Watch The Secrets of Hillsong
- 1 Season
The Secrets of Hillsong is a drama television series that premiered on FX in 2023. The show explores the inner workings and controversies surrounding the Hillsong Church, a global megachurch founded in Australia in 1983 that has amassed over 150,000 weekly attendees across six continents.
Centered around the charismatic founders Brian and Bobbie Houston, The Secrets of Hillsong examines their meteoric rise from humble beginnings pastoring a small Sydney congregation to leading an international Christian powerhouse valued at over $100 million. Through interviews with insiders, leaked documents and dramatizations, the show delves into the magnetic appeal of the Houstons and the "cool Christianity" Hillsong famously marketed to recruit young followers.
Controversies covered include the church's handling of child sexual abuse allegations, conversion therapy practices, opaque finances, celebrity connections and the downfall of star pastor Carl Lentz caught cheating on his wife in 2020. The show highlights the tension between Hillsong's public image as a progressive, welcoming ministry and the authoritarian, ultraconservative beliefs and tactics employed behind the scenes.
Major themes include the allure and dangers of religious charisma, the temptations of wealth and celebrity for faith leaders and congregations, spiritual abuse and exploitation disguised as devotion. The show argues Hillsong's meteoric success was built on the Houstons' magnetic personalities and orchestrated image while deceiving members and the public about its inner dysfunction.
The Secrets of Hillsong features Australian actor Hugh Jackman as Brian Houston in a rare dark role. Naomi Watts co-stars as Bobbie Houston, with Melissa Leo as whistleblower and former Hillsong insider Tanya Levin. The show employs a hybrid documentary/dramatization format switching between re-enactments, archival footage and interviews with experts, former members and participants.
While sometimes sensationalized, The Secrets of Hillsong succeeds as an eye-opening exposé of religious corruption and institutional rot hidden behind righteous exteriors. Slickly produced and powerfully acted, the show manages to be both damning and empathetic to members seeking meaning. It provokes urgent conversations about consent, individualism versus groupthink and the necessity of skepticism regarding any ideology that demands total allegiance.
The Secrets of Hillsong is a series that is currently running and has 1 seasons (4 episodes). The series first aired on May 19, 2023.