FX's The Secrets of Hillsong | Stream on Hulu
A troubling pattern of misconduct.
FX’s The Secrets of Hillsong is a four-part documentary series based on the explosive original reporting on the megachurch’s scandals by Vanity Fair journalists Alex French and Dan Adler. Directed by Stacey Lee, The Secrets of Hillsong features the first interviews with former pastors Carl and Laura Lentz since their public ouster from the church, which for years counted musicians, actors, athletes and other celebrities among its flock. The Secrets of Hillsong also features poignant conversations with many of the congregants navigating the still-unfolding global reckoning as the church faces a rash of fresh revelations. With fresh reporting and analysis from journalists, historians and policymakers, The Secrets of Hillsong 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 Secrets of Hillsong is produced by Scout Productions and Vanity Fair Studios. Executive producers include David Collins, Joel Chiodi, Michael Williams, Rob Eric, Agnes Chu, Dan Adler, Sarah Amos and Alex French.
In 2015, a young pastor named Carl Lentz lands in New York City to spread the Word of Hillsong, an ascendant Australian megachurch. Lentz is magnetic and ambitious. His charismatic style of preaching ignites a modern revival in the clubs of the city with a new gospel that promises to revolutionize and modernize Christianity. The church explodes with followers, musicians, celebrities and influencers and Lentz becomes a national sensation. But allegations of volunteer exploitation, racism, sexual abuse and homophobia explode into the open in the fall of 2020 with the breaking news of the lead pastor’s extramarital affairs. Lentz is fired from his role and disappears completely from public view — until now, when he breaks his silence after more than two years.
In their first interviews since their expulsion from the church, Carl and Laura Lentz guide viewers into the inner sanctum of Hillsong, detailing the burden of building the church’s most prized congregation and the response from church leadership when it deemed Carl a liability. While the church’s founder, Brian Houston, paints Carl as the lone bad apple, observers are left to wonder: Is Hillsong a house of cards?
As a group of international reporters examine Hillsong’s global network, it becomes clear that long before Carl Lentz’s transgressions, Hillsong’s founding father, Frank Houston, laid the groundwork for the church’s pattern of covering up misconduct with non-disclosure agreements and hush money. And his son, Brian Houston, has allegedly been trying to cover up his father’s predatory past for decades.
Shortly after Carl Lentz’s expulsion from Hillsong, Brian Houston is formally charged with concealing his father’s crimes and banished from Hillsong after allegations of his own misconduct are made public. Carl, Laura and a multigenerational group of former Hillsong congregants examine the rubble and collectively attempt to answer the ultimate question: What do you do when you discover the shepherd is the problem?