February 8, 2019

A Guide to Navigating Policies of Celebrity Churches

Sarah Ngu (she/they). Database Director. Methodology.

It’s almost become a tradition. Every year, a hipster megachurch is profiled in a national outlet for its Instagram-friendly branding and its celebrity attendees. Most of the time, the journalist who writes the profile neglects to mention, or even investigate, the church’s policies for LGBTQ folks and Women in Leadership.

A recent, glaring example of this was when Billboard wrote an article about Justin Bieber’s recommendation of Hillsong Church to a queer fan, failing to mention that the church had forced a gay couple to step down from their worship team, a fact that would’ve been easily surfaced by a quick Google search (or Church Clarity search). Only after a flurry of furious tweets, many from advocates of Clarity, did Billboard amend the article.

It only takes a few seconds to look up a church’s policies on the Church Clarity database, but to make it even easier, I’ve written a four-part series for journalists and anyone interested in organized information regarding the actively enforced policies of the most prominent “celebrity churches” -- specifically, how clearly each of these churches communicates (or doesn’t communicate) its policies.  

To decide which churches to profile, I relied on an article published by The Cut which mapped 18 celebrities, from Kanye West to Kylie Jenner to Russell Wilson to Justin Bieber, to the churches they attended. The answers were: Hillsong NYC, Zoe Church, Churchome and Vous Church.

Guess what? None of these churches had clear scores (all of them are published currently on our database). Throughout the rest of February, Church Clarity will be taking a closer look at each of these congregations and unpacking their scores in-depth. This series is designed to be a resource for journalists (and celebrities?) to quickly analyze some elements of these churches which are less obvious on the surface.

Mark your calendars:  

Church Clarity Policy Profile: Hillsong NYC

Church Clarity Policy Profile: Zoe Church -- Feb 12th

Church Clarity Policy Profile: Vous Church -- Feb 19th

Church Clarity Policy Profile: Churchome Church -- Feb 26th (Tuesday).

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