The Powerful International Impact of Hillsong Australia

A theology and religion graduate of Honolulu University, Pastor John Wagner currently resides in Texas. A proven leader, communicator, teacher, mentor, author, and administrator, Pastor John Wagner created a unique hybrid model church that was influenced by the Willow Creek model, the Saddleback Church, and Hillsong Australia.

Established in Baulkham Hills, Australia, by the Houston family, Hillsong Church experienced rapid expansion and now has a congregation base that exceeds 30,000 people each weekend. The church offers four Australian church locations in New South Wales and Queensland, extension services, and several international offshoots.

Hillsong rose to fame with Hillsong Music Australia, a Christian music production specializing in worship and praise albums. Musical movements such as “Kids,” “Live,” and “Young & Free” allow Hillsong Church to connect with children, youth, and adults through the power of Christian music. Songs and albums produced by Hillsong have topped Australian music charts and achieved multiple gold and platinum status.

Additional ventures initiated by the church include Hillsong TV, which features broadcasts of biblical teachings by church founder Brian Houston; Hillsong Conference, a series of international events where artists, bible teachers, and educators collaborate; and the Sydney-based Hillsong College.

Becoming Christ-like in Character

Pastor John Wagner has ministered around the world for more than 100 congregations in the United States, the Caribbean, South Africa, Italy, and Germany. He has been a pastor for over 25 years.

What was Christ like when he was alive on the earth? What does it mean to have a Christ-like character? The Bible tells the story that after Jesus died and returned to appear to his disciples, he asked Peter if he loved him. Peter answered yes, and Jesus replied, “Feed my lambs.” If we are to have a character like Jesus Christ’s, one expression will be to intentionally nourish God’s children in various ways.

We will also shed our own self-importance to develop a godly perspective. The Apostle Paul said to think on and seek after whatever is honest, just, pure, lovely, virtuous, and worthy of praise. His words are a guide for developing Christ-like characteristics.

Building Community through Small Groups By Pastor John Wagner

In both large and small congregations, attenders can reap a variety of benefits from participating in small-group bible study and fellowship groups. These include:

—Sharing of ideas, questions, and problems. Discussing faith as it applies to scriptural interpretations and everyday problems helps illuminate everyone’s understanding of biblical principles more fully.

—Sharing of gifts through lay ministry. In small groups, people can help their fellow members by sharing their unique gifts (e.g., helping with debt management or health maintenance). This eases the burden on ministers and allows everyone to enjoy the reward of helping those who need help.

—Providing accountability. Sharing goals with a group makes participants more accountable for following through with those goals.

—Building friendships and support. Friendship makes joyous times more joyous and eases grief in difficult times.

In larger congregations, pastors can create small groups by providing gathering opportunities for different populations within the church (e.g., married couples, singles, parents, etc.).

About Pastor Wagner:

As Lead Pastor of Turning Point Community Church, John Wagner encourages his congregation to build a Christ-centered community through small-group meetings and Bible study. The church leads groups for people of all ages and life phases.