Hillsong CEO Brian Houston and his lacky Joel A’Bell in Hillsong pastors lounge

Joel A’Bell announced recently that he and his wife Julia are leaving Hillsong after twenty years.

I remember twenty years ago when Joel A’Bell surfaced at Hillsong City Campus in Young Street, Waterloo, Sydney, Australia.

Hillsong vc1

It was called Christian Life Centre Sydney in those days and Hillsong Baulkham Hills Campus was called Christian Life Centre Baulkham Hills until the 1990s.

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Hillsong City Church Waterloo Sydney

Former Hillsong head worship leader Geoff Bullock coined the name “Hillsong” for Christian Life Centre Baulkham Hills music and worship ministry, and later the name “Hillsong” was used across the Christian Life Centre movement.

Geoff coined the name Hillsong from “Hills” being the location of the church in Baulkham Hills in the Hills District of Western Sydney and “song” for “song of the Lord”.

Geoff Bullock 1

Geoff Bullock. Once famous Christian singer and musician. Former Head Hillsong Worship Leader. Coined the name “Hillsong”.

The headquarters of the Christian Life Centre/ Hillsong movement was at Waterloo until 2000 when following his father Frank Houston being stood down by his only church-going son Brian for child sex offences, Brian Houston took over both City and Hills locations.

Frank Houston told a Hillsong insider that “Brian stole the church off me and now I have only one son”. The one son was Frank and Hazel Houston’s elder son Graeme, who refuses to attend church to this day, probably because his father sexually abused him.

Rev William Francis “Frank” Houston.  Founder of Hillsong Church. Over 400 boy sex abuse victims of Frank Houston. Self-confessed pedophile. Confessed to lifelong secret child sexual abuse of little boys, male preteens and male teenagers. But mainly little boys aged 7 to 11. Frank Houston – The worst Pentecostal pastor since the day of Pentecost 2000 years ago. A Son of Lucifer. Frank Houston’s eyes are black like Lucifer’s.

Brian Houston with his brother Graeme at a rugby league match in Sydney last year. They reconciled last year after twelve years of estrangement. Graeme was upset about the way Brian handled boy victim AHA. A Hillsong insider told me about this.

So Joel A’Bell turned up at Christian Life Centre Waterloo in 1999- called Hillsong City Campus from 2000.

I remember his presence being announced. As is often the way with Hillsong, Joel was poached from being a successful youth leader at another church- C3 Woolongong.

A reader supplied me with the following information after I published this article:

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Joel has told the story how Brian had a coffee with Julia and himself to ask them if they would be the youth and children’s pastors at the city campus. It was 1999 as Frank had already left, and they have been at Hillsong for 19 years. Joel and Julia did not come from another AOG/ACC church, they were from a C3 church in Wollongong.

Joel A’Bell was specifically brought into Hillsong City Campus as the Youth Pastor.

My impression of Joel A’Bell was that he was just another fast-talking confident young man with a lot of hot air and little substance. On reflection, I’d say I was pretty much right.

Joel A’Bell was a Hillsong company man from the start and worked his way up to the top of the Australian Hillsong pecking order.


Joel A’Bell has always been Brian Houston’s lacky, puppet and puppy dog.

Joel A’Bell has stuck by Brian Houston through all his ups and downs and traumas. Which haven’t finished yet because Australian police recently told Sydney TV Channel Nine’s Sixty Minutes program that the police investigation into Brian Houston for pedophile protection crimes has been reopened.

Brian Houston is on a list of thirty men, Catholic priests and Protestant pastors, who the New South Wales Attorney General’s Office is going to liase with NSW police to charge with pedophile protection crimes, acting on the Royal Commission into institutional child sex abuse’s recommendations.

So Joel A’Bell followed Brian Houston publicly like a lacky, puppet and puppy dog around the Royal Commission hearings in October 2014.

Joel follows Brian at the Royal Commission in 2014

Joel A’Bell was by Brian’s side for the week Hillsong and the ACC top brass were examined by the Royal Commission into institutional child sex abuse.

Joel A’Bell was there with Brian Houston through it all.

Joel A’Bell did not leave Brian’s side.

Brian Houston head pastor of Hillsong with his lacky, puppet and puppy dog Joel A’Bell behind him. Brian Houston was recommended by the Royal Commission to be charged for pedophile protection crimes for protecting his pedophile father Frank Houston from the Australian police and not reporting him to police.

By being a good company man and being diligent to be completely faithful and compliant to Brian Houston, Joel and Julia A’Bell were rewarded with the riches of Hillsong. Riches which are generated from the Hillsong faithful tithing (giving ten per cent of their income to Hillsong’s coffers), Hillsong conferences and the sale of Hillsong worship songs, books and merchandise.

Joel and Julia A’Bell. Rewarded.

It will be interesting to see what Joel and Julia A’Bell are going to do next.

Even more interesting would be to know exactly why they left.

Could it be they were worried about being implicated by police for assisting Brian Houston in his pedophile protection crimes?

Could it be they are over the corruption of Hillsong?

Or could it just be they want a change and they’ve seen another more independent opportunity to make more cash and maintain their current luxurious pampered lifestyle somewhere else (away from a police pedophile investigation)?