At one point, Hillsong Church might have seemed more like a Hollywood party than a holy gathering, with pop idols and screen stars joining other congregants at services.
“People say we cater to celebrities,” Carl Lentz, then a Hillsong pastor, told GQ in 2015. “And I say, yes, we do. Celebrities deserve a relationship with God. Celebrities deserve a place to pray.”
But as the Hillsong controversies piled up, the church’s A-list started decamping to other congregations.
In 2021, Lentz was accused of repeated sexual abuse by another pastor at the church. He had also been fired from Hillsong for “moral failures” the prior year, later explaining on Instagram that he had been unfaithful in his marriage.
A couple of months after that, Hillsong founder Brian Houston was charged for allegedly covering up child sex abuse perpetrated by his late father. (Both Lentz and Houston have denied the aforementioned allegations against them.)
Plus, Hillsong “does not affirm a gay lifestyle,” as Houston wrote in a 2015 blog post. He added that the church “[does] not knowingly have actively gay people in positions of leadership.”
Now FX’s The Secrets of Hillsong will delve into the church’s turbulent history. FX says the four-part series, based on Alex French and Dan Adler’s reporting for Vanity Fair, “goes beyond the sensational headlines and behind the velvet rope to examine the church’s long pattern of covering up misconduct to protect itself.”
The documentary also features a sit-down with Lentz and his wife, plus “poignant conversations with many of the congregants navigating the still-unfolding global reckoning as the church faces a rash of fresh revelations.”
As we wait for the doc, scroll down to see more than a dozen celebrities who’ve been linked to Hillsong and its leadership over the years.
The Secrets of Hillsong, Docuseries Premiere, Friday, May 19, 10/9c, FX, Next-Day Streaming, Hulu
This story originally appeared on TV Insider