Hillsong Church is known as the “celebrity” church, and what’s more Hollywood than getting your own true crime docuseries?
If you, like me, are currently in your Tinder Swindler-esque documentary era and can’t get your hands on enough true crime content, then may I introduce a new series for you to binge that’s a lot closer to home: Hillsong: A Megachurch Exposed.
Streaming platform Discovery+ has dropped the first trailer for a three-part docuseries following the rise and fall of the church, and honestly, it looks intense.
“With more than 150,000 global members, Hillsong has recently been entangled in scandal,” the docuseries’ description reads.
“Hillsong: A Megachurch Exposed will profile numerous ex-members of the church who have come forward to share harrowing allegations of the trauma, abuse, financial and labor exploitation that created a culture of chaos within the church.
“The series will also examine how Hillsong was able to grow into a global brand, while uncovering the truth behind the headlines of recent scandals and shining a light on the fine line between culture, corporation and cult.”
In the trailer people are seen crying as they talk about how the church ruined their lives, while others question how a tiny Australian start-up turned into the church for Hollywood A-listers.
But the key scandal explored in the docuseries is that of Carl Lentz, who led the New York City chapter of Hillsong before he was fired for “moral failures”. Which is a pretty underwhelming way to refer to the various allegations against him, including those of sexual abuse.
Ranin Karim, a woman Lentz had an affair with while he was married — which ultimately contributed to his downfall — is one of the main interviewees for the Hillsong docuseries.
Other people involved in the documentary are Hannah Frishberg, a New York Post reporter who covered multiple Hillsong scandals, Ben Kirby, an expert on megachurches, as well as Jaclyn Hayes and Janice Lagata, who worked with Lentz as volunteers.
It’s unclear whether the docuseries is solely focused on Lentz or if it also dissects the scandal around one of the church’s founders, Brian Houston, who NSW Police arrested for allegedly concealing historic sexual abuse.
Discovery+ doesn’t exist in Australia (boo), but it looks like it’s coming.
In the mean time, if you want to watch all three parts of Hillsong: A Megachurch Exposed when it drops on March 24, you may have to be sneaky and find it online or through a VPN!
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