Transcript for At Hillsong Church, Come for the Rock Concert, Stay for the Sermon
We're about to take you inside a church many believe is revolutionizing what it means to go to church. The house band has sold millions of records. The services have lines around the block that include the biggest celebrities. It's called hillsong church where holy is hip. This is hillsong, New York. Your granddaddy's church, it's not. Hand raising heart thumping hipster style christianity. A come as you are tattoos welcome 90-minute experience. The lines to get in are long, blocks long. Filled mostly with young people. You have to come and see them. The pastor, brad Pitt looks, Billy graham theology. Bless you you know you wanted to be blessed. We will heal you in places you didn't even know you were broken. Among the faithful, a who's who, Bono and Hugh Jackman have attended services, NBA star Kevin Durant was baptized by pastor Carl as well as celebrity bad boy Justin Bieber. Celebrities are part of new York City. We'll save everybody here from the faceless to the famous. They come in droves, close to 8,000 worshipers spread over six Sunday services. What goes on in here? A typical service for us. Is that the typical service? Well, that's probably true. The sanctuary a rented new York ballroom. How do you explain the success of this church? It's growing, but we're not trying to have the big hot trendy cool packed church. It's awesome. Hipster church? Hipster's always a term that I'm like what does that mean? The story is not the clothes people wear. It's the lives they're living W we talked to members who say hillsong helped them reconnect with their faith. Positive environment where you come in and you leave feeling much better than you came in. It seems like it's a pretty tumultuous time in culture. Response to that has been the really shallow world of social media, smoke and mirrors living. So you come into church and there is a -- there is a realness to it. It's hitting a chord that people didn't know they had. On the streets of New York, pastor Carl certainly keeps it real. He's known to offer a word of prayer or scripture to anybody anywhere. I've been with pastors who don't know anyone outside their doors. He said hey Carl, and you stopped. I don't look at this giant metropolis as much as our local parish, if you will. It did seem for a moment at least in our interview, leading a church this big growing in quickly can sometimes overwhelm a pastor this young. You can't fake who you are. You are who you are. Who are you? I love people. Tell me what's up? I really want to have the same heart for people that Jesus did, which is to not see what everybody else saw but try to dig a little bit deeper. I feel that's how I was reached. I feel there are people who look over all the stuff I had going on and saw stuff that maybe I didn't see. Pastor Carl may have given a glimpse of his humanity, but he soon shut it down with humor. Don't show this. This is fake. This is all for show. Hillsong, New York, is the U.S. Flagship of a global movement start in Sydney, Australia by senior pastor Brian Houston 30 years ago. I feel like music and reaching young people, he's gracious for it. London to Paris, kiev to capetown. If you walk into all of them, you see a similar demographic of people. You can close your eyes and think I'm in any one of the hillsong churches anywhere. But the familiar feeling stems from the music. We started singing and writing songs in our church. We were surprised when they started singing them in other churches all around the world like they are now. It's called hillsong united. Simply put, they're one of the hottest bands on Earth. With hits like "Oceans" hillsong united has sold over 16 million albums. It was nominated for an American music award earlier this year. It felt like I was backstage at a concert. There were technicians off to the side. Less groupie, though. Joel Houston, pastor Brian's son is co-lead pastor in new York but also guides hillsong united. Music has an incredible ability to break down walls and to reach people's hearts. A snappy beat, a smidge of scripture have made for a winning and profitable combination. How vital is the music to funding what you do with hillsong? Well. A half, a third? To be honest, I don't know the exact amount because we're a nonprofit. So all of the finances come into the nonprofit and are used for the ministry. Like many mega churches hillsong is shy about discussing their finances. At the services we attended in New York, we were asked not to film the offertory. The collective sacrifice of many is what you see in our church. One area critics both liberal and conservatives have seized upon are social issues like homosexuality. While the optics scream hip, modern, diverse, the church comes out of a pentecostal tradition. The only way I'm getting out of that life is through the blessed Jesus. Theology steeped in old testament traditions. You went on the record some years ago saying that homosexuality is a sin. Right. How does that impact how you lead a church where there are gays who may want to come to hillsong? That's exactly why we -- what we see as a conversation. The apostle Paul described homosexuality as sin. I can't unwrite the bible, but on the other hand, we're not a church that can just make big blanket sweeping statements that dismiss people. If a gay couple came to hillsong, would you want them to change? The short answer is I think all of us should be changing. But we aren't the kind of church when they join the choir, are you heterosexual. We'll never be that kind of church. The other thing he sees is growth. His other son Ben Houston just opened hillsong Los Angeles. And already those familiar lines are forming for Sunday services inside this rented theater. With a church so dependent on young people, the question's been raised, will they someday outgrow it. The shep hersd and the sheep insist it's not the nuance that makes it work, it's the name you hear over and over again -- Jesus. The story has to come back to
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