Jess and Reed Bogard
Former Hillsong Dallas Pastors Jess and Reed Bogard take a selfie on a boat following their resignation from Hillsong Dallas. (Source: Instagram)

Hillsong Shuts Down Dallas Campus Following Reports Pastors Misused Funds

By Julie Roys

Hillsong Church is shutting down operations at its Dallas campus, following reports that the previous pastors there were using donations to fund their lavish lifestyle.

According to The Daily Mail, Hillsong founders Brian and Bobbie Houston announced the news to members of the Dallas church in an email. The Houstons said there were “many factors” that led to the closure of the campus, but mainly cited two.

One was the behavior of former Hillsong Dallas Pastors Jess and Reed Bogard. The other was the coronavirus pandemic.

“Early in our process, the Bogards decided to resign from Hillsong Church,” the Houstons reportedly wrote. “We accepted their resignations and acknowledged the time that the Bogards spent establishing our Dallas location.

“It was very disappointing to learn that, while some of you experienced the Bogards as dedicated pastors, many others have experienced leadership that failed to meet the commitments and standards of Hillsong Church.”

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The Houstons added: “As we were establishing Hillsong Church in Dallas, the pandemic swept across the globe and quickly changed the shape of our growing church in the city . . . Many factors, all amplified by the pandemic, have resulted in the difficult decision to pause all operations at Hillsong Dallas for now.”

The Bogards resigned from Hillsong in January with very little explanation. The couple merely said that 10 years of church planting had “taken a bit of a toll” on them and their family and they needed “time off” to “get healthy.”

Shortly afterwards, however, former staff and members of Hillsong reported that the Bogards and other Hillsong pastors used church donations to fund their lavish lifestyles.

A former Hillsong pastor, whose husband was CFO of Hillsong LA, told the New York Post that she personally loaded church funds onto expense cards for Hillsong pastors. The pastors then reportedly used the cards to buy things like four-wheeler ATVs, luxury presents, and meals from upscale restaurants.

Brandon Walker, a 28-year-old who helped the Bogards start Hillsong Dallas, told a reporter that he remembers “a lot of eating out” and renting “very nice Airbnbs,” including one that cost $1,100/night.

Walker added that Hillsong kept the finances secret because the expenditures were so excessive.

The Roys Report reached out to the Bogards for comment, but they did not immediately respond.

In the Houstons email, the couple apologized “to those who felt disappointed or hurt” and said they are praying “that God does a swift work in bringing peace and healing.”

However, Janice Legata, a former Hillsong insider who served with the Bogards when they were at Hillsong New York, expressed skepticism concerning the Houstons’ statement.

“I don’t understand how Brian Houston keeps getting to have it both ways,” Legata wrote in an email. She noted that the Houstons called people “gossipers and nay-sayers for speaking up about the abuses in his organization,” but when forced to admit those abuses, has failed to take responsibility.

“Traveling the world as a leadership guy, a leader of leaders, but claiming to have no idea of the bad things happening under the leaders he produces and then taking no responsibility, no accountability for the consistent themes of abuse that keep emerging—Brian Houston is either an extremely ineffective leader or a scarily effective one.”

Brian Bobbie Houston
Senior pastors Bobbie and Brian Houston praying at Hillsong Church. (Photo Credit: Hillsong Church)

The Houstons have also been accused of misusing donor funds. In 2010, The Daily Telegraph reported that the Houstons used a nonprofit, called Leadership Ministries Incorporated (LMI), to pay themselves and others millions.

According to the Telegraph, LMI funded a $1 million “fringe benefits tax-free expense account” for five people, including the Houstons. LMI also funded vehicles worth more than $120,000 and paid Brian Houston a $150,000 salary. This was in addition to Houston’s $150,000 salary at Hillsong and his wife’s salary, which was not disclosed.

LMI also reportedly engaged in property deals with the Houstons that earned the couple $1.4 million.

The Houstons’ current salaries are not disclosed.

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34 thoughts on “Hillsong Shuts Down Dallas Campus Following Reports Pastors Misused Funds”

  1. “It was very disappointing to learn that, while some of you experienced the Bogards as dedicated pastors, many others have experienced leadership that failed to meet the commitments and standards of Hillsong Church.”
    ______________________________

    Pray tell, what are the commitments and standards of Hillsong Church?

    1. Profit. The greatest lie being told is That we must tithe 10% of your income. The scripture talks of first fruits and doesn’t say all to the church. It’s to the temple and are we not called a temple of Christ? Growing up I knew of giving what you can. It’s when the evangelical industrial complex sprouted its ugly god less head did tithing become DEMANDED of the people because it’s GODS money and like all good collectors on Monday GOD wants his money. If your pastor wears suit more expensive then $600.00 or own a car that costs more than 10,000.00 or lives in a home bigger than maybe 2000 square feet your money ain’t going to god and your tithing too much. Saying your called to be a leader of gods flock means you live a humble life and go without because of a greater good your doing. When someone is called a rock star of a Christian. Run away from that person. There is no Christianity in that person. Only narcissistic and self loving. And when someone hoots and hollars and says it’s the Holy Spirit it’s not. It’s just anger management and impulse control issues and all is just for show. Pastors are supposed to be educators of the word and not stage entertainers.

      1. The Bible says the shepherd is to be paid double. However, I don’t think Paul was thinking of mega churches. 90% of churches in the US have less than 100 members. Many pastors work a secular job.

    2. I find his corporate-speak very telling. “Commitments and standards of Hillsong Church”? Sounds like he’s running a hotel or restaurant franchise. I think referencing the standards set forth in scripture would be more appropriate for a church.

      I’ve said this before, but why on earth does a church from Australia feel the need to plant a church in Dallas? It’s like sending Spanish teachers to Mexico.

  2. Every organization reflects the values, attitudes and actions of its leader, whether a corporation, a church or a family. Organizations with verbally abusive cultures have verbally abusive leaders. Those with a culture that tends to accept immorality, have e leader that accepts immorality in his or her own life. Those where financial impropriety is repeatedly “discovered,” have a leader that practices financial impropriety. Sexual abuse can often be traced to the top as well. When will we learn to abandon these self centered celebrity “pastors” and gather with humble, God- fearing fellow believers that truly fear God and practice and obey his word? Hillsong is not a church, its a business.

  3. You speak in tongues
    But you lie in English
    You prophesy
    Yet you bear false witness
    You protect your institution
    At all cost
    Even if that mean your hurting
    Those God loves
    Hey CEO big-time preacher man
    One day you will answer for your sin

  4. How can these people sleep at night while they steal money from little old ladies, teachers and firefighters? They must be void of guilt and shame. Why aren’t they in jail? Can’t donors sue some of these people? What legal options are there? I it nauseating to see this in our churches.

  5. II Timothy 4:2-4
    Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.
    For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

    The answers are in God’s Word. If the pastors/leaders of these celebrity churches just followed this, their following would probably be a bit diminished. And so would their lavish lifestyle.

    It just doesn’t seem to line up with Matthew 8:20 (. . . the Son of man hath not where to lay his head) or Matthew 20:26-28 (But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister;
    And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.)

    1. I would do that but whom would publish it and how would it be read? No one wants to pay attention to mere lay people. But if I had a real or fake PHD from a papermill then I would have a following. This is a big part of the problem. We lemmings like following “high impact people” which is babble-talk for narcissists tirelessly and shamelessly promoting themselves. But God has always chosen lowly people and nobodies. When David was young, no one knew who he was, or cared. There are a lot of people who have wisdom they got from humility who could write such a thing, but would Julie or anyone else publish something from an absolute nobody? God is certainly not a respecter of persons, but we sure are…

      1. Karen and mr jesperson. Thank you thank you thank you. And guess what the word is getting out. TBN and Copeland and oral roberts and Falwell. All now run by the kids and none have ever sweated a paycheck in there lived and all know the sheep best not challenge them. My favorite of course is TBN and the mascara queen and her $100,000.00 trailer for her dogs. And people still give money. Also, is Becky Falwell still looking for pool maintenance personnel?

    2. There’s a book published titled 52 Lies Heard in Church Every Sunday by Steve McVey. Tithing is one of the subjects covered.

      Ironically, the only major preacher I’ve ever heard preach against it is John MacArthur.

      1. L Martin-
        Your John MacArthur comment-difficult for me to discern if you said that with sarcasm or not.

        My thoughts on that however-I’m not surprised.

        I believe John Mac has a dark side that has been kept hidden for a very long time. FWIW, I think there are more than a few prominent leaders in the evangelical church realm, that if the world knew the full truth about, well, it would be gut wrenching to say the least.

        1. Not intended as support for J Mac. Just an observation. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone else preach that the New Testament prescribes “free-will giving from the heart” vs being compelled to give 10% to avoid disobeying God. J Mac definitely has issues, but that doesn’t make wrong on everything.

      2. I see where my post can be confusing. I intended to say I’ve heard MacArthur preach against tithing, not McVey’s book.

  6. Hmmm? Tithing???

    In the Bible? Can anyone name?
    One of **His Disciples** who ever gave?
    A “tithe?” A tenth? 10%? From wages?
    Silver, Gold, or MONEY?
    To a church?

    NOPE…

    Seems, in the Bible, the “tithe” was always agricultural…
    Fruit of the trees, Seed of the land, cattle, sheep, wine, oil…
    Food, to be eaten, or sacrificed to God…

    The “tithe” was NEVER, Silver, Gold or MONEY.

    Except once, Abraham gave a tithe of the spoils of war…
    To Melchisedec after slautering a bunch of kings…
    And only gave that “tithe” once.
    ——-

    Jer 50:6
    “My people” hath been “lost sheep:”
    **THEIR shepherds**
    have caused them to *go astray,*

    1 Pet 2:25
    For ye were as *sheep going astray;*
    BUT are now returned to
    the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.

    {{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}

  7. If a “Titled” pastor teaches believers are required to “Tithe.”
    Give a tenth, 10%, from wages, silver, gold, or MONEY.
    To THEIR church… Just tell them…
    You “Tithe” according to Deut. 14:22-26.

    In the Bible, there are at least four different “Tithes,” mentioned.
    You can even find a “Tithe” for **You and Your family**
    To EAT, and Rejoice.

    Yeah, A “Tithe” that belongs to **You and Your family.** Go figure… ;-)
    That you may learn to fear the LORD thy God…
    Your NOT likely to hear this “Tithe” preached from the pulpit.

    Deuteronomy 14:22-26 KJV (And Deut 12.)
    Thou shalt truly tithe all the increase of “thy seed,”
    that “the field” bringeth forth year by year.

    23 And thou (You) shalt EAT before the LORD thy God,
    in the place which he shall choose to place his name there,
    “the tithe” of thy (Your) corn, of (Your) wine,
    and of thine (Your) oil, and the firstlings of thy (Your) herds
    and of thy (Your) flocks; (NO silver, gold, or money.)
    that thou (You) mayest learn
    to fear the LORD thy God always.

    24 And if the way be too long for thee,
    so that thou art not able to carry it;
    or if the place be too far from thee,
    which the LORD thy God shall choose
    to set his name there, when the LORD thy God
    hath blessed thee:

    25 Then shalt thou **turn it into Money,**
    and bind up the money in thine hand,
    and shalt go unto the place
    which the LORD thy God shall choose:

    26 And thou shalt bestow that money
    for **whatsoever thy (YOUR) soul lusteth after,**
    for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink,
    or for whatsoever thy soul desireth:
    and thou (YOU) shalt EAT there before the LORD thy God,
    and thou (YOU) shalt rejoice, thou, and thine household,

    Yeah, “…bestow that money for
    **whatsoever thy (YOUR) soul lusteth after,** “

    What are the chances these verses
    will be preached from the pulpit? :-)
    ——-

    And other sheep I have, which are NOT of this fold:
    them also I must bring, and they shall “Hear My Voice; “
    and there shall be “ONE” fold, and “ONE” shepherd.
    John 10:16 KJV

    One Voice – One Fold – One Shepherd – One Leader

    {{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}

  8. Chuck Chillingworth

    My wife and I went to Hillsong Los Angeles for almost 2 years. It was a very positive atmosphere and had a really good worship time. We ultimately moved on because we never heard the gospel preached. When they had their altar calls, it was a gobbletygook of regret, recommitment, repentance, and promises to do better. We never heard from the mouth of anyone that placing one’s faith in the finished work of Jesus death on the cross and resurrection is what makes you a Christian. They may believe that for themselves but that is not what was taught. I’ve come to believe that what may start out with the gospel gets preempted by the priorities of business enterprise. “Freely you received. Freely give” is God’s method if you will. Sadly, for the modern evangelical church, that’s bad for business. So they preach a gospel of human obligation. If the Apostle Paul felt it was necessary to take significant time away from his ministry to have a regular job, so that no one would accuse him of having a financial incentive, so should Brian Houston, John MacArthur, and the rest of these fabulously wealthy “leaders”. If the requirement to be just an elder in the church demands that they be “free from the love of money”, how is it their leaders become fabulously wealthy on the backs of their followers. This issue I believe is the most de-legitimizing issue in the church. Time for these men to face the music.

  9. Fred Monninots

    “Just really feel that it’s time to transition off of our staff and take some time to remain healthy, get healthy and to really see what this next season holds for us.”
    So they said.
    You can stick “getting healthy”. How about getting honest, ethical and out?
    And why oh why does every evangelical communication have to include “season”?

  10. Gary,

    I’m a pastor and have served for over 40 years. At my own expense I went to Bible College and 4 years of seminary – ThM. I’ve been paid far less than most in the churches I’ve served. Through good stewardship, saving and paying cash for items, my wife and 4 children have done well.
    Your comments: If your pastor wears suit more expensive then $600.00 or own a car that costs more than 10,000.00 or lives in a home bigger than maybe 2000 square feet your money ain’t going to god and your tithing too much. Saying your called to be a leader of gods flock means you live a humble life and go without because of a greater good your doing. – is going to be used when I preach on 1 Timothy 5:17ff, “Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching. 18 For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain,” and, “The laborer deserves his wages.” The complete ignorance of some of these comments is beyond belief. Yes, there are “big names” out there in ministry for the money, but most churches are pastored by humble, God honoring men who are not at all materialist or lovers of money – and yes, I’ve read 1 Timothy 6. What’s more, I’ll put my level of giving up against any ones. For those who spoke strongly against giving, I would love to know what you give? Chances are, little if any! I’m surprised I’m the only one whose called you out on this!

    1. Douglas

      You write…
      “I’ll put **my level of giving** up against any ones.”
      For those who spoke strongly **against giving,**
      I would love to know **what you give?”**

      I tried to find someone on this thread that…
      “…spoke strongly **against giving,**”
      BUT, I could NOT.

      I listed here the six comments I found…
      and the seven times, either “GIVE,” or “GIVING,”
      Is mentioned in the comments, but, no one
      “…spoke strongly **against giving,**”

      Maybe you can help…
      Can you show where someone
      “…spoke strongly **against giving,**”
      I could have missed that.
      ——-

      1 – “Growing up I knew of **giving** what you can. It’s when the evangelical industrial complex sprouted its ugly god less head **did tithing become DEMANDED of the people** because it’s GODS money and like all good collectors on Monday GOD wants his money.”

      2 – “Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and **to give his life** a ransom for many.”

      3 – “…her $100,000.00 trailer for her dogs. And people still **give money.** Also, is Becky Falwell still looking for pool maintenance personnel?”

      4 – “…the New Testament prescribes “**free-will giving from the heart”** vs being compelled **to give 10%** to avoid disobeying God.”

      5 – “If a “Titled” pastor teaches believers are required to “Tithe.”
      **Give a tenth,** 10%, from wages, silver, gold, or MONEY.
      To THEIR church… Just tell them…
      You “Tithe” according to Deut. 14:22-26.”

      6 – ““Freely you received. **Freely give**” is God’s method if you will.”

      1. Douglas

        You’re going to “preach on 1 Timothy 5:17ff”

        “…is going to be used when I preach on 1 Timothy 5:17ff, “
        Let the elders who RULE WELL be considered worthy of double honor…”
        especially those who labor in preaching and teaching. (Hmmm? pastors?)

        I’ve heard a few sermons on elders (pastors) receiving “doulbe honor.”
        But, I never heard a sermon on what it means to RULE WELL.
        Have you? What does it mean? To RULE WELL?

        RULE – is Strongs #4291 proimos.
        Thayers has proimos, RULE, as…
        1) to set or place before 1a) to set over
        1b) to be over, to superintend, preside over
        1c) to be a protector or guardian 1c1) to give aid
        1d) to care for, give attention to

        WELL – Strongs #2573. kalos.
        Thayers has kalos, WELL, as…
        1) beautifully, finely, excellently, well
        1a) rightly, so that there shall be no room for blame.
        1b) excellently, nobly, commendably
        1c) honourably, in honour
        1c1) in a good place, comfortable
        1d) to speak well of one, to do good

        Shouldn’t elders, pastors, who want to receive “doulbe honor?”
        Have to RULE WELL? Before they receive anything?
        RULE - Protect? Guard? Give Aid? Care for? Give attention?
        WELL – Excellently? No room for blame? Well?

        I’ve been disapoointed in many claiming “doulbe honor.”
        They want the “doulbe honor.” wages …
        But, RULE WELL? NOT so much…

        I NOW know of some Standards in the NT…
        Character traits for ALL His Disciples…
        That those who say, and teach, they…
        Are worty of “Double Honor.”
        Have to live up…
        RULE WELL.
        ——-

        What is popular is NOT always “Truth.”
        What is “Truth” is NOT always popular.

    2. Douglas, is this what this conversation needs? You to boast in your own giving while denigrating the lack of giving you assume about someone you don’t even know?

  11. Douglas, ew. Please save your response to someone’s comment – give it to God. My father was a physician when it was still considered a calling- not a profession. We were paid in firewood and homemade goods and sometimes never at all- he didnt always bill, he hated that aspect of his job. So we struggled till he got out of his practice and went to a hospital to work. I dont want to hear from anyone who says they are called to preach and then in the midst of this awful time of so many prospering ( whether much or little) we followers give as we are led. We hav small houses, budgets and volunteer physically as often as asked. The obvious mainliners w millions or the catholic church- i dont care who. Its done. Over . Either we all live sacrificially or we dont. But outside of the U.S. Im painfully aware of how our brothers and sisters live in harsh surroundings. How dare any of us grumble or complain or defend what we have. God help us all, its over.

  12. Douglas
    Elders who desire “double honor
    Are to RULE WELL? Protect? Guard? Give Aid? Yes?
    ——-

    Here are some every day Standards, character traits, in the NT.
    To help believers know if the pastors RULE WELL.
    Before claiming “double honor.”

    And, elders, pastors, are to be examples to His Flock? – Yes? 1 Pet 5:3.
    ——-

    Are the pastors here “Living Examples” of…

    1 – NOT lording it over “God’s heritage?”
    1 Pet 5:3 KJV
    2 – Lowliness of mind?
    Phil 2:3 KJV
    3 – Esteeming others “better” than themselves?
    Phil 2:3 KJV
    4 – Submitting “One to Another?”
    Eph 5:21 KJV, 1 Pet 5:5 KJV
    5 – Prefering others before themselves?
    Rom 12:10 KJV
    6 – By love “Serve one another?”
    Gal 5:13 KJV
    7 – Laying down their lives for the brethren?
    1 John 3:16 KJV
    8 – NOT speaking of themselves,
    NOT seeking their own glory? Jn 7:18 KJV
    9 – NOT “Exercising Authority” like the Gentiles?”
    Mark 10:42-43. KJV
    10 – NOT giving themselves “Flattering Titles?”
    Job 32:21-22 KJV
    11 – Being clothed with humility?
    1 Pet 5:5 KJV

    11 – Humility –
    a modest, or low estimate of ones own importance.

    Know many? any? Who say they are worthy of “double honor?”
    With, a modest, or low estimate of their own importance?

    In my experience, the number of “pastors, reverends, Who actually teach, and practice these 11 – Who teach, and practice, “Submitting one to another” – Who teach, and practice, “NOT speaking of themselves, NOT seeking their own glory.” – Who teach, and practice, NOT “Exercising Authority” like the Gentiles.” – Who are “Clothed with humility” haveing “a modest or low estimate of their own importance,”

    Is Quite Small… ;-)

    Jer 50:6
    “My people” hath been “lost sheep:”
    **THEIR shepherds**
    have caused them to *go astray,*

    1 Pet 2:25
    For ye were as *sheep going astray;*
    BUT are now returned to
    the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.

    {{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}

  13. Hey douglas. Big difference between giving so god can use vs helping some useless grifter live better than anyone in his or her church. I help god with my money and my pastor is doing just fine. And is a teacher.

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