“It’s not about you – it’s about your father.” These words introduced me to a nightmare that would change my life. I was 45 years old and what developed after that sentence was a product of someone else’s past that would frame so much of my future.
It was October 1999, and I was senior pastor of Hillsong Church, which my wife Bobbie and I had started from scratch in 1983 in a humble warehouse in northwest Sydney. From that beginning it had grown to a weekly attendance of thousands, and that year we’d been asked to take over the Sydney Christian Life Centre that my parents had founded in 1977 after we emigrated from New Zealand. I was also national president of Assemblies of God, the Pentecostal church umbrella organisation overseeing more than 1100 churches.
On that spring day the general manager of Hillsong, George Aghajanian, with whom I’ve worked for many years, sat across from me in our weekly meeting. We moved through the agenda quickly; I thought we might wrap up early, so I could get in a quick jog. But then George looked at me and said, “There’s just one more thing, Brian.” He hesitated, and I sensed he had something important to tell me; the look in his eyes suggested it was not going to be good news.
“It’s not about you,” he said. “It’s about your father.” My heart pounded, and it felt as if all the blood drained from my face. George told me of a phone call to our office: the caller said he’d recently been ministering at a local church where a lady confided in him a secret she’d carried for years: “Frank Houston sexually abused my son.”