Hillsong Church founder Brian Houston has been sentenced to three years probation, a $140 fine, and other penalties after pleading guilty to driving under the influence of alcohol in a single instance last year.
Houston initially pled not guilty to the charges but reversed course earlier this month during a trial at the Superior Court of California in Orange County.
The incident took place on February 26, 2022. Court records indicate Houston was arrested and charged with driving under the influence of alcohol and failing to display two license plates on the vehicle he was driving. Records indicate the megachurch founder had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.20% when stopped by police.
His arrest came less than a month before he resigned as global senior pastor of Hillsong Church.
In March of 2022, the Hillsong Church’s global board announced that Houston had breached the “Hillsong Pastor’s Code of Conduct” after two women, including a staff member, made a complaint of misconduct.
“Irrespective of the circumstances around this, we can all agree that Brian and Bobbie have served God faithfully over many decades and that their ministry has resulted in millions of people across the world being impacted by the power, grace, and love of Jesus Christ,” read an official statement that now appears to have been removed from the church’s website.
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“Hillsong Church was birthed out of Brian and Bobbie’s obedience and commitment to the call of God and we are extremely grateful for all that Brian and Bobbie have given to build His house. We ask that you continue to pray for them, and the entire Houston family, during this challenging time,” the board continued.
Last April, Houston admitted to using alcohol to cope with the years of constant pressure, opposition, and challenges he has faced.
“Many people have asked – ‘How do you continue to get up, cope, and keep going?’ And now we know the answer. I haven’t coped very well at all. I openly admit that alcohol has been no friend and I am determined to relegate it to my past,” Houston wrote.
The California court is now requiring Houston to complete a three-month first-offender alcohol program by May 11, a victim impact counseling by July 10, and participate in self-help meetings for a period of one year until April 11, 2024.
Houston posted on Facebook, “Thirteen months have passed since that incident occurred and I am now in a much stronger place within my spirit and soul. I am grateful to God for His sustenance and grace…”