Hillsong Atlanta’s Sam Collier Resigns in Wake of Founder Brian Houston’s Scandal – Will Launch New Church on Easter

CBN News [Virginia Beach, VA]

March 24, 2022

By Steve Warren

Hillsong Atlanta’s Lead Pastor Sam Collier has resigned from the global Hillsong church, citing the recent scandals and explaining “it’s become too difficult to lead and grow a young Church in this environment.”

As CBN News reported, Collier and his wife Toni, have led the Hillsong Atlanta church since 2021. 

In an Instagram post on Wednesday, Collier, 33, wrote:  “This one hurt my heart deeply. I love @Hillsong, it’s leaders and believe God will pull them through this season.”

“It is with great sadness that I inform you of my departure from Hillsong,” he continued. 

“I have appreciated the Hillsong family and want to thank the Houstons for the love they have shown Toni and me,” Collier wrote. 

“My greatest reason for stepping down as Pastor of Hillsong Atlanta is probably not a secret to any of you. 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,” he explained. 

“I have no shame in admitting I cried like a baby moments after I informed the Hillsong global pastor of my departure,” Collier said. 

“I truly love the Hillsong family and believe they will get through this storm and come out better than they were before,” he explained.

Hillsong’s Interim Global Senior Pastor Phil Dooley posted a short video responding to Collier’s announcement. 

“Hey guys! Phil Dooley here and I just want to say hey, we love Sam and Toni Collier. And we just want to give you guys our absolute blessing for the next season that you feel to step into,” Dooley said.

“At Hillsong Church, we are committed to continuing to build a church that will make a difference all over the earth and celebrate Jesus. Draw people, we pray, to Jesus, and see lives changed. See people transformed by Jesus, building healthy communities,” he continued. 

“And we pray that is exactly what you will continue to do on your journey,” Dooley said. “So I just want to say from us to you, God bless you. May his love, his grace, all the good things of God be all over you guys as you move forward. We’re praying for you. And I would just ask that you continue to pray for us in this season. It is a tough season, there is no doubt that there is a whole lot going on in our world.”

“But we just want to say that we are continuing to put our trust and our hope in Jesus and we really appreciate your prayers at this time. God bless,” he concluded.  

Collier also announced that he’s planting and launching a new church in Atlanta on Easter Sunday, April 17. 

“Join me this Sunday at @CenterStage for our final service as @HillsongAtlanta and for more info about a new Church I’m planting/launching on Easter Sunday 2022: “STORY CHURCH,” he wrote. 

Collier also founded A Greater Story Ministries which includes a nationally televised interview series and podcast titled A Greater Story with Sam Collier.  He is the author of the book A Greater Story: My Rescue, Your Purpose, and Our Place in God’s Plan

Prior to launching Hillsong Atlanta, Sam Collier served at North Point Community Church in Atlanta which is led by Andy Stanley. And Toni Collier has worked as a host and consultant with North Point Ministries, also founded by Stanley. 

Collier’s resignation follows the recent resignation of Hillsong founder Brian Houston, 67, who along with his wife Bobbie, founded the global megachurch in 1983. 

As CBN News reported, less than a week after the Hillsong Church’s global board announced that its founder Brian Houston had breached the “Hillsong Pastor’s Code of Conduct” involving separate incidents with two women, including a staff member, the board on Wednesday announced Houston has resigned as global senior pastor of the church and they have accepted his resignation.

In February of 2022, the megachurch reported 150,000 members in 30 countries.