretions with women, another Hillsong senior pastor has resigned—but with no similar claims against him. Pastor Sam Collier, 33, who launched Hillsong Atlanta less than a year ago as the global megachurch's first Black senior pastor, announced his resignation via an Instagram post.
Collier, the founder of A Greater Story Ministries, notes, "with all of the documentaries, scandals, articles, accusations and the church's subsequent management of these attacks it's become too difficult to lead and grow a young Church in this environment."
Collier grew up in Atlanta as a pastor's son and served at the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church once pastored by Martin Luther King Jr. along with New Birth Missionary Baptist Church and North Point Community Church, led by Andy Stanley, before his tenure at Hillsong.
But he takes no delight in his decision, saying he has "no shame in admitting I cried like a baby moments after I informed the Hillsong global pastor of my departure. I truly love the Hillsong family and believe they will get through this storm and come out better than they were before."
"It became a lot for our church, for a young church," Collier says, per The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, again pointing to the various scandals surrounding Hillsong. These include not only the issues surrounding Houston's resignation but that of Carl Lentz, former lead pastor for the New York City location of Hillsong East Coast.
"A lot of our members were becoming really fatigued with a lot of the scandals and having to talk about it so much," Collier says. "I say this all the time, that trust is the only thing you have when building a church. People have to trust you if they're going to donate and if they're going to support it."
But the pastor, author and musician does not intend to take a break from ministry. He plans to launch Story Church on Easter Sunday at Center Stage Atlanta, per The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Collier does not know whether Hillsong Atlanta will continue as a church, he says, adding that the decision will be left to the global leadership. However, he expects 90% of his leadership team to follow him to the church plant, and says that may be reflected in the congregation as well. The megachurch's average attendance in its Atlanta location is 500, with another 15,000 online.
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